Co-owner Johan Everstijn tells Creative Loafing Tampa Bay their construction team just broke ground on the new location this week, and is building an entire kitchen from the ground up is first thing on the docket. The space at 3118 3rd Ave. N was home of the popular gay club Georgie’s Alibi until its closure in 2015.
Although Everstijn and other co-owner Roland Strobel were pushed out of their former 600 Block location after the landlord didn’t honor their lease, the duo is taking the opportunity to reinvent Cider Press into something entirely different.
“We want to take this time to reshape ourselves into something that is more of a hangout, late-night spot,” Everstijn tells CL.
With licenses, permits and buildout in the works, Everstijn states that he’s currently in the kitchen working on the hearty English-forward menu for the upcoming gastropub. Although popular dishes from the old location—like shrimp po’boys and burgers—will still be offered at the new Kenwood space, the new location’s menu will be new and unexpected.
He’s even been consulting with friends who live in England to really hone in on that friendly, neighborhood pub feel.
You can expect vegan versions of English-forward dishes like lentil shepherd's pie, coronation chicken salad, fish and chips and chicken fried steak on the menu. Cider Press started out as an all-raw vegan restaurant back in 2016, so its new and hearty menu marks significant culinary growth.
Although there are no projected hours of operation for the new location yet, there will be a significant focus on late-night dining, live entertainment and a full-service bar stocked with wine, beer and specialty cocktails—a completely new territory for Cider Press.
David Fischer, the man behind the popular St. Pete bars Cocktail and The Saint, will be responsible for designing the interior of new vegan gastropub.
“Imagine what every vegan restaurant in St. Petersburg looks like…. the new Cider Press will look the opposite of that, ” Everstijn says.
Although the interior of Cider Press will be Fischer-fied and complete with “sexy and dim” lighting, there will be many aspects of the gastropub that will honor the legacy that Georgie’s Alibi left behind when it closed in 2015. The gay club was known for their large garage door and outdoor seating—aspects that will be aptly showcased when the new Cider Press debuts.
According to Everstijn, Georgie’s Alibi was also known for its rotating drink specials like its Tuesday night Long Island Iced Teas. Cider Press will eventually implement programs that honor the legacy of the now-closed gay club, mimicking some of the popular specials they used to offer.
It’s no question that Cider Press Cafe was one of the stalwarts of Central Avenue’s 600 Block, and one of the many locally-owned businesses that has been pushed out due to rapidly rising rent prices.
When asked what he thinks the 600 Block will look like in a few years, Everstijn replied “every other door will be a pizza shop—and eventually it might just be empty storefronts. The only people that can afford rent are chains or chains in disguise.”
Notably, the restaurant that will open at Cider Press’ former Central Avenue location is a Sicilian-style Italian restaurant.
Although there’s no projected opening date in place, the new Cider Press Vegan Gastropub and Patio Bar will debut sometime in spring of 2022—definitely before St. Pete’s Pride parade in June.
Keep up with the latest updates and menu sneak peeks by visiting @ciderpresscafestpete on Facebook and following @cider_press_gastropub on Instagram.