St. Petersburg’s Dr. BBQ has closed

st. Petersburg — Edge District barbecue restaurant Dr. BBQ has closed.

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

Lampe, the licensor of the Dr.BBQ name, confirmed it was shuttered on Friday morning in a podcast episode of local food blog St.Petersburg Foodies.

In August, Perry’s sold the 7,935-square-foot building that houses both Dr. BBQ and the rooftop tiki bar Burnt End to South Florida developer PTM Partners for $4.5 million. Mixed use development Edge Collective.

Dr. BBQ was open until Thursday night, the last day of the restaurant. Another tenant will run a new business in the space over the next 18 months, Suzanne Perry said.

Perry called the decision to close “heartbreaking.”

“We loved that restaurant,” she said. “I was proud of the restaurant. We worked hard on it.”

Perry said the rapid changes in downtown St. Petersburg, especially in the EDGE district, decided to sell the restaurant. She also said the lack of parking spaces available to restaurant customers has made it difficult to manage.

“It was pretty simple. Someone called us and said they really wanted that property in the worst way in the world,” Perry said. “This was just a real estate transaction. In that corridor of development, in this particular day, time and economy, it was the right business decision. To be honest, it was the only one.”

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

Our partnership and friendship with Barbecue Hall of Famers Mr. and Mrs. Perry goes back several years to the restaurant’s launch. As part of the deal, Lamp signed her five-year license agreement with Perry to use Dr. BBQ’s name. The national barbecue scene burgeoned when the restaurant opened, and the spot debuted with hype.

“It could have been a little bit ahead of its time,” said Perry. “But we cared about it, we loved it, we were passionate about it.”

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

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

The remaining restaurants in the Dazs Restaurant Group remain unchanged, Perry said.

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“In 2023 our goal is to return to Quality Service 101,” she said. “It’s been very difficult for so many people to leave the industry in the last few years.”

No word on what happens next in the EDGE district space. Emails to PTM Partners were not returned immediately.

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