According to owner Richard Wilson, Gigglewaters Social Club and Screening Room is set to open at 737 Main Street in downtown Safety Harbor later this summer.
The state of the downtown Safety Harbor business scene, or more specifically, how to breathe new life into it, has been a focal point for merchants groups, city officials, residents and business owners for the past several months.
The recent news that Bar Fly Saltwater Grill will be moving into to the old Crispers site at 100 Main Street was considered by many to be the first sign that significant change is coming to the downtown district.
But that isn’t the only big news to report in the Spring 2017 edition of the Safety Harbor Business Beat.
“Recently, the City has received numerous requests for information regarding vacant retail/office space in the downtown,” Safety Harbor’s Community Development Director, Marcie Stenmark, said via email.
“Many of the vacant retail/office spaces have new owners or tenants who are planning or starting renovations. Having active storefronts along Main Street helps contribute to the vibrancy of the downtown and it will be exciting to see these businesses open.”
Here’s a look at what’s going on in downtown Safety Harbor, including a trio of new concepts that if successful, could have a huge impact on the future of the district.
Gigglewaters Social Club & Screening Room
File this one under, ‘Why hasn’t anyone ever done this before?!’
Gigglewaters owners and recent Brooklyn transplants Rachel and Richard Wilson. (Credit: Richard Wilson.)
Brooklyn transplants Richard and Rachel Wilson, a pair of former TV executives, missed their old neighborhood so much, they decided to bring one of their favorite establishments from the hip New York City borough to their new home.
The couple plans to open Gigglewaters Social Club and Screening Room, a speakeasy-style restaurant and bar with a small theater in the back, at 737 Main Street later this summer.
“One of the things we’ve missed most about Brooklyn was an old cult classic movie theater we used to frequent that had amazing food and fun movie-themed activities,” Richie Wilson, who was a senior broadcast producer for the Howard Stern Show for 17 years, told Safety Harbor Connect via email.
“We missed it so much, we decided to open one here! And from that, Gigglewaters was born.”
According to Wilson, ‘giggle water’ is a prohibition term for alcohol, and he said his new establishment will have a decidedly ‘Roaring 20s’ vibe.
“Aesthetically, we want it to capture a 1920s speakeasy vibe, mixed with some Brooklyn industrial accents,” he wrote.
He added that Rachel, who was a TV host for both Howard TV and The Travel Channel, “really wanted to create an atmosphere where she would want to get cocktails on a girls night out, or have a cute date night, right here in Safety Harbor.”
Logo for Gigglewaters Supper Club and Screening Room. (Credit: Richard Wilson)
Regarding the food, Wilson said, “Our menu isn’t pretentious, it’s Americana kicked up a notch.”
“Over a dozen unique, delicious Waygu beef burgers, bacon-wrapped deep fried 1/4 pound hot dogs, and an amazing cocktail list.”
The overall concept sounds intriguing, but there’s no question the biggest draw for Gigglewaters could be the screening room.
“While Gigglewaters is first and foremost a restaurant & bar, we’re excited to serve our full dinner menu in the back, where we’ll have an intimate screening room showing classic movies while you dine, like Goodfellas, Breakfast Club, Pulp Fiction, Blues Brothers, The Big Lebowski, Fight Club, 16 Candles and more,” Wilson said.
“We’ll be offering a cocktail pairing with every film (the Ghostbuster’s green “Slimer Martini” is one of our faves) and serving some of the most amazing popcorn we’ve ever tried (the truffle is to die for!). We’ll also be adding a patio for outdoor dining.”
“So whether you want to come in for dinner, drinks, or your favorite movie, we’ll be thrilled to have you!”
Subscribe to the Connect Newsletter to receive updates on Gigglewaters new venture in Safety Harbor.
Sips Wine Bar
Sips Wine Bar owner Andrea Honan. (Credit: Andrea Honan.)
Andrea Honan is a longtime veteran of the hospitality and special event industry who has traveled all over the world.
So when she decided to leave the corporate world to pursue her dream of opening her own business—Sips Wine Bar, where patrons have the ability to sample and purchase a variety of vino—she knew exactly what kind of business she wanted to open, and exactly where she wanted to open it.
“This has been a passion of mine for a really long time,” Honan told Safety Harbor Connect this week as she was preparing to leave her gig as director of sales, marketing and events for Hyatt after 20 years.
“I’ve had the name in my head for a year and I never really did anything about it. But fate led me down this road.”
Sips Wine Bar will open at 327 Main Street later this summer, according to owner Andrea Honan.
Honan explained that Sips will utilize unique wine-dispensing and card-payment systems that help streamline and simplify the experience.
The business model is based on a concept that is becoming very popular in the hospitality industry but has yet to explode in the open market.
“We will serve beer and wine only, and we will have 40 wines on tap,” Honan said.
“We’ll have three different size pours—1 oz., 2 1/2 oz. and 5 oz.—and you will be able to purchase any of the 40 wines by the glass or the bottle.”
Honan said Sips will also offer cold hors d’oeuvres and other treats, such as chocolates, cheeses and charcuterie, that can be paired with the wine. Gifts will also be available for purchase.
Sips Wine Bar logo. (Credit: Andrea Honan.)
She said that she is excited to put her corporate career behind her next week and begin working her new business venture, which she hopes to open later this summer.
“I’ve always loved Safety Harbor,” Honan, who lives nearby off McMullen Booth Road, said. “It’s got such a great small town charm and community vibe. It’s always reminded me of where I grew up in Chicago.”
“I’m really looking forward to getting started and getting involved in this community.”
Subscribe to the Connect Newsletter to receive updates on Sips Wine Bar.
For those of you who have never heard of this concept before (author included!), don’t make the mistake of overthinking it; Pizza Cones is a fast-casual eatery that specializes in serving pizzas, complete with all the toppings, in a doughy, crust-like cone.
Pizza Cones is set to open at 500 Main Street, Suite C, later this month, according to owner Javier Hernandez.
“It’s pizza in the shape of a cone,” owner Javier Hernandez explained by phone in early April.
“The cone is made of pizza dough, and you can fill it same ingredients you would for pizza—meatballs, chicken, ham, cheese, veggies.”
Hernandez said Pizza Cones will feature other spherical treats, including dessert cones with fillings like Boston crème and Key lime, plus veggie cones as well as salads, “unique” French fries and cold beverages.
He said he hopes to open his shop by the end of April, and he believes the location, on the ground floor of 500 Main Street between the Chop Shop and Polished Salon, will prove to be an ideal spot for his customers.
“We think the location is perfect because our patrons will be able to order and sit inside or outside the shop, or take their food to go and walk down Main Street with it,” Hernandez said.
“We believe it’s going to be a big hit!”
Subscribe to the Connect Newsletter to receive updates on the progress of Pizza Cones opening.
Tonicity is reportedly coming to 324 Main St.
Tonicity, a spa and beauty care facility reportedly featuring several services, including Botox, an oxygen bar, laser hair removal and a hair and nail salon, could be coming to 324 Main, according to a sign in the window. Many Harborites will recall after the former Captain’s Pizza building changed hands, it was set to become a produce and fresh market. But the previous owners never got it off the ground and eventually sold the building, and it has been empty ever since. According to city officials, there have been discussions with the new property owners, but no building permit applications have been received to date. Stay tuned for future updates.
- Seersucker Sassy Boutique has taken over the former Edgewater and Main location at 801 Main Street. The shop, which opened earlier this month, features women’s clothing, jewelry, accessories, shoes, gifts and baby clothing. “It’s an updated seersucker fashion, featuring bright colors and breathable fabrics,” owner Jamie Prince said, adding her shop specializes in resort wear. “It’s fun. It’s Florida. It’s sassy!”
The Stuffed Mushroom is undergoing changes inside and out.
Longtime downtown staple the Stuffed Mushroom recently underwent a revamping, eliminating its takeout food service and adding a retail shop. “Catering is still our main business, but we never had enough room to really have people come and sit down and eat,” owner Betsy Byrd, who opened the business at 825 Main in 1998, said. “So we said, why not remodel the front of the shop to feature things that go with entertaining?” Byrd said she carries items such as salt and pepper mills, serving trays and sustainable products, plus gifts, greeting cards and other items. She is also redoing the front of the shop a bit in order to improve its curb appeal. “We’re redoing the signage and the awning,” she said, noting she received a facade grant from the city to help cover the work. “It’s been exciting to see all the changes downtown over the years, and we’re excited to be part of it!”
- Safety Harbor Realtors at Blake Real Estate have relocated their offices to 228 Main Street, in between Nolan’s Pub and Athens Restaurant.
- A new barbershop is coming to Main Street, as construction appears to be winding down at the former home of Bella Haven Nail Salon at 410 Main across from the Gazebo.
- A decision on the fate of the Safety Harbor Post Office is expected to come from the USPS soon, as we’re nearing the end of the 30-day open comment period. Should the Main Street branch relocate to the old Fifth Third bank building on McMullen Booth Road, as expected, another new and intriguing business could be coming to the iconic brick building at 303 Main. Stay tuned!
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