Welcome to Wild Child, Grand Central’s vibrant new restaurant and cocktail bar

rendering of a bright pink mural
smith and associates

The Grand Central District has a wild child. A new restaurant and bar from the minds behind some of the most fun concepts in the Sunshine City. The Bends owner Matt Kaye and Chef Rob Reinsmith have big plans for the former NuMex restaurant space.

Billed as a vibrant neighborhood bistro and cocktail bar, the menu will be fully formed by seasonal ingredients.

Rendering of the front of a restaurant with the words wild child on the front

Meet St. Pete’s new Wild Child 

So, what dishes should you get excited about?

“The menu items that we’re excited for St.Pete to try is our jerk octopus with Meyer lemon jam, pickled shallots and Thai basil; snapper ceviche with watermelon, cucumber, avocado, Serrano chiles and crispy plantain chips; agave glazed lamb ribs with goat cheese and golden raisin-fennel relish and fried cauliflower with grapes and Tahini-herb yogurt,” wrote the Wild Child owners in an email to I Love the Burg.

“We also will have our soon to be famous spicy Korean fried chicken sandwich with kimchi aioli, shredded cabbage, dill pickles and brioche with hand cut fries; and our veggie burger with vegan American cheese, “special sauce”, caramelized onions, bibb lettuce and tomato on a vegan bun.”

This veggie burger will be made with mushrooms, eggplant, celery, brown rice, chickpeas, cashews, and onion. Yes, this is music to my vegetarian ears.

The cocktail menu is being kept secret for now 

The cocktail menu is under lock and key for the moment, but we recommend you follow Wild Child on Instagram for teasers and updates. The owners can confirm that natural wines will be on the menu, in addition to champagnes, tropical cocktails with heavy tequila and mezcal vibes, with some classics available too.

Inside, the aesthetic is “tropical meets mid-century modern.” The team is working with a St. Pete-based artist, as well as an artist out of Miami, Jessy Nite, to paint and decorate the space.

The owners are St. Pete natives who are ready to introduce something eclectic just outside the Historic Kenwood neighborhood.

“Both Rob and I are born and bred St.Pete natives…coincidently we both lived and worked in New York and returned home to Florida to open up our businesses with the experience and knowledge we gained in our travels,” wrote Matt Kaye. “Some destinations that have inspired us are Tulum, Costa Rica, Spain, New Orleans and definitely our time in New York.”

Rendering of a large outdoor patio

Opening in phases over the summer 

How does a new restaurant open amid a global pandemic? Wild Child is set to open in multiple phases in the summer of 2020.

The owners want to work Wild Child into a brunch opening hopefully after the first month of its debut. The team is constantly working on Wild Child’s covered patio outdoor bar area, which should be ready to open in September, according to Kaye.

“Really with all of the coronavirus outbreaks we are just trying to move along as planned but are prepared for setbacks because safety for our staff and community is the top priority.”

Joining Baba and Casita on Central 

When it opens, Wild Child will be in good company. The restaurant is right next to Casita Taqueria and Baba on Central, two of the most celebrated restaurants in the Sunshine City.

“We are so excited to be an addition to such a talented group and we want to try and add to what they have already built,” wrote Kaye. “It’s nice to step away from the downtown area and watch so many creative young new businesses flourish in this ever expanding scene.”

Tentative hours for Wild Child are Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday from 5pm-11pm; Friday and Saturday from 4pm-midnight.

Wild Child, 2710 Central Avenue.

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Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is the Editor of ilovetheburg.com. Follow him on Twitter @harlanyoungII and Instagram @harlanyoung. Send tips and potential stories to info@ilovetheburg.com.