Local investors have revived 22 South, a St. Petersburg food hall that opened to fanfare in April but shuttered in July.
| 12:00 p.m. October 7, 2021
After being shuttered and facing an uncertain future, 22 South, a highly anticipated food hall intended to help revitalize South St. Petersburg’s Deuces neighborhood, has reopened thanks to a new group of investors in the project.
Callaloo Group, a team of investors that included former Tampa Bay Buccaneers standout wide receiver Vincent Jackson, opened 22 South in April despite Jackson’s death in February. The food hall occupies the historic Manhattan Casino building, constructed in 1925 and owned by the city.
However, Callaloo Group gave up on the project in late July, with officials saying they couldn’t make it work financially because Jackson had been the majority partner. Enter Urban Collective, a group of seven St. Pete-based entrepreneurs — Jason Bryant, Ella Coffee, Tamisha Darling-Roberson, Jabaar Edmonds, LaShante Keys, Trevor Mallory and Dan Soronen — whose goal, according to a statement, is to “recreate how business is done within communities of need by investing in projects that can make an impact.”
At a sneak preview of the revitalized 22 South in late September, Darling-Roberson spoke with Coffee Talk about what the project represents. “Community,” she says. “The community having a place to come that’s accessible, that has food, entertainment. It’s a chance to revitalize this space. That’s my main objective.”
She adds, “I want it to have that ‘Cheers’ feeling. If people want to kick back and unwind, they can come to 22 South.”
The venue strives to have something for everyone. The heart of 22 South is an expansive restaurant with a full bar and even a small café with coffee, breakfast sandwiches and baked goods for people heading to work. When dining in the restaurant, patrons can order from five concepts: Louie’s Italian Eatery, Betterway BBQ, Irie Mon Jamaican Grill, Scratch Snacks and Harper’s Hamburgers, which boasts a “malt shop”-style menu of sliders, milkshakes and fries and was created by D&G Restaurant Group, which owns The Mill, a restaurant in downtown St. Pete.
“We had a couple of concepts that we wanted to test,” D&G partner Frank Myles tells Coffee Talk. “What better place to test it than an incubation site where we can figure out if it’s going to work.”
With its restored ballroom on the second floor, 22 South, located at 642 22nd St. S., can also accommodate special events such as birthday parties, corporate meetings and wedding receptions. Visit https://www.facebook.com/22southfoodhall for more info, including menus for all the restaurants.