22 South Food Hall is set to opens April 30 inside the Historic Manhattan Casino at 640 22nd Street South in St. Petersburg — and the food is phenomenal
The Historic Manhattan Casino is transforming into a food hall, event hall, co-work space, commissary kitchen, and coffee shop. Partners Mario Farias, Greg Murray, Leigh Fletcher, and Tina Fischer have revived the historic venue and have created an exceptional gateway between the Grand Central District and the Deuces Live area.
I Love the ‘Burg enjoyed a preview of what’s to come, and Ray’s Vegan Soul made one of the best jackfruit sandwiches I’ve ever had. Huge thank you to Al, who was a marvelous ambassador for 22 South and provided expert recommendations across the menu.
You can always keep up with 22 South Food Hall by following the concept on Facebook and Instagram.
What’s on the menu at 22 South Food Hall
First, let’s list the restaurants operating inside the food hall kitchen:
We started the visit with a vegan Kale Salad from VJ’s. The hearty mountain of greens will convert even the most adamant carnivore.
To share, 22 South Food Hall brought out a giant plate of ribs with baked beans and potato salad from Betterway BBQ.
The main entree was a jackfruit reuben sandwich by Ray’s Vegan Soul served on gluten-free bread with a side of Coleslaw. This is one of the best vegan sandwiches I’ve ever had and any adjective would fail to properly encapsulate the taste sensation is offers.
Creating the ‘Burg’s next great food hall
In late 2020, the cosmetic finishes to the space neared completion. The owners removed all of the booths from the old Callaloo venue in favor of more cafeteria-style seating. This offers an easier way for guests (and members of the Rising Tide co-work space) to socially distance while they enjoy coffee, pastries, brunch, lunch, and beyond.
One exciting development is that St. Pete Bowl Co., an exquisite locally-owned organic fruit company owned by Anja Adams and her daughter, will join the space once a week and will offer up its famous fruit bowls, as well as a few other exciting healthy treats.
Additionally, 22 South Food Hall will also feature baked goods from Swah-Rey, one of the most popular bakeries in St. Petersburg.
A new concept in honor of Vincent Jackson
VJ’s, named in honor of the late Vincent Jackson, is sure to be a proverbial palate pleaser for every diner. This concept will feature a new twist on classic American cuisine and serve up the kind of comfort food Jackson often craved. A portion of sales at VJ’s will be donated to the Vincent Jackson’s foundation “Jackson In Action.”
Each concept was carefully selected in the 22 South Food Hall concept. The chefs and restaurateurs will be able to focus on their craft in the kitchen, while a dedicated team of bussers, servers, and cooks will assist in creating a seamless dining experience.
Farias and crew worked diligently to curate a premier hospitality team in the Sunshine City.
Creating a seamless dining experience
Unlike most food halls, 22 South will have a singular operating system, which means guests dining together, but ordering from different restaurants, will be assured that each of their orders comes out together, as opposed to staggered.
22 South Food Hall also has a private dining area available by reservation complete with a Smart TV and speakers.
Guests will notice the main dining area features a kitschy sangria bar surrounded by art. Dink up, dear ‘Burg because brunch just got elevated.
“Today, we completed the first cosmetic phase of our reimagining of the Historic Manhattan Casino…so we can reopen the venue with a bold new joyous color palette that is celebratory… We also worked with Nikkol Patton – South St Petersburg Marketplace, an amazing entrepreneur who is working with us to make the Manhattan an active community hub,” wrote SPHMC organizers on Facebook.
“As a mission driven organization, we will continue to maintain our focus on creating opportunity, honoring commitments, and celebrating the venues history of innovation!”
Creating an incubator for aspiring chefs
In addition to the food hall, a portion of the venue will serve as an incubator for aspiring chefs to learn the business of restaurant ownership. The 22 South Food Hall team pulled inspiration from La Cocina on the West Coast. Mario Farias wants to help give rise to an entirely new generation of restaurants in the Sunshine City, and that begins with learning from the best.
Residents can expect an always rotating roster of chefs cutting their teeth inside one of the most exciting new developments in the Deuces Live District.
Visitors should also be ready for plenty of live music once the food hall is up and running.
Outside, 22 South will offer spacious cafe-style seating. Roughly 60 seats will be available and recently planted shade trees are just about ready to bloom.
“We are focused on creating economic opportunity. One of the key components of our mission is to create an economically self-sustaining business that cultivates entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry through an incubator program with a focus on CRA residents and low-income entrepreneurs, who otherwise face significant barriers to entry in the formal food and beverage industry due to insufficient financial and social capital.”
Reviving a piece of St. Petersburg history
Built in 1925, the Manhattan Casino is significant for its contribution to entertainment and the culture in the African American community for more than forty years.
The beautifully restored Manhattan Casino events venue is a sprawling 5,000 square feet and can fit up to 300 guests.
In late 2020, an outdoor farmers market also debuted outside the historic Manhattan Casino. Several food trucks and farmers posted up along with musicians for a local, socially-distanced celebration.
The South St. Pete Market takes place every Tuesday from 4-8pm.
“Our goal is to provide the finest ground to market goods accessibly location at the amazing Historic Manhattan Casino. We have USDA/SNAP Retailer support that will match 100% SNAP-EBT benefits.”
Follow The Manhattan Casino on Facebook for updates.
Location: 642 22nd Street South