Raining Berries, a coffee-shop-meets-acaí-cafe, opened on the ground floor of St. Petersburg’s Artistry Apartments on Sunday, Jan. 9. The store is a franchise of the (for now) Florida brand, but Raining Berries founder Bimal Bhojani is passionate about keeping the stores organic and true to their roots.
“My family has been in the coffee industry for seven generations in Africa,” Bhojani said. “I guess this is in the blood in many respects.”
Raining Berries sources its coffee and espresso from East Africa and brews it fresh. They use 100% organic acaí, with gluten-free granola and fresh fruit offered alongside treats like smoothies and matcha.
“We just want to do the total opposite of the big brands,” Bhojani said. “We want to give people a good cup of coffee.”
Introducing: The Salty Nun
The swinging days have ended at Central Avenue’s Swinger’s Bar & Grille – at least for now.
Gulfport business owners Barbara Banno and J.P. Brewer purchased and closed Swinger’s on Jan. 10. They plan to rebrand it as the Salty Nun and open in March.
Banno owns popular Gulfport breakfast spot Stella’s and serves as the Gulfport Merchants Chamber of Commerce president. Brewer created Salty’s and Salty’s Sandwich Bar, both popular Gulfport businesses; she sold both businesses in 2021.
The Salty Nun, they say, merges both concepts.
“We probably came up with this idea over drinks one night and the fact that we are making it a reality is exciting,” Banno told The Gabber.
The new spot at 2501 Central Avenue will feature breakfast favorites and Stella’s nun, along with Salty’s live music vibe, plus a full liquor bar.
They will add a stage, wipe the restaurant clean of all pineapple imagery, and roll out a fresh menu inspired by both Stella’s and Salty’s.
“We’re nervous, excited and we have such a good following of loyal customers from both businesses from Gulfport that we will hopefully bring to St. Pete,” Banno said.
As for the swings, they’re not going anywhere.
“You may see some of the swings around the restaurant,” Banno said. “We know that is a favorite.”
The previously lackluster Gulfport building at 2201 49th St. S. received a mural makeover this January to prepare for the opening of Julio’s Empanadas Latin Twist Cafe.
Owner Julio Pagan filed articles of incorporation for the restaurant in December, 2021, according to the State of Florida.
“Looking forward to another unique food option in Gulfport and just a few blocks from my ‘slice of paradise’, Twin Palms Meadow,” Gulfport resident Wolfgang Deininger wrote on Facebook.
It’s unclear when the empanada eatery will officially open for business.