New LGBTQ+-friendly restaurant Zoie’s will open in St. Pete’s Grand Central District this spring

The community-focused space will feature various types of live entertainment, including drag shows and show tune sing-a-longs.

click to enlarge The Zoie’s team just started renovations to the building, and is working tirelessly to transform the roughly 3,000 square-foot old AC & Heating shop into a neighborhood restaurant for all. - GOOGLE MAPS
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The Zoie’s team just started renovations to the building, and is working tirelessly to transform the roughly 3,000 square-foot old AC & Heating shop into a neighborhood restaurant for all.
There no shortage of LGBTQ+-owned businesses in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District, including bar and club Cocktail, Metro Inclusive Health’s welcome center and Punky’s Bar & Grill. Its newest addition will be Zoie’s bar and restaurant at 2245 Central Ave., with its grand opening slated for spring of this year.

Although there’s no official opening date yet, owner Jeff Baker—who named Zoie’s after his beloved chihuahua— tells Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that Grand Central’s newest restaurant will definitely be open in time for St. Pete’s Pride parade in June—which organizers have dubbed the largest Pride celebration in Florida.

The Zoie’s team just started renovations to the building, and is working tirelessly to transform the roughly 3,000 square-foot old AC & Heating shop into a neighborhood restaurant for all.

Although Baker couldn't reveal what’s on the developing menu yet, he states that there will be eclectic offerings, rotating seasonal dishes and a special late-night menu, since Zoie’s will be open from 11 a.m.-3 a.m. daily. Starting in March, the Zoie’s Instagram page will begin previewing selected dishes from its menu.

“I wanted Zoie’s to offer a fine dining experience without the fine dining prices,” Baker says. “We really want to support the neighborhood—we don't want downtown-downtown prices.”

Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of Zoie’s will be the range of entertainment it will offer. Its 250 square-foot stage will host a multitude of different programs, ranging from showtune sing-a-longs to themed drag shows and live music performances. Since the stage’s catwalk will jut out into the dining area, Zoie’s performances will be an immersive experience, often calling on audience participation.

Baker tells CL that he wants to initially focus on local Tampa Bay talent, but sees the potential for Zoie’s stage to eventually host nationally-recognized queens, like from "RuPaul’s Drag Race."

Its website states that Zoie’s “is a unique restaurant experience, catering to everyone. We celebrate all beliefs and walks of life, and we provide a place for all to meet, eat, and make memories.”

“I think because our focus is really on the community, the experience that we offer is going to be very unique to St. Pete,” Baker says. “Every time you come through the door, it'll be a different experience.”

One of the many ways that Baker plans to foster a relationship with St. Petersburg is to require all of his employees to do four hours of paid community service every month. There will also be hospitality and fist responder nights at Zoie's, that will honor community members with discounted food and drinks.

There will be several different types of soft openings according to Baker, so keep up with Zoie’s on Facebook and follow @zoies.dtsp on Instagram for the latest updates on its springtime debut.
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