Safety Harbor gem Pizzeria Gregario re-opens with limited hours next month

Owner Greg Seymour previews the re-opening of his waterfront pizza spot.

click to enlarge Safety Harbor gem Pizzeria Gregario re-opens with limited hours next month
Pizzeria Gregario/Website
It took Greg Seymour of Pizzeria Gregario almost a year and a half to open back up after the COVID-19 pandemic—but before his loyal customers knew it, he was closed down for the season once again.

After six months of shuttered doors, Pizzeria Gregario re-opens on Friday, Nov.4, but with even more limitations than before.

The Safety Harbor favorite located at 400 2nd St. N will only be open on Friday and Saturday nights for take-out. Folks are welcome to enjoy their made-to-order wood-fired pies on the restaurant's patio, but it won't be the full (or even partial) service experience once offered.

When the pizza spot re-opens next month, it will once again offer a small menu of artisan pies, beer and soft drinks, and Seymour's famous "shmoo"—a trinity of olive oil, garlic and lemon that's a must for crust-dunking.  He's bringing back a few fan favorites like the tomato and potato pie, a vegan pizza topped with arugula,  a spinach pie, the mushroom-topped "fungus among us" and a traditional Margherita pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil and EVOO.

Folks from St. Pete, Tampa and even Sarasota will make the trek to Safety Harbor to get a taste of Seymour's za', but Seymour's asking for a little patience when visiting the pizzeria, as it will only be him and his partner running the entire restaurant. 
click to enlarge Pizzeria Gregario owner Greg Seymour. - C/o Pizzeria Gregario
C/o Pizzeria Gregario
Pizzeria Gregario owner Greg Seymour.

He's also continuing his artisan bread program, where customers can pre-order loaves by Wednesday morning and pick them up on Fridays. Using the same ancient and stone-milled grains as he does for his pizza, Seymour offers loaves of German seeded rye, a heavily-fermented whole grain bread called desem, and a French sourdough which he makes with spelt and rye.

In addition to offering his customers delicious pizzas and breads made with locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients, Seymour also values the nutritional value of his products. He sources his ancient, stone-milled grains from two different artisan mills—Carolina Ground in Asheville and Barton Springs outside of Austin—and hand-mixes different blends himself.

"As soon I was able to, I moved away from roller-milled flour to stone-milled grains. It creates an earthier-tasting pizza that's actually easier to digest as well," Seymour tells Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. "I think it creates beautiful pies, but the transition has definitely alienated some people."

Alongside the limited weekend hours at Pizzeria Gregario, Seymour will continue his pizza pop-ups at Carrollwood's Sweetwater Organic Farm throughout the end of this spring.  He had a clay oven constructed at the North Tampa farm last year, and continues to host different pizza workshops, in addition to sourcing produce from there.

After this spring, Seymour plans to pivot once again (something he's quite known for at this point) but isn't exactly sure what direction he'll go.

The pizzeria was closed for the last six months because he attempted to create a residence at his commercial space, a monumental task that never came into fruition.  The inside of the restaurant remains empty and gutted from the failed renovations—one of the many reasons why he won't re-open at full service.

It doesn't matter when he loses customers after 86'ing a menu item (a real controversy that transpired after the Caesar salad was nixed) or when they accuse him of price gouging his pizzas, Seymour's dedication to his craft is an immovable, unexplainable force.  He admits that he's tinkered with his recipes at the guest's expense, but as he says often, "I'm not a businessman, I'm a craftsman."

The 51 year-old has been in the restaurant industry for the greater part of 40 years, and started out washing dishes at the age of 12. Cutting his teeth in kitchens working under chefs that could be "physically violent" in his words, Seymour knows that the restaurant industry as a whole is rapidly moving towards the "technosphere,"  something that he wants absolutely nothing to do with.

The older he gets, the more he hates the fossil fuel industry and the indulgent consumption it promotes. Seymour rides his bike everywhere, chooses to work through the Florida summer without air conditioning, and lives as simply as possible—the way he chooses to run the pizzeria is simply an extension of his values. 

He moved to Florida in 2008 to be closer to family, and opened his Safety Harbor restaurant five years later. There have been a culmination of changes that have taken place through every facet of his business, but his steadfast commitment to quality ingredients and downright impeccable pizza has only grown—no matter how economically difficult it is to maintain.

Regardless  of what the future holds for Seymour, at least the pizza-lovers of Northern Pinellas and beyond can expect the same, wood-fired za' that Pizzeria Gregario has been dishing out for over a decade. He tells CL that after this season (which ends in late spring) he might consider selling the little yellow building that his pizzeria is open out of, to pursue the life of an ethical snowbirder. Ideally, he'd eventually like to team up with a Tampa Bay-based farm to continue strengthening his seasonal approach to food.

"I really just want a space where I can practice my craft and continue learning," Seymour says. "I'm interested in learning how to farm and grow my own food—but I'm really just trying to find some sort of balance in my life."

When the Safety Harbor gem re-opens next month, it will only be available for take-out from 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information on Pizzeria Gregario, follow its Facebook, where the technically-loathsome Seymour may or may not post updates.

Folks that are interested in ordering loaves of his artisan bread should email 
[email protected] with their inquiries. 

About The Author

Kyla Fields

Kyla Fields is the Managing Editor of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay who started their journey at CL as summer 2019 intern. They are the proud owner of a charming, sausage-shaped, four-year-old rescue mutt named Piña.
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