St. Petersburg entrepreneur acquires third major downtown establishment, as second is permitted for renovation
Australian-native Josh Cameron is reshaping Central Avenue on downtown’s “First Block”
Fortunato’s space just permitted for renovation, rebranding as artisan-pizza bar “Crafty Squirrel”
Meantime, Oyster Bar has doubled revenue, and Lucky Dill ramps-up long-standing/wide-reaching catering business with addition of new brands
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 5, 2017) — The Oyster Bar has long thrived in St. Petersburg, and since Josh (“Jubes”) Cameron purchased the downtown institution in 2013 revenue has more than doubled.
That success allowed him to acquire neighbor Fortunato’s Italian Market in 2016. The popular pizza joint remains profitable, while Cameron plans a different presence in the space this summer. Details for the soon-to-be “Crafty Squirrel” will be released soon.
Earlier this year, Cameron finalized a deal to buy Lucky Dill Deli & Catering, three doors down, on the corner of the block (sometimes called “first block” because of its history and meaning to downtown St. Petersburg). Notably, the purchase of that St. Pete institution came with 3,000 square-feet of upstairs space. Cameron plans to continue Lucky Dill in its current location, while he explores opportunities to grow the brand in other areas, then possibly relocate within downtown. Soon the catering operation will offer all three brands.
Further plans for the restaurants and block are extensive: A new brand, new menu, and renovation of the Fortunato’s space; near-term expansion of the Lucky Dill brand/reach; construction of a large-scale production kitchen; significant supply chain enhancements; creating several new office spaces; eventual creation of a new Australian beer garden; and a variety of possibilities for further developing the interior of the block with its balcony potential and alleyway that once served as the original Central Avenue.
Australian-native, world-traveled, hospitality-trained, Cameron long planned to own a bar in America, with sights set on St. Petersburg. He says he’s “all-in” on St. Pete and bullish about its future, with further ideas and plans – not limited to several Australian bars. Known as “Jubes” by patrons, he’s often seen bouncing among tables and crowds, making sure all are content with food and service, but also making sure everybody’s having “sweet-sweet” good times.