ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (June 25, 2014) — Two members of Bonefish Grill’s original founding team and former joint venture partners will open a new restaurant concept, Noble Crust, this summer in north St. Petersburg.
Construction for the 160-seat restaurant is currently underway on the corner of 4th Street North and 83rd Avenue North, the former location of the iconic Haymarket Pub and The Hideaway. The Noble Crust team purchased several properties to accommodate the refurbishing and building of a 3,300-square-foot restaurant with plenty of parking spaces.
Dubbed “Seasonal Italian with Southern Soul,” Noble Crust will combine traditional Italian cooking with Southern ingredients, such as Smokey Braised Short Ribs with Heirloom Tomato and Ricotta Salata, and Wood-Fired Pizza with Country Ham and Arugula.
Noble Crust partners TJ Thielbar and John Mays, who will handle restaurant operations, were both joint venture partners and operations managers for Bonefish Grill. Both were also involved in Hops Grill & Brewery at its early stage – Thielbar as National Culinary Director and Mays as Regional Director of Operations – in the early 1990s.
Noble Crust’s third partner, Jeff Strouse, who has a background in law and accounting and is a consultant for a financial services firm, will help oversee the restaurant’s business and legal operations.
Executive Chef Rob Reinsmith is a Pinellas County native who spent the past several years in New York City, most recently working under chefs Mario Carbone at Parm and Rich Torrisi at Torrisi Italian Specialties. Reinsmith returned to Tampa Bay to be part of Noble Crust’s founding team.
“Opening Noble Crust in St. Pete is significant to us because it feels like we’re coming home,” said Thielbar. “John and I were part of the original team that opened the very first Bonefish Grill right down the street from the Noble Crust site, and Rob was born and raised here. We’re very excited to revitalize that entire corner of 4th Street and 83rd and create something the local community and the city of St. Pete can be really proud of.”
Noble Crust’s menu will feature locally grown, seasonal ingredients. Most dishes will be made in-house and from scratch, including gnocchi, pasta, gelato, cured meats and cheeses. It will also feature wood-fired pizza, such as Cedar Key Clam Pizza with Bacon.
The polished, casual eatery will have a well-worn, comfortable vibe, with indoor and outdoor seating, social tables, an open kitchen, and a bar that will feature crafted beers and drinks, and quality wines on tap. The 800-square-foot patio will feature a retractable roof, lounge furniture, and air conditioning and heaters so customers can enjoy cocktails and small plates outside year-round.
“We’re creating a place that’s current and comfortable that turns traditional Italian dining into a whole new experience,” said Mays.
The artisan-concept restaurant will be furnished with tables and seating hand-built by the Noble Crust team. White marble associated with traditional Italian dining will be mixed with industrial design elements, such as repurposed, weathered wood.
Noble Crust will be open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday; for lunch on Fridays; and for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. The average menu item is priced at under $15.