Dr. BBQ in St. Petersburg is closed

British stone. St. Petersburg — EDGE District Grill Dr. BBQ is closed.

Opened in October 2018, the restaurant is a collaboration between celebrity pitmaster and St. Petersburg resident Ray Lampe, aka “Dr.” BBQ,” and Suzanne and Roger Perry, owners of Datz Restaurant Group.

Lampe, a licensor of the Dr. BBQ name, confirmed the closure Friday morning on a podcast with local food blog St. Petersburg Foodies.

In August, the Perries sold the 7,935-square-foot building that houses Dr. BBQ and rooftop tiki bar Burnt Ends to South Florida developer PTM Partners, the same group that developed the nearby Moxy Hotel, for $4.5 million. Part of the project is the mixed-use development Edge Collective.

Dr. BBQ is open until Thursday night, the restaurant’s last day. Another tenant will be running a new business in the space within the next 18 months, Suzanne Perry said.

Perry called the decision to close “heartbreaking.”

“We love that restaurant,” she said. “I’m very proud of that restaurant; we worked really hard for it.”

Perry said the rapidly changing landscape of downtown St. Petersburg, especially the EDGE district, influenced their decision to sell the restaurant. She also said the lack of parking spaces available to restaurant patrons had become unmanageable.

“It was simple: Someone called us and said they really wanted to buy that property in the worst way in the world,” Perry said. “It’s just a real estate deal. In that corridor of development, in this particular day, time, and economy — making the right business decision. Honestly, it’s the only decision.”

Perry also operates Datz restaurants in Tampa, St. Pete and Riverview, casual steakhouse Donovan’s Meatery in Riverview, and Dough in Tampa.

The partnership and friendship between the BBQ Hall of Famer and the Perry family dates back to the years before the restaurant opened. As part of the agreement, Lampe signed a five-year license agreement with Perrys to use the Dr. BBQ name. The national barbecue scene was thriving when the restaurant opened, and the venue launched to much fanfare, offering a variety of top-notch smoked meats, Southern-inspired comfort food with a creative twist, and a variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes.

“It’s probably a little ahead of its time,” Perry said. “But we care about it, love it, and are passionate about it.”

Burnt Ends Tiki Bar, a tiki-themed bar located above the Dr. BBQ space, is also closed.
Burnt Ends Tiki Bar, a tiki-themed bar located above the Dr. BBQ space, is also closed. [ Courtesy of Burnt Ends Tiki Bar ]

In early 2021, the group expanded and transformed the second-floor space into a tiki-themed cocktail bar, serving Polynesian snacks and tiki classics.

There are no changes to the rest of the Datz Restaurant Group restaurants, Perry said.

An Inside Look at Food and Drink in Tampa Bay

An Inside Look at Food and Drink in Tampa Bay

Subscribe to our free Taste newsletter

Get the restaurant and pub news, insights and reviews you crave every Thursday from food and dining critic Helen Freund.

You are all signed up!

Want to receive more of our free weekly newsletter in your inbox? let’s start.

explore all options

“By 2023, our aim is to restore premium service 101,” she said. “It’s been very difficult with so many people leaving the industry over the last few years.”

No word on what’s next for the EDGE District space. An email to PTM Partners was not immediately returned.