St. Petersburg’s Nueva Cantina is hosting a parking lot party this weekend

City officials say it looks as if the Mexican joint is taking necessary precautions.

St. Petersburg’s Nueva Cantina is hosting a parking lot party this weekend
Mike Dupre

St. Petersburg Mexican restaurant Nueva Cantina is spending the weekend hosting a three-day tent party in its parking lot, complete with live music.

We know what you’re thinking, but what about the rise in COVID-19 cases and social distancing regulations? Well, the restaurant says it’s taking the pandemic seriously in a recent Facebook post announcing the “Fin de Semana de Fiesta.”

“As we constantly take the Covid threat seriously, we will still be taking every CDC recommendation to its fullest, therefore every guest must be seated and we strongly encourage reservations,” the post says.

In Tampa, Mayor Jane Castor has issued stern warnings to restaurants acting like bars, even saying that their liquor licenses could be revoked. ER physician Dr. Jason Wilson, even recently told the Hillsborough Emergency Policy Group that the known science of coronavirus “is really starting to coalesce around the idea of us being together in close proximity in a normal social type environment where there might be touching a lot of talking... intimacy, all those kinds of things I think are the things that are becoming the real way the virus spreads around.”

In a phone call with Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Benjamin Kirby, a spokesperson for St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, said that from the looks of the Facebook event description, the restaurant is expanding its footprint and adhering to CDC guidelines, so there’s not much he can do or say. Kirby, however, shared that St. Pete’s code enforcement has been made aware of the event to see if there are any issues or permits needed.

So this weekend, Fri.-Sun. Aug. 7-9, you can treat your liver to drink specials like $14 buckets of Corona, $20 pitchers of Jose Cuervo Tradicional or watermelon basil margarita. When it comes to fiesta eats you can grab pork tamales for $10.95, a half or full rack of slow-cooked barbecue ribs, mini street corn and tater tots.

Friday’s live music will be provided by AJ Dee on Friday from 6 p.m.-9 p.m., while Domanick Butler goes in on Saturday from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Ryan Pope spins from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for Sunday brunch. Just a heads up, if you like and share the restaurant’s Facebook post about the coming event, you could be in a drawing on August 6 to win a $100 gift card. You can’t help but think of the service industry workers who are going to be working in this heat with crowds. So when you do the calculations for your gift card, it equates to five pitchers of margs before you tip. 

So let us get this straight. This weekend a local restaurant is hosting an outdoor party in the summer heat, pitchers of alcohol with live music and we expect foodies to obey social distancing rules and wear a mask? This sounds like a dangerous game. Keep your distance, wear your masks when bobbing and weaving other diners and please wash your damn hands after pounding racks of ribs.

Don’t want to test your luck at the Fin de Semana de Fiesta? You can also order pickup and delivery from Nueva Cantina all weekend long.

This weekend Nueva Cantina—located at 1625 4th St. S., in St. Petersburg—is running on extended hours for the festivities: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday.

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