10 Places We Were Happy to See Open in 2012

St. Pete Patch takes a look at 10 places in St. Pete we are happy that opened in 2012. What was your favorite place that opened in 2012?

As the economy continues its slight trend upward, many new businesses across St. Petersburg opened their doors in 2012. 

Yesterday, we took a somber look at some of the places we are sad to see close in 2012, but today we'll look at 10 great places that opened their doors in 2012. 

1. Banyan Cafe

OK, so this place isn't exactly new. However, the locally owned cafe and coffee shop reopened its doors in 2012 after closing 11 months earlier. Located at 689 Dr Martin Luther King Jr. St., Banyan features a breakfast and lunch menu and also caters. "“I felt really bad when we closed,” said Banyan Owner Erica Allums. “I just really needed to take some time for myself. However, she reopened she said, “We have so many loyal customers that are just right there, ready to support Banyan again."

2. The Bends

Located on the edge of downtown you'll find a hip new place to grab a fancy cocktail, a $2 PBR and even play some Ms. Pacman. The Bends opened Labor Day Weekend at 919 1st Ave. N. “We say it’s a classy dive bar,” said owner Matt Kaye. "The people that are coming in and keep coming, everyone in the community has been so supportive.”

3. Hollander Hotel

Downtown St. Pete has a new hotel in town, the Hollander Hotel. The hotel features an up-scale lobby, bar, restaurant and coffee shop. Outside, there is ample seating on its beautiful terrace. The Hollander Hotel, located at 421 4th Ave. N., also has a full service spa. 

4. Little Greek

On June 5, Little Greek opened its doors at 1052 4th St. N. in St. Petersburg. It was the store's eight location. Just last week, it opened its 11th store, in the food court of Tampa's West Shore Plaza. Little Greek offers dine-in, takeout and catering. The new location will be open from 11am-9pm, seven days a week. The menu features traditional Greek food such as veggie pitas and gyros. 

5. USF St. Pete Student Center

In the Fall of 2012 construction was finally complete on the new student center and dorms at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg. The 81,000 square feet student center features dinning services, meeting spaces, and a six-story resident hall for 200 students. "(This is) a fantastic addition to St. Petersburg and its incredible renaissance. Now even more students will be living downtown, energizing this incredible downtown," said Judy Genshaft, USF System President

6. Vue 19

Towering above the nightlife of St. Pete is the new hot spot club, Vue 19. The posh nightclub is located on the 19th floor inside the Bank of America tower. Vue 19 opened its doors in February. Inside, there are two main bars, a spacious dance floor, VIP tables galore and a grand piano. Thre is even an outdoor balcony with amazing views of downtown St. Pete and the bay. 

7. Pipo's Bay Pines 

Pipo's opened its second location this year at 9531 Bay Pines Blvd to go along with its original location at 437 Central Avenue. Pipo's has been serving traditional Cuban recipes since 1979.  

8. Edge Farmer's Market

Twice a week, the Edge Farmer's Market sets up shop on the 1000 block of Central Avenue. The all organic market features fresh produce, grass fed meats, fresh eggs, raw honey and much more. The market is open every Sunday and Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. 

9. Ricky P's

The New Orleans-style restaurant, located at 1113 Central Ave., features dishes ranging from the Ultimate Shrimp Po-Boy (fried Gulf shrimp on fresh French bread) to the Louisiana Seafood Platter (shrimp, oysters, crab cakes and either catfish or flounder). Ricky P's opened in the great space formerly occupied by Savannah's Cafe. 

10. Fit2Run

Fit2Run, and its brightly colored building, opened its doors this summer on the corner of 2nd Street and 3rd Avenue North. Fit2Run offers top shelf apparel, footwear and accessories. Runners can rely on professional coaching and social events through the store as well. 

Patch would like to thank its loyal Facebook followers, Keep Saint Petersburg Local and LocalShops1 in helping to compile this list. Did we leave out a great business that opened in 2012? Let us know in the comments. 

Emily December 29, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Should not have stopped at 10 perhaps! Being picky but Fit2Run is a giant eyesore. Delighted Banyan reopened, was wonderful before and is wonderful now! Bagels, they didn't make there, go to a bagel place for fresh bagels! We love the breakfast sandwich and Kahwa coffee they feature. Right next door to "Growing Up"if you're in the hood.
Barbara Lewis December 29, 2012 at 02:17 PM
I also agree with Doug. Painting with Fire Studio in the Grand Central District opened on June 5, the same day as the 11th location for Little Greek's. We moved our home and business from Maryland. We live in Kenwood and purchased 2428 Central Avenue. We're the only business of it's kind in the Tampa Bay area with a state-of-the-art ventilation system for torch-firing enamel and glass. My book on torch-fired enamel was named Best Craft Book of 2011 at Amazon and 2 new DVD's from the largest craft publisher in the US were released on December 14. Just sayin'!
Cassie Osterloth December 29, 2012 at 03:20 PM
I know there are a lot of wonderful, unique, city-character building small businesses that opened in 2012. My shop, Wonderland Floral Art and Gift Loft, being one of them as are many I learned about from Keep St. Pete Local. Just opening October 1st, we are not like any other florist, we are an art studio and strive to bring the beauty and art of flora culture to our wonderful city by hosting design classes every month for adults and children. There are many gems like us, doing our part, independently to make our city great and while it is easy to see why everyone can not be included on the list, I think more truly new, small business that enrich our lives could have made the cut.
Doug Nelson December 29, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Sonny-its possible Leafy Greens opened in 2011, not sure. was just using them as a non-franchise, non-reopening example. even if they did, there are plenty of other examples available that fit the bill. i mean, we got a new H&M in the tyrone square mall-gee, should we count that too?! and if we dont support these smaller upstart businesses that dont have the financial backing of a franchise, a lot of these upstarts are going to end up on the "closed in 2013" list next year.
Suzanne Anderson Fischer December 30, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Thanks for all the great info. The Top Ten plus the comments. I'm a Florida native who knew about none of these. I guess I just go to same old favorites. Will try new businesses. What about Trip's on MLK and 24thh Ave N? Don't know when they opened, but it seems like less than a year to me. I go there a few times a week. Great food, friendly owner and staff!


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