Award-winning chef to bring upscale market to Sundial

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James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Mina is the newest high-profile tenant entering SUNDIAL, St. Petersburg’s 71,000 square foot upscale retail, dining and entertainment development.

Mina, along with chef and author Don Pintabona, is developing the Locale Market, a unique 20,000 square foot restaurant and marketplace, scheduled to open in SUNDIAL sometime in fall 2014.

Modeled after the great markets of Europe, Locale will “balance the artful world of creative inspiration with grounded products for everyday needs,” according to a statement.  The location will feature fresh, hand-selected ingredients — fresh from the farm and straight from the boat — as well as artisan products, all of which will be “thoughtfully sourced.”

Locale will also provide a full service delicatessen, wine bar, coffee bar and bakery with items prepared daily. Sharing the space will be Farmtable Kitchen, a full-service restaurant, designed for those who want to enjoy the selection of the Market in a restaurant setting, intended for locals and tourists alike. Farmtable will offer a seasonally inspired menu, and a casual farm-to-table feel, combining a touch of Mina’s California roots, alongside Pintabona’s Italian essence.

“Recently named Top 52 Best Places in the World to Visit in 2014 by the New York Times, downtown St. Petersburg is a destination,” said SUNDIAL owner and developer Bill Edwards.  “Thousands of people live, study, work and visit here – and more are on the way.”

“St. Petersburg needs a market like Locale,” he added. “We’ve got nothing like it.”

Mina heads the Mina Group Inc., a San Francisco-based restaurant management company specializing in upscale, innovative restaurant concepts.  Among his accolades, Mina is a James Beard Foundation “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage” inductee, Bon Appétit Chef of the Year, Food Arts Silver Spoon Award Winner, San Francisco Magazine Chef of the Year, and International Food and Beverage Forum’s Restaurateur of the Year.

SUNDIAL joins 20 restaurants Mina Group currently operates, including Michael Mina (Esquire Magazine’s Restaurant of the Year 2011); RN74, Bourbon Steak and Clock Bar in San Francisco; Bourbon Steak And Michael Mina 74 in Miami’s Fontainebleau, and The Handle Bar at Four Seasons in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

“It’s always great to partner with someone who is not only a wonderful friend, but someone who is incredibly talented, like Don,” Mena said of his new SUNDIAL project. “We were inspired to marry Don’s New York edge with my California sensibilities; you’ll see this carried throughout all elements of the market from the design to the product to service.”

Mina’s partner Pintabona has enjoyed an illustrious career for more thirty years. Born a first-generation Italian in Oceanside, New York, he grew up surrounded by food, and spent his earliest years working at Grand Union Supermarket under his father’s tutelage and learned all aspects of the retail food business.

For Pintabona, coming to SUNDIAL represents somewhat of a homecoming. After graduating from the University of South Florida with a business degree, Pintabona drove a taxi to put himself through The Culinary Institute of America, where he graduated with honors. He has also worked with top chefs like Charlie Palmer and Daniel Boulud in New York, Georges Blanc in Vonnas, France, and Kiyomi Nishitani in Osaka, Japan.  Pintabona has been featured in publications including The New York Times, Gourmet, Bon Appetit, G.Q., Food & Wine and New York Magazine, among others. He has appeared in more than one hundred cooking segments on The Food Network, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, Good Morning America, and CBS Morning Show.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.