Restaurateur & local politico John Stross dies

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Prominent restaurateur and leading political activist John Stross died on Saturday. He was 71 years old.

Stross was primarily known as the co-owner of the popular Leverock’s restaurants.

In 1980, Stross and business partner Dick Tappan acquired Johnny Leverock’s Oyster Bar in Pinellas Park. In subsequent years, Lewis and Stross’ JSGL Management either owned or franchised 15 Leverock’s before selling the chain in 2000. Afterwards, the company focused on real estate management a few years before returning to the restaurant business in 2008 by opening Leverock’s in South Pasadena.

Last year, the company continued in the casual seafood restaurant business by taking over the day-to-day operations of the iconic Friendly Fisherman restaurant on the boardwalk at John’s Pass Village.

Over his long civic career, Stross served on the board of trustees of Community Action Stops Abuse, as chair of the board of the Louise Graham Regeneration Center and the Deaf and Hearing Connection and on the board of directors of R’Club and the Children’s Dream Fund.

Stross was also active as the Chair/CEO — along with Vice Chair/COO Jo Brower — of successful CASA Peace Breakfast. In 2012, they founded the nonprofit Remember Honor Support as an ongoing memorial event on the anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. The group hosts an annual Patriots Day breakfast, which honors U.S. military servicemen and women, law enforcement personnel and first responders.

“Greg and I are heartbroken by the loss of our dear friend John Stross,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi. “His volunteerism within the Tampa Bay Area, and his selflessness toward personal causes and crusades, has touched so many lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.