It looks like a foodie's paradise: back-to-back restaurants, humming with the sound of the clinking silverware of customers. But a new study has no appetite for St. Petersburg, ranking it as the seventh-worst place in the country to grab a bite to eat.
The Movoto real estate blog's rankings are based on the number of restaurants, bakeries, and specialty shops per capita.
"It's not NYC, there's not a bakery on every block. But there is a definitely a place for foodies in this town," chef Jeff Jew said Wednesday.
Jew knows a thing or two about fine dining. He was featured on Bravo's Top Chef and studied under Gordon Ramsay. He says St. Pete's on the cusp of something great.
"You've got a growing culture for food. There's breweries happening everywhere. It's starting to be a place for everyone. That's why I like to say, it's the city that's going to explode for food culture," Jew said.
While the restaurant scene is just starting to simmer, some say finding your next great meal is part of the fun.
"You do have to do a little bit of research, you do have to go places you're not comfortable going, and I think that's the joy of St. Petersburg. You get out of it what you bring to it," Bella Brava Trattoria general manager Carolyn Tsovrakis said.
She says that's what makes St. Pete a destination for all diners. It's a town loaded with taste and hidden treasures, with more menus popping up around every corner.
"I would like to see them come back and do that kind of survey in three years, when we have more restaurants, more development, more investments, and have them do that survey again, because I think they'll be very pleasantly surprised at where we're going," Tsovrakis smiled.
The Movoto study ranked St. Pete particularly poorly in the category of bakeries per capita, with one for every 17,500 people.
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