Old Fortunato’s Space Becomes Home to the Crafty Squirrel

The first of its kind on the 2nd block, ‘The Crafty Squirrel’ plans to open its doors to the public next week. The newly constructed, high-energy pub will replace the old Fortunato’s Italian Kitchen space, serving crafty teapot cocktails, 60+beers, artisan pizzas, and unique flavor combinations in a group-centric atmosphere. To begin, the pub will feature a limited menu with a full menu rollout planned for September, and a Grand Opening Reception on Monday, September 17th from 7pm – 9pm.

Outfitted in custom metal, the 3,000 sq. ft. bar features rhubarb light fixtures, an i-beam bar, high ceilings with exposed piping, handcrafted stools, and hardwood table tops. The seating is designed for communal gathering, offering many booths and long pub tables for group dining. Two industrial garage doors open up to Central avenue unveiling an L-shaped bar with an open-air vibe. The wall that separates The Crafty Squirrel from its neighboring Oyster Bar was stripped away to reveal the 120-year-old brick, including the Palace Ice Cream Parlor mural, painted 105 years ago. “We tried sandblasting and power-washing, but it was hours of good old fashioned chiseling that got the job done” says Cameron.

Cameron grew up in the Australian outback surrounded by wildlife such as kangaroos and koalas, but it wasn’t until he ventured to the States that he first laid eyes on a squirrel. “I was just fascinated by how adventurous the squirrel is. With 60 crafts on the menu, naming the concept ‘The Crafty Squirrel’ just felt right.”

True to his Australian roots, Cameron is introducing an interesting concept to St. Pete: Handcrafted cocktails served in teapots. Intended for a shared experience amongst friends and family, the pots will come in 15+ varieties.

The drink menu is robust with 15 specialty Long Island Iced Teas and 60+ beers, imported from all over the world and many local breweries featured as well.

The state-of-the-art kitchen will feature house-made artisan pizzas, a variety of slow-cooked wings in signature sauces, street tacos, and more. Meats will be slow-roasted for 24-48 hours, sauces will bring unique flavor combinations, and a few exotic ingredients will give the menu a sophisticated edge.

The Crafty Squirrel will be open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. – 3 a.m.. The pub is located at 259 Central Avenue