Small Businesses & New Traditions Push The Burg Over The EDGE, Into A New Era

The EDGE District has evolved over the last few years. The openings of Bodega, The Amsterdam, EDGE Lounge and Tapas, Everything DolceEnigma and Green Bench Brewing have thrust the district into a new era. With the added support of institutions like Creative Clay, Furnish Me Vintage and the Paper Street Market, the EDGE District has found an exact balance in individual prosperity and community growth.

The EDGE District, along with the rest of the city, is anxiously awaiting the opening of the Red Mesa Mercado. The Mercado will complete the culinary league that features New Orleans fare at Ricky P's, Cuban excellence from Bodega, artisan cheeses from Brooklyn South, and eclectic mix of offerings that include bacon-wrapped dates and Lam-Burg-inis from the Edge Lounge. 

*Photo by EDGE District

As the district rises, so does the desire from the community to find new ways to engage with the local businesses and vice-versa. That is why the EDGE District, beginning November 20, will host Third Thursdays In The EDGE.

Third Thursdays will go from 4-9pm. The District will close down 11th Street North, between Central and Baum Avenues and host a neighborhood wide festival. The concept will bring together participating businesses, market vendors, fresh, locally-grown food and handmade gifts.

The EDGE District also plans to host historic walking tours during the festival along with hosting live music and dancing. The city of St. Pete has seen an intense increase in citizen interest in local engagement. Each week, it seems new markets are introduced to our city boasting the finest local fare available. While the concept might appear oversaturated, the way the small businesses interact in the Burg is unique and because of this, their events always feel fresh.

Joining the inaugural Third Thursday Festival, Green Bench Brewing begins its Fall Movies In The Garden on Tuesday, November 11, at 7:30pm. Their debut feature will be Edward Scissorhands. With the burgeoning popularity of Movies In The Park during the month of May and October, this new recurring event fills the hole that The Goonies left in October. 

*Photo by Everything Dolce

They don't see each other as competition, they see each other as professional collaborators. The Sunshine City has become a large incubator inspiring innovation in every section. EDGE staples like Ferg's have been hosting trivia nights, and viewing parties for the Rays, Lightning and Bucs for years. Everything Dolce, the Burg's premiere dessert bar, hosts live music every night in their courtyard and opens the space up for parties, both personal and professional for any St. Pete resident. 

There's no denying there is a certain splendor in listening the cacophonous late night ramblings of First Friday attendees. The charm of dislocating your shoulders like a kitten to fit through the sliver of space between a couch and a wall to make it down the pedestrian stretch from Five Bucks to Jannus is a right of passage for any St. Pete resident.

*Photo by The Amsterdam

With the city undergoing so much change over the last few years, there's something exciting about the start of a new monthly tradition. Details about the inaugural festival are still a bit vague but expect discounted dining deals, pub crawl packages and later hours from your favorite spots.

This isn't the only new piece of community fun. In the Grand Central District, Sly Bar has become synonymous with community entertainment. They have hosted poker tournaments, Mario Kart tournaments, they have a weekly trivia night and have revived the stand up comedy scene in the Burg with the help of Shannon's Web and The Homemade Broadcast. Round 5 of their comedy open mic night is next Tuesday, November 11 at 8pm.

*Photo by Sly Bar

Urban Brew and BBQ in the Grand Central District hosts pint nights where customers get free glasses from the featured local brewers, and beer dinners on Tuesday nights where they feature experimental menu items like fried turkey and bacon wrapped dates.

Across the street from Urban, The ARTpool Gallery hosts the St. Pete favorite Crafty Fest. ARTpool has also hosts Trashion Fashion and a must-attend Halloween party. Just recently at the Sundial, lululemon showroom along with other Sundial tenants teamed together to put on a Sunrise Yoga session. The yoga instruction was so popular that a Part II has already been slated for November 15 (RSVP now!)

The St. Pete purveyors of all things literary, Keep St. Pete Lit, have put together a book club that tackles classic literature in a way that is informal and fun. They cut at the pages with steak knives and appreciate the prose with unaging imagination. Their book club meets at the end of each month. Follow them on Facebook for updates. 

Of course, arguably the best new tradition in St. Pete is Keep St. Pete Local's Localtopia event. Their 2nd Annual event takes place on February 7, 2015, in Williams Park. Last year, the event turned the typically ignored park into the epicenter of communal love. Vendors sold art, longboards, craft beer, coffee, paintings, sculptures, couches, coffee tables and pretty much any other want-laced need you can imagine. The consistent push to grow the Burg's local economy is emblematic of renaissance our city is going through. 

What's your favorite tradition in St. Pete? New or old, let us know in a comment! 

Written by Dex Fabian

Dex Fabian is the co-founder of I Love the Burg and That's So Tampa. A graphic designer by trade, Dex has been witness to Tampa Bay's explosion to become one of the hottest regions in the nation. In 2009, he helped develop the brand for I Love the Burg and in 2014 developed the branding for That's So Tampa and has been a regular contributor to both ever since.