Earlier this month, Barbouni—which is located next to Baba in its former bakery and cafe space at 2701 Central Ave.—opened its doors with limited weekend hours.
Barbouni boasts a small sign and blue and white adornments to indicate its entrance, located to the right of Baba. Upon entering, guests are met with its sleek decor and colorful display of assorted tinned seafood.
In its soft-opening phase, Barbouni described itself a “raw bar with conservas selection,” which directly translates into “preserved” or “conserved.” More specifically, St. Pete's new Barbouni concept calls itself a modern ouzeri.
In European countries like Spain, Portugal and Greece—where Baba co-owner Debbie Sayegh’s family is from—conservas typically refers to a range of canned seafood, from fish to octopus, squid and mussels. These proteins are typically accompanied by bread or crackers.
Just a few of Barbouni’s dozens of canned options include smoked salmon, preserved barnacles, anchovies, mackerel, sardines, smoked mussels and razor clams.
In addition to its variety of canned seafood, Barbouni also offers craft cocktails and other alcoholic options. It boasts an intimate raw bar where guests can watch their fresh oysters being shucked in real time, too.
ILovetheBurg says that Baba’s new concept seats about nine people. For now, Barbouni will operate with limited weekend hours until it's fully up and running. After its soft opening phase, its hours will mirror Baba’s.
According to a comment that Baba made on its Instagram, its daytime bakery and cafe has closed in order for Barbouni to open in its former space.
In addition to their newly-opened canned seafood concept, Debbie and George Sayegh also own and operate other popular St. Pete restaurants. The Sayeghs opened Latin spot Bodega on Central Avenue in 2012, Greek-Lebanese restaurant Baba in 2019, and added speakeasy Bar Chica inside of their new-and-improved Bodega location in late 2020.
For more information on this new St. Pete eatery, follow its Instagram at @barbouniatbaba.