There is bittersweet news in Uptown St. Pete this week, with a particularly literal emphasis on the sweet side. The MIZE Gallery, run for the last five years by prolific St. Pete artist Chad Mize, will be closing its doors for good this December. But while the gallery will be missed, it will allow for its popular neighbor Uptown Eats, a café and eatery owned and run by Mize’s partner Dan Schmidt, to expand its dining room and production capabilities.
The move comes at a perfect time for all involved. Mize has seen an increase in demand for his personal projects, making it harder to allot time for running the gallery. Uptown Eats has seen an increase in popularity for their food and drink, making it harder for the small café to serve the number of people interested. And the five year lease on the gallery runs out this December.
Closing the gallery gives Mize mental space to breathe and enjoy his personal life, while giving Uptown Eats physical space to expand and welcome in more guests. And seriously, if you haven’t had their breakfast sandwiches, fix that ASAP.
Of course, while we look forward to even more mornings with fresh baked scones and hot coffee, we will be sad to see the gallery go, which has been a home for the arts in St. Pete and a launchpad for the city’s young, up-and-coming artists. This Friday will be the final gallery opening, as ‘FRIEND’ opens from 6-9 on November 4. Then, in one last hurrah for the beloved gallery, MIZE will host its annual Christmas pop-up retail shop, Stuff And Things And Stuff, December 3-23.
MIZE Gallery leaves behind legacy in art community
For Mize himself, it’s hard to say goodbye, but it comes at the right time as he has taken on more and more (and bigger and bigger) projects in his personal career, not just in St. Pete, but throughout the country. As a result, the in-demand artist has basically been working seven days a week for almost five years straight. Mize says he loved running the gallery, but eventually the long hours wore him down.
“I will say, by year four, I started feeling a bit of fatigue from balancing my personal art career with maintaining the gallery,” he said. “I feel a sense of relief.
“I have both sides of who I am,” he continued, describing the complexity of the decision. “I feel such joy out of helping others, especially younger artists.”
Of course, Mize won’t disappear from the St. Petersburg arts scene. The artists says he will still have a presence, “it just won’t be brick and mortar.”
As for the brick and mortar left behind, Mize said he is excited for the much-needed expansion of Uptown Eats, which exploded in popularity, particularly over the last six months. While the eatery has no immediate plans to change its operating hours, Uptown Eats will grow quickly with the ability to seat and serve more customers with an expanded dining room and the addition of needed storage space.
Uptown Eats is located at 689 MLK St. N. The café is open 7 am – 2 pm Wednesday-Friday, and 8 am – 2 pm Saturday and Sunday. The full menu can be seen here. Stay tuned to I Love the Burg for more updates on the expansion.
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