A blast from the 60s, SumitrA Espresso Lounge+ opened in 2019 intent on creating a coffeehouse discussion-pit vibe that brought people in to talk, try CBD and learn.
Now, SumitrA owner and cannabinoid scientist Maurice Loeb is partnering with local chefs and musicians to include the community in his larger plan of connecting people and artists.
“We’re always looking for something new,” Loeb said. “I never want to be stagnant.”
Rays Vegan Soul and D-Deuce, an indie two-person band, are the latest to leapfrog off SumitrA’s laid back clientele.
Ray’s Traveling Veganism
Ray Milton, a vegan chef whose business, Ray’s Vegan Soul Food, closed in 2019, offers a healthy catering option for local businesses and events.
Beginning in February, Milton serves his herbivore dishes at SumitrA for both Gulfport’s First Friday Art Walk and the Third Saturday IndieFaire each month.
“I met Ray and was immediately impressed by the way he did vegan,” Loeb said. “It was different; we do vegan food, but this was soul food and I loved it.”
More at raysvegansoul.com.
Online Acoustic Ads
A punk-flavored acoustic rock band whose genesis came about in New York City in the 80s, Karen and Christopher Payne-Taylor are the two musicians that make up D-Deuce.
The band created, AdvrStory Media Platform, which streams a combination of venue information and an online concert, depending on the setting.
“The digital platform is a wonderful thing, and SumitrA is one of our favorite places to play,” Christopher said.
In their first online appearance, D-Deuce dropped a Valentine’s Day weekend love story circling SumitrA and Loeb. The pair plan to partner with more St. Petersburg spaces in the future.
“The songs are poetic, and we wanted to tell a love story about Maurice and the community and his shop,” Karen said.
A Small Kitchen, A German Chef with Big Flavors
In 2019, Master Chef Frank Keller was running the Sea Breeze Manor Bed and Breakfast Inn remotely from his home in Germany; by 2021 Keller and his family relocated to Gulfport and he’s running the recently revitalized kitchen in a one-man show.
The small kitchen in the inn is alive with pot clanging and pan switching for the first time in the two years; Keller dubbed it “The Sea Breeze Cafe” and got to work in mid-February.
“I really love to cook, and the kitchen has been sitting there, empty,” Keller said. “The former owners rented it out, but I wanted to make it my own.”
The Sea Breeze Cafe, located at 5701 Shore Blvd. S., is open to B&B guests from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For those hours, Keller is creating sweet crepes, French toast with European bread, savory broths with fresh garnishes and more.
“Our bestseller will always be the view; we’re right on the water,” Keller said. “We have a limited menu, but everything I make is with quality.”
More at seabreezemanorinn.com.
Real People in Real Estate
Saturday, February 20, RE/MAX owner Marie Drew moved her real estate firm to a larger, parking-accessible location at 6641 Central Ave.
“I’ve always had a huge heart for Gulfport,” Drew said. “Our team has a heart for service, not just sales.”
Drew’s been in the business for 16 years, and opened RE/MAX in 2017 with the intent to serve St. Petersburg’s housing needs.
Drew and her 10 agents cover most of Pinellas County; they work in home sales, relocation and rental management.
“We’re very in touch with the community,” Drew said. “We’ll go as far as we need to help a customer.”
For more info find Marie Drew at remax.com.