Wine Dine and Play: Z Grille Closes

Z Grille Closes

All Good Things.....
St. Petersburg, Florida
This article was written on July 4, 2017
By Sean Overpeck (CFE)
**A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:

Zgrille interview from 2016

It is a sad day in the St. Petersburg, Florida restaurant scene as an iconic name-stay comes to an end. It is the "Last Fiesta," as Chef Zack Gross closes his doors to Z Grille and he and his wife plan to move back to California. The restaurant has been open since 2005, and Chef Zack was a James Beard contender in 2009. His restaurant was an amazing twist on New American cuisine with an eclectic hint of Southern flare. The DR. Pepper glazed spareribs would melt in your mouth and make you lick your fingers until the skin was gone. The deviled eggs were a perfect treat especially the avocado, and then there were the Brussel sprouts. If you were not a fan of that vegetable, you would be after Chef Zack worked his magic. 
Picture courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times
It is also a bitter sorrow as this was one of my wife and I's favorite restaurants in downtown St. Pete, and we enjoyed it so much that we had Chef Zack cater our wedding in December 2016. With all of our events and all the food we had to offer, everyone who came, no matter if they lived locally or in California said that the ribs were the absolute best. 

DR Pepper Ribs
"We have come along way in the past ten years," says Chef Zack, but all things good or bad and unfortunately the good like Zgrille you never want to see go, but it happens. He went to the California Culinary Academy in San Diego back in 2000, becoming a chef, then later moving to St. Petersburg in 2003. He and his wife Jennifer opened the First Zgrille in 2005, then changed to its current location at Second Street and First Avenue in 2008. When I asked about his future goals back in a 2016 interview, the answer was to "simply be financially successful, raise their daughter and not get divorced."

Unfortunately, with the construction downtown, the raising of rates at the building location, which had been up for sale since last summer, and other factors, it made it impossible. From his recent interview with the Tampa Bay Times reporter Laura Reiley, he said "There's a ton of mediocre things going in and a tremendous amount of money had by people with no real skills. It's like I'm the f---ing (Tampa Bay) Rays. I can't compete with these people."

Deviled Eggs
Chef Zack had passion, energy, and a creative mind. It was always a joy to walk into his restaurant and enjoy a meal. I wish him and his family great success in their move to California and future endeavors. Keep your local St Pete fans abreast of what you do next, and we will visit you. You will be missed...

Shrimp and Grits with egg

The Last Fiesta

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Z Grille was here
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Laid-back dockside spot for global eats
Colonial Portuguese Fusion

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary

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“Culinary perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, 
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-Angelique Arnauld (1591-1661)

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