St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District is gearing up for a dinner tasting tour for a good cause. The event will benefit the non-profit Come Out St. Pete, while showcasing five eateries in the district. According to the organization’s website, Come Out St. Pete’s mission is to “to celebrate coming out, to inspire members of the LGBT community to be honest about their sexual orientation and gender identity, to raise awareness of issues facing the community, and to encourage others to be openly supportive as allies.”
In June, the Grand Central District hosted the St. Pete Pride Street Festival. This event, paired with a strong history of LGBTQ acceptance in the district, made it the perfect place for the benefit, scheduled for October 4 at 6 p.m., say organizers.
Tracey Asalita is the owner of Central Avenue’s The Queens Head, a British bar and restaurant. Asalita’s restaurant is one of five on the tour. Alongside Mandy Keyes of Community Cafe, Asalita planned and organized the event, focusing on a theme of community.
“We had planned a dining event in the Grand Central to support Come Out St. Pete,” said Asalita. “I suggested a progressive dinner-type format to enhance the community-building aspect of the event.”
Diners will start at Punky’s Bar and Grill and make their way north on Central Avenue to try a dish and an adult beverage at Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria, URBAN Comfort, The Queens Head, and finish with dessert at Community Cafe. Each stop will last about 45 minutes, giving tour-goers plenty of time to take in the vibes of each eatery.
Plates like seared sea scallops with cauliflower mash, yellow curry chicken wraps, and fried mac and cheese will fuel diners, while jazzy drinks like Pom Pom’s teamosa (sparkling wine and tea) will bring the fun.
Although this is the first tasting tour of its kind for the Grand Central District, Asalita says she hopes it won’t be the last.
“We have five restaurants on this tour, but we have many more exciting places in the district,” she said. “We already have ideas how to expand this to include other restaurants next year.”
All of the proceeds from the event will go towards the Come Out St. Pete.
“The organization is important to me because it supports the growing LGBTQ community in St Pete,” said Asalita. Forty tickets are available for the tour and can be purchased online at comeoutstpete.org/product/taste-grand-central-ticket. Asalita encourages patrons to get tickets in advance as they may be sold out on the day of the tour.
For more information about the event and Come Out St. Pete, visit comeoutstpete.org.