With a new St. Petersburg Pier district under construction along 2nd Avenue NE in downtown St. Petersburg, Mayor Rick Kriseman has chosen an anchor restaurant tenant. In a memo to the St. Petersburg City Council sent last week, Kriseman gave his support to Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille to fill a 10,000 square foot space in the Pelican Lot portion of the new pier. 

The restaurant is named for Doc Ford, a character in Randy Wayne White's mystery novel series. In White's books, Ford is a marine biologist and former NSA agent who lives and works on the west coast of Florida. White is a co-investor in Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille, with one location on Sanibel Island, another on Captiva Island, and a third on Fort Myers Beach. All three feature indoor/outdoor seating and live music, as would the proposed restaurant on the St. Pete Pier.

In his memo to the City Council, Kriseman said he believes "a Doc Ford's at the St. Pete Pier will further elevate and diversify St. Pete's restaurant scene and provide our downtown with family-friendly dining." Kriseman also said he selected the Doc Ford's group for their history of charitable giving and their commitment to their local communities. In addition, he pitched the possibility of using the Doc Ford character to help introduce marine exhibits in the pier's new education center and "wet classroom."

Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille offers an array of seafood dishes, including their signature Yucatan shrimp, deep water mahi-mahi, panko crusted grouper, banana leaf snapper, and a full raw bar with oysters, shrimp, and ceviche. You can also choose from seafood tacos, sandwiches, salads, and non-seafood dishes like their roasted half-chicken with Cuban chimichurri sauce. 

Kriseman's staff is now at work drawing up a contract to present to the City Council, but the council must approve the final selection. The completed draft contract is expected to be reviewed and acted on this spring. The new St. Petersburg Pier is currently under construction, with an anticipated opening next year.

You can't visit the new St. Petersburg Pier yet, but for other places to eat and things to do with the family in Pinellas County, check out 727area.com. Don't forget to sign up for free email updates!

Photo from Doc Ford's Sanibel Island page on 239area.com.