St. Pete winos, foodies, cocktail lovers, and coffee hounds alike will soon have reason to celebrate. As part of the upcoming Ad Lofts mixed-use development, the team behind Bacchus Wine Bistro is opening a new restaurant and a café in Grand Central next year.
While plans are still very much in the preliminary phase, we know the 5,000-sq-ft ground floor of the building at 2250 Central Avenue will be home to a full restaurant and bar, an all-day café, and a curated art gallery, with the Bacchus team taking the lead on the restaurant and café concepts.
Owners tell us the menu at the restaurant will showcase American cuisine with a bit of French influence, and they hope to construct a fireplace in the open kitchen to cook a variety of dishes over flame. Philippe Challeau and Christophe Guillot, who together opened Bacchus back in 2019, are leading the concept, which will also include a garden terrace seating area extending out to the road.
To lead the concept’s culinary approach, Guillot and Challeau have tabbed Louis DeBiase to serve as the executive chef, who has been with Bacchus since it opened.
In addition to aged meats and fish cooked over flame, Guillot says the menu will also include sandwiches and “the best burger in town.” Currently, they plan to be open for both lunch and dinner.
The group is aiming to open sometime around September of 2024, and while construction is expected to move fast once it begins, Guillot said they will be methodical in their approach, giving the project the time and dedication it needs to truly be a marquee destination.
“I really want it to be one of the best restaurants in St. Pete,” he said. “We’re going to put our best foot forward. Good food. Good price. Good location. Good décor.”
Ad Lofts will be a unique destination in the Grand Central District
Guillot and Challeau have been working closely with Richard McGinniss, the owner of MBTH Studios which is leading the Ad Lofts project, and Lance Moore, the Director of Design at MBTH Studios. They are the same team behind the new development at 2700 Central, which in addition to three beautiful modern residences, will be the new home of MBTH Studios, an authorized Porcelanosa dealer – the first on the Gulf Coast. Combined, McGinniss and his team are leading the way on expanding Grand Central’s appeal and charm.
A St. Pete local himself, McGinniss was insistent on finding a quality, local restaurant partner for the retail space on the ground floor of Ad Lofts. In fact, he actually turned down big money offers from brands he didn’t feel resonated with the character of the Grand Central District.
Instead, he searched for passionate partners already doing great work in town that would add to the existing great vibe of the historic neighborhood. That he found Guillot and Challeau is no surprise to those who have visited Bacchus, and McGinniss is thrilled to bring the duo on board.
“The idea that we had was to try to find a local partner to bring in a lifestyle-enhanced use of our retail space,” he said. “We want something great for the neighborhood, and to create a cool, local, neighborhood restaurant with a magnificent outdoor space. Christophe and Philippe are the perfect partners to make that happen.
It was McGinniss who had the vision to bring the three different retail concepts to the development, a trio of destinations that fit in like a missing puzzle piece on Central Avenue. While they will all be separate storefronts, the team envisions the restaurant, café, and gallery space all blending together as a cohesive space. With the expansive terrace, open concept, and bright and airy design, the ground floor of Ad Lofts will become a hotspot for enjoying so many of the things St. Pete loves most – great food, great drinks, beautiful art, and good company.
It was important to McGinniss to include the art portion of that trio, a reflection of not just the Warehouse Arts District, but the entire city’s love affair with the arts. He’s dedicated more than 1,000 square feet of the ground level retail space to the project, and he is already in talks with a gallery director to lead the way.
As we await final plans and designs on the restaurant, we can be confident the end product will be worthy of the patience. Guillot’s experience in St. Pete and across the globe more than inspires confidence, as any who have tasted his cuisine can confirm. Born and raised in southeastern France, Guillot has spent more than 20 years working in every aspect of hospitality as part of a career spanning from France and England, to New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Beach Drive.
Guillot was in fact one of the original team who helped to open Cassis back in 2010, serving as manager and sommelier before eventually opening Bacchus with Challeau just a few years ago. The wine bistro has consistently grown in popularity (and their grilled cheese may very well be the best and fanciest in town), while the pair have cultivated a talented team of chefs and cooks, several of whom will help lead the way at the new Grand Central restaurant.
“We’re very grateful and very blessed,” Guillot said. “We’re confident that everything [MTBH Studios does] is the same direction as us. It has to be a collective effort. And I know one thing for sure: it’s going to look fantastic.”
In the meantime, learn more about Ad Lofts here, and stay tuned to I Love the Burg for more information on these exciting concepts.