Third Annual DTSP Sunshine Award Winners Announced

More than 100 people gathered at the Museum of History to enjoy Hops & Props hors ‘oeuvres and drinks. Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin announced the winners, culled from more than 2,000 nominating votes, acknowledging individuals and business who make DTSP a great live/work/play neighborhood. Special thanks to our Annual Sponsor Smith & Associates Real Estate For more information or to join SPDNA visit

Things to do: Second Saturday ArtWalk
Casual dining: Moon Under Water
Fine dining: Parkshore Grill
Drinks: Green Bench Brewing Company
Shop: Savory Spice Shop
Arts & Culture: Museum of Fine Arts
Business – Small:UPS Store
Business – Large: Publix
Downtown Hero:  John Collins, St. Petersburg Arts Alliance

The Palladium Theater

If you love jazz, dance, comedy and culture, check out downtown St. Pete’s award-winning, historic Palladium Theater, home to the main stage Hough Hall and intimate Side Door. Both the Mahaffey and Ruth Eckerd Hall bring acts to this venue in addition to those booked by the Palladium directors under the artistic direction of Paul Wilborn.

Established by a group of arts philanthropists in 1998, The Palladium’s central mission has been to serve all of Tampa Bay as a performing arts center that welcomes everyone and serves the entire community.

In 2007, the Palladium Theater became part of St. Petersburg College. In accepting the property, the College re-committed to the Palladium’s mission of serving all of Tampa Bay, while adding college functions where appropriate. Under the umbrella of St. Petersburg College, the Palladium enjoys support that helps assure the theater’s long-term future as a vital part of the cultural life in Tampa Bay.

With its two venues, the 850-seat Hough Hall, as well as its intimate award-winning 175-seat candlelit listening room, The Side Door, The Palladium fosters artistically and culturally diverse performing arts, educational and film programs that bring artists and audiences together in a first-class professional, affordable setting. Consistently ranked as one of Tampa Bay’s best, most affordable venues for innovative performances and events (classical, jazz, blues, theatre, opera, Celtic, comedy, dance, educational, literary), fundraisers and provides a full-service, affordable rental facility for artists, producers and community organizations.

Giving back is part of the mission. For example, on Feb. 19, Mutts Gone Nuts performance benefits the St. Petersburg Free Clinic. The Palladium nurtures partnerships with established and emerging local artists and cultural organizations that use the theater as a venue and showcases selected programs of St. Petersburg College, giving students opportunities to work intimately with renowned touring professionals as well as with local artists, such as February’s Jazz Festival.

An Artistic History

One of the nation’s oldest and most distinguished builders, the George A. Fuller Construction Company, completed construction of the building in 1925. The company’s namesake building, The Fuller Building was completed in 1902 in New York City – better known today as The Flatiron Building. Other NYC buildings constructed by the company included the Dag Hammarskjöld Library at the United Nations, and Lincoln Center. In Washington, D.C., Fuller built the Supreme Court and Lincoln, as well as the National Cathedral.

The Palladium Theater, now on the National Register of Historic Places, was born in June 1998, when a group of local leaders, headed by Paul Stavros, Bill and Hazel Hough, Mary Wyatt Allen, George Rahdert, and Gus and Frances Stavros, forming The Palladium Theater Inc., took possession of the 73-year-old First Church of Christ, Scientist.  The price, $575,000 covered the building and two parking lots; by today’s prices, the purchase counts as a very good investment. A year after the transfer, the Palladium Theater played host to the Florida Orchestra. It has been presenting music, drama, dance, and virtually every other kind of performance ever since, with an emphasis on showcasing local performers, composers, and writers.

The change from church to theater included some $300,000 of alterations. Seats in the mainstage concert hall, the 850-seat Hough Hall, were removed at the front to allow for a usable stage. The most noticeable changes, however, were the acoustic cloud under the ceiling (that absorbed sound that would otherwise continue upwards into the arched ceiling) and the grid from which the theater’s lighting system is suspended. Other changes included modem sound, light, and electrical systems, a sprinkler system, handicapped access. Installed in the last two years, the concert hall  now boasts a state of the art sound system, making the theater nearly acoustically perfect, The original 1926 Skinner organ remains in the building and is included in selected performances.

The conversion of the downstairs Sunday School room into the Stavros Great Room, a facility still used for meetings, parties, and smaller events, is now the Palladium’s second successful performance venue. The award-wining, 175-seat  “Side Door,” is firmly established as Tampa Bay’s best, most intimate listening room for singer songwriters, jazz, blues, and so much  more.

The hallmarks of the Romanesque Revival style are easy to see. The golden brick Fifth Avenue facade is a little unusual; stucco was much more common. But the terra cotta roof is typical of the style, as are the finely detailed Corinthian capitals that top the limestone pillars across the facade. Climb the front steps and you can see the high vaulted portico and the ceiling’s richly detailed metal chancellors. Inside, you see how well the basilica’s plan works for the Palladium and how well it worked for the church. Aisles flanking the high central space provide efficient circulation and easy access to the theater’s seating.

Most visitors to the Palladium are awed by the exceptionally beautiful tiles created exclusively for and found throughout the building. These tiles were ordered from the workshop of Ernest Batchelder, a renowned artisan who became known worldwide for his arts-and-crafts-style tilework. All of the Palladium’s handcrafted tiles, including the floor tile, were made in Batchelder’s California workrooms and shipped to St. Petersburg.  PN

Upcoming Perfomances:

Visit for more amazing 2017 shows.

February: Laugh your socks off with Upright Citizens’ Brigade (2/17) and get your King on with Chris MacDonald’s Memories of Elvis (2/11).  Laissez le bontemps roulet with Beausoleil (2/18) or get classical on 2/14 with Tampa Bay Symphony or (2/8) with the Palladium Chamber Players.

March: Rock out to The Florida Bjorkestra (3/19) or twist with Chubby Checker & The Wildcats (3/23).  Beatle-lovers will enjoy The McCartney Project (3/16) and sixties fans can get ack with The Yardbirds with Vanilla Fudge (3/5).


If you sign up for Paradise News FREE weekly e-newsletter on the top right of our website, you will be entered into our contest for a pair of tickets for Life on Venus, The Music of Bowie and Bjork (3/19) or The Resurrection of Stevie Ray Vaught: Billy Evanochko (3/30).  

Go to: The Palladium, 253 5th Ave., N, St. Petersburg, 33701; 727-822-3590

Where To Eat & Drink:

Stop by the Hollander Hotel for a pre-theater nosh.

If it’s Thursday, you can enjoy 50% off bottles of wine and a customer appreciation dinner special for $12 that includes soup or salad, entree and a scoop of ice cream after 4pm. Every night is a good time at the alfresco bar and Taproom, where the craft beers flow and the burgers and sandwiches are yummy. Check their website for entertainment, from magic to live music.

The Hollander Hotel, 421 4th Ave. N, St Petersburg, 727.873.7900

Street Parking:

On-street parking between 5th & 7th

Avenues N, from Beach Drive to 2nd Street is designated as Residential Parking Permit zones from 8 am to 8 pm daily with  2-hour parking allowed without a permit.  Permit holders are exempt from the 2-hour parking limit.

Parking Options Convenient to the Palladium:

  • Palladium Lots: Palladium parking is available in the lot across Fifth Avenue from the theater or in the lot adjacent to the theater.
  • Souzou Asian Fusion  (727) 823-4050, 425 Fifth Avenue N., one and a half blocks due west of the Palladium. Ample parking anytime and free valet during restaurant hours for Palladium patrons. Just show your ticket to the Palladium, and enjoy parking at no charge.
  • SP+ Parking  (727) 242-1225 – 350 Third St., N., one block south, then one block west of the Palladium: 350 spaces; garage parking at $1 per hour; payment via debit/credit card; unattended; open 24/7; 20 cameras aid St. Pete staff to monitor security; advance reserved parking available.

Story by Nanette Wiser

Welcome, IndyCar Racing Fans!

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is among the most respected and exciting motorsports events in North America and features a festival-like atmosphere that includes the fastest racing series on the planet, celebrity athletes, live entertainment and interactive activities. Visit for ticket information and details.

Dubbed the “World’s Fastest Spring Break Party,” the race takes place every spring on a challenging temporary street circuit overlooking the scenic waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg. Racing at speeds in excess of 170 mph on the 14-turn, 1.8 mile long street course, drivers circle the Mahaffey Theater and The Dali Museum, then proceed to the runways of Albert Whitted Airport.

The race is part of the Verizon IndyCar Series, the premier open-wheel racing series in the United States and Canada. Launched in 2003, the race marked the advent of a new form of competition among engine manufacturers by having three different engines, which now features Honda, Chevrolet and Mazda to compete for track leadership.

But the Firestone Grand Prix offers so much more than cars and speed; it’s packed with family-friendly fun. The free Fast Friday event in North Straub Park filled with live music, kids’ build-a-racecar tent, food trucks and more will kick off the weekend’s festivities. To add fuel to the good times, free Movies in the Park featuring racing-themed films will take place each night on the north wall of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Friday is chock full of practice sessions, followed by the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg 5K foot race. Participants get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience every curve and straightaway of the track as they run, walk or wheel around the waterfront race course.

Practice and qualifying sessions continue on Saturday and the main event, the Verizon IndyCar race, unfolds Sunday.

Spectators also have the opportunity to test their own racing skills at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with racing simulators and a Fan Zone that encourages event-goers to put the pedal to the metal.

Those opting for a luxurious experience with Monaco-like style can take advantage of the prestigious Yacht Club. Specially built private floating docks let spectators view the race from the comfort of a yacht. The slips provide unprecedented vantage points at turns 10 and 11, located directly alongside the race track.

Related Events:

Bright House Speed Zone
Verizon IndyCar Series Fan Village
Beer Gardens
Driver Autograph Sessions
Interactive games & exhibits

Neighborhoods: Downtown St. Pete

Downtown St. Pete rocks. From Grand Central to Beach Drive, there are 1,001 ways to enjoy yourself 24/7.We will be posting our favorite restaurants, attractions, bars, shops and news from the Burg here weekly...Ciao, baby-Nanette Wiser

Check This Out: Harmony Eco Spa in the Hollander Hotel will rejuvenate and refresh you and pairs perfectly with your new fitness resolutions. From massage to facials, Reiki to chakra alignment, it’s downtown’s sweet spot. Hollander Hotel also offers yoga Saturday morning poolside and indie music on Sundays, and their menu and Tap Room cocktails and beers offer something for everyone.

March 10-12 2017: Indy fans, heads up! The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is among the most respected and exciting motorsports events in North America and features a festival-like atmosphere that includes the fastest racing series on the planet, celebrity athletes, live entertainment and interactive activities. Dubbed the “World’s Fastest Spring Break Party,” the race takes place every spring on a challenging temporary street circuit overlooking the scenic waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg. Racing at speeds in excess of 170 mph on the 14-turn, 1.8 mile long street course, drivers circle the Mahaffey Theater and The Dali Museum, then proceed to the runways of Albert Whitted Airport.

Downtown St. Pete Best Bets

  • Feed your inner barista at Déjà Vu for expresso and tea, another newcomer to the 400 block of Central Ave.
  • Could a NYC-type rooftop garden be in the work with developer changes at St. Pete’s Station House and renovations to the Green-Richman Arcade?
  • Cold fusion coffee is all the rage with St. Pete’s Made Coffee Brewery
  • Thursday is Yappy Hour at Pinellas Ale Works Brewery & Taproom while Wednesday is trivia night. I love their vanilla bean porter.
  • Check out Red Mesa’s sunset menu Mon.-Fri. 4-6 pm at the 4th St. location;
  • Don’t miss the Hideaway Blues Jam Wednesdays; doors open at 6 for dinner and drinks and the music ramps up 7:30-10:30pm. Free admission. (1756 Central Avenue)
  • Love Maryland jumbo crab cakes? Check out Blake’s Crab Cakes (7224 Central Avenue).
  • St. Petersburg Saturday Market is the place to nosh, walk your dog and enjoy live music.
  • Hollander Hotel/Tap Room offers yoga Saturday morning poolside and indie music on Sundays. Saturday and Sunday, you can enjoy $5 Bloody Mary and mimosas and on Sun. $10 all you can eat breakfast special.
  • Room 901 is the new venture from the former owners of Peg’s Cantina (Gulfport).
    Got a sweet tooth? Check out The Sugar Shack on MLK Street North, especially the key lime pies.
  • Iberian Rooster serves up colonial Portuguese dishes and a new Sunday brunch on Central Ave.
  • Kahwa Coffee celebrated their 10th anniversary this year with their 10th store in Tampa Bay (four in Tampa, four in St. Pete and one in Sarasota). Owners Raphael and Sarah Perrier are baristas with a purpose, growing from their first store on the corner of 5th Ave and 2nd St. downtown. You can see them on HSN, find them at local restaurant and even get their heavenly brews online;
  • The Independent reopened in downtown St. Pete with some of the best beers, wines, music and conversation in town. After the Dec. 3 grand opening party, Ballast Pt. Brewing beer celebration kicks off noon-close with a tasting of the rare coffee vanilla imperial porter and other brews.
  • Ciccio Restaurant Group’s Better Byrd is a new chicken noshery, with classic and trendy chicken dishes to cluck about.
  • ThirstyFirst replaced Alvin’s Lounge on First Ave. with the motto Come Thirsty, Leave Tipsy and the Prohibition-style lounge, cocktails and food are a big hit.
  • Old Chicago Pizza features deep dish pies, subs and salads for a taste of the windy city.
  • The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club gets a facelift and is renovating the spa, fitness center, dining facilities and tennis courty. In January, they will break ground on a new marina and pool view restaurant on the Esplanade deck at the main resort.
  • Kozuba & Sons Craft Distillery in the Warehouse Arts District introduces Starkus Vodka, a barrel-aged vodka with hints of honey, oak spice and vanilla.
  • Largo-based artisan Pinellas Chocolates dark chocolate bars are all the rage and can be found at St. Pete Indie Market, Locate Market and Rollin Oats in St. Petersburg.
  • Downtown’s Savory Spice Shop introduced a Spice Up Your Holidays Gift Guide and new St. Petersburg Snapper seasoning.
  • World Class ZO Skin Center by Zein Obagi MD is now open in downtown St. Pete (240 1st Ave. South) in the bottom floor of Dr. Christian Drehsen’s Clinique of Plastic Surgery building. It is the first franchise and East Coast location of the Beverly-Hills based legendary products and services developed by skincare guru Dr. Obagi.
  • St. Petersburg Saturday Market is the place to nosh, from Brooklyn Knish to empanadas, French crepes to handmade pickles and fresh veggies, it’s a fun way to start the weekend and listen to the live band du jour.
  • Hollander Hotel/Tap Room offers yoga Saturday morning poolside and indie music on Sundays. Saturday and Sunday, you can enjoy $5 Bloody Mary and mimosas and on Sun. $10 all you can eat breakfast special.

Downtown News

  • ONE St. Petersburg, the 41-story mixed-use development in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, has sold its ground-floor retail condominiums to two separate buyers.
    With 2,000 renttal units in the market, comes another player, The Relaxed Group with an eight-story, 384 unit Hermitage Apartments and a future site at 930 Central Flats (218 unit, five story building).