, a restaurant known for its old-school service station theme, has acquired the space previously occupied by the Rowdies Den in downtown St. Petersburg, which closed Sunday.
The new restaurant will open in the summer of 2017 in the location at the corner of First Avenue and Second Street. It plans to continue to be the official gathering spot for fans of the Tampa Bay Rowdies
Ford's Garage was established in 2012 in Ft. Myers and has expanded to Cape Coral, Estero and Brandon. Each gourmet burger bar looks similar inside and out, with a 1920s service station/prohibition style. The new St. Pete location is one of several that the company has in the works.
"The area itself, just knowing the energy that's thriving there, has been on the radar for at least a year," Tara Matheny, director of Business Development for 23 Restaurant Services, the parent company of Ford's Garage and Yeoman's Cask & Lion
in downtown Tampa, says of St. Pete.
She says the location of the restaurant space is appealing because it's right in the middle of downtown, which has a unique vibe.
"It just fits with that energy that’s going on in downtown St. Pete," she says.
Other up-and-coming Ford's Garage locations include Wesley Chapel, next to Tampa Premium Outlets, which is projected to open in February; Westchase/Citrus Park, at Sheldon Road and Linebaugh Avenue, which is expected to open in March; Clearwater, close to Countryside Mall, which is projected to open in April; and Dearborn, Mich., which is expected to open at the end of May or the beginning of June.
Matheny says the entire company is especially looking forward to the St. Pete location though because of its potential for success in such a lively community.
"It's really exciting for all of us," she says.