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The Independent looks to branch out

in The Bay and the 'Burg by
Owners of a proposed German-style deli and tavern won initial approval from the city council Thursday to sell beer and wine. A final vote is scheduled Feb. 5. Veronica and John Vellines have a contract to buy a 1935 masonry building, 5016 N. Florida Ave., from owner James Ciaccio, pending final approval of alcohol sales. Ciaccio remodeled the former gas station several years ago and opened Van Gogh Signs Displays and Graphics. The tavern would be similar to The Independent in St. Petersburg, also owned by the Vellines. It would seat about 40 people inside and 18 outside, and serve mostly Belgian and German drafts and imported and micro brews in the bottle. Veronica Vellines said July would be the earliest date for opening in Seminole Heights. The couple likely will also call this tavern The Independent.

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.

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