Olivier Rodriguez of Italy and Grégory Pugin of the south of France, partners in the ownership of Cocoa Addiction in St. Pete Beach, are both renowned in the culinary world.
Rodriguez worked as a pastry chef throughout America, and Pugin is a five-star chef in Europe as well as the United States. They’re not new to the kitchen, but they are new to St. Petersburg.
Cocoa Addiction, at 344 Corey Ave., officially opened its doors on Saturday, April 17. The two chefs sold their creations wholesale in Miami for years, but the store on St. Pete Beach is the duo’s first brick-and-mortar location.
“Me and my partner are not like most people who do this who started in the banking industry, or other businesses, and transferred over to this because they love it,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve been doing this professionally for years.”
Among other things, the shop sells artistically crafted bonbons, hazelnut spreads, buttery European pastries and fresh coffee.
“In Miami, the European pastry market is oversaturated; here there is space for everyone,” Rodriguez said.
Follow them at instagram.com/cocoaddiction_confections.
ArtWorks Makes a Move
St. Pete ArtWorks Gallery officially moved from 2412 Central Ave. to a larger location at 2604 Central Ave. in April.
It’s not a huge distance, but the new location is much larger and features five working artist studios, an outdoor space as well as a classroom.
The move is still a work in progress, but the gallery is open to the public.
“Our space at 2412 was really too small, but it was great,” said ArtWorks Director Judy Vienneau. “It was the only thing we could find at the time, but now we’ve found this wonderful new space. Hopefully this is the last move.”
ArtWorks is a cooperative gallery, sharing the work of 21 artists of the Gulf Coast Artists’ Alliance.
“Having the outdoor area is nice because people can spread out and enjoy the area,” Vienneau said. “We’ll have music often, art walks, that sort of thing.”
More at stpeteartworks.com.
Booking on the Go
Self-proclaimed “terrible travelers” C.J and Kaitlin Gustafson first realized the market for a live tour booking app when their wild dolphin swimming excursion was canceled in Hawaii.
It was their honeymoon, and it took the couple a few hours to find something that was available the same day.
When they arrived on the tour, it was barely full.
“A lot of websites that you see are all about planning ahead,” Kaitlin said. “We found a way to show the tours closest to you that are live and ready.”
In 2019, they launched the free app for live tours, BUBBA Booking. Recently the Gustafsons moved from Boston to Tampa to concentrate on Tampa and the St. Petersburg area.
“When we were down in St. Pete working on the app, we did tons of boat stuff, shaking hands and meeting the guides,” C.J said. “It’s kind of like the perfect area for this.”
Check it out bubbabooking.com.
Park It, It’s Movie Time
After taking a year-long hiatus, Preserve the ‘Burg’s Movies in the Park is returning this May.
The laid out blankets, picnic wine and live music centered around an outdoor screen in North Straub Park, 400 Bayshore Dr. NE, will all be back.
What’s new is the required masks and six feet of distance between moviegoers.
“My Cousin Vinny” will screen on May 7, and “Two Weeks Notice” is on for May 20, both at 7 p.m.
More at preservetheburg.org/calendar.