St. Petersburg’s Dr. BBQ has closed

ST. PETERSBURG — EDGE Region barbecue restaurant Dr. BBQ is closed.

Opened in October 2018, the restaurant is home to the famous pitmaster and St. Petersburg resident Ray Lampe, aka “Dr. BBQ” and Suzanne and Roger Perry, owners of Datz Restaurant Group.

Dr. Lampe, the licensee of the BBQ name, announced Friday morning that local food blog St. Petersburg Foodies confirmed that the shutter had been closed on a podcast episode.

In August, Perrys shared with both Dr. It sold the 7,935-square-foot building that houses the BBQ as well as the rooftop tiki bar Burnt Ends to South Florida developer PTM Partners for $4.5 million. mixed-use development Edge Collective.

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Dr. The BBQ remained open until Thursday evening, the last day of the restaurant. Suzanne Perry said a different tenant will run a new business in the area for the next 18 months.

Perry described the decision to close as “heartbreaking”.

“We loved that restaurant,” he said. “I was proud of that restaurant; We worked hard on it.”

Perry, St. He said the rapid change in the landscape in St. Petersburg city center, especially in the EDGE District, was instrumental in their decision to sell the restaurant. He also said that the lack of parking available to restaurant customers is making it difficult to manage.

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“It was very simple: Someone called us and said they really wanted that real estate in the worst way in the world,” Perry said. “It was just a real estate transaction. It was the right business decision to make—in that particular day, hour, and economy—in that development corridor. To be honest, that was the only decision to be made.

Perrys is also located in Tampa, St. Pete runs Datz restaurants in Riverview, casual steakhouse Donovan’s Meatery in Riverview, and Dough in Tampa.

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The partnership and friendship between the Barbecue Hall of Fame and Perrys predates the restaurant’s launch several years ago. As part of their deal, Lampe, Dr. He signed a five-year license agreement with Perrys to use the BBQ name. When the restaurant opened, the national barbecue scene was burgeoning, and the venue debuted with plenty of hype, with high-end cured meats, Southern-inspired comfort food with creative twists, and a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian dishes.

“He was probably a little ahead of his time,” Perry said. “But we cared about it, we loved it, and we were passionate about it.”

Dr.  Burnt Ends Tiki Bar, a tiki-themed bar above the BBQ area, has also closed.
Dr. Burnt Ends Tiki Bar, a tiki-themed bar above the BBQ area, has also closed. [ Courtesy of Burnt Ends Tiki Bar ]

In early 2021, the group expanded its second floor space into a tiki-themed cocktail bar serving Polynesian-inspired snacks and tiki classics.

Perry said there were no changes to the remaining Datz Restaurant Group restaurants.

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Our goal in 2023 is to return to quality service 101,” he said. “The last few years have been extremely difficult with so many people leaving the industry.”

No word on what will happen next with the EDGE District area. An email sent to PTM Partners was not immediately returned.


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