Foodie Photoshoot / St. Pete Lunchpool Takeover Recap

Lunchpool + Carlos Eats Foodie Tour Downtown St. Pete

I joined forces with a new food startup called Lunchpool on Sunday, May 19th for a Foodie Photoshoot / St. Pete Lunchpool Takeover. The idea was to eat our way through a section of Downtown St. Petersburg and connect people over food while trying some new places or outposts of businesses I have seen around Tampa.

Food has always been a passion of mine and a huge part of my life and this was another new avenue where food can make a difference.

The event was sponsored by Carlos Eats and also Rising Tide Innovation Center, a cowork space located in Downtown St. Pete that works to connect like-minded collaborators.

We made several stops throughout the day at popular restaurants, cafes, and shops in Downtown St. Pete. Some of them I was familiar with, but many of them I had never heard of as a citizen of Tampa across the bridge.

What I found is that there are plenty of awesome spots just waiting for people from Tampa to try. We cross the bridge for Rays games, Rowdies games, concerts at Jannus, and for First Friday. These are spots we should know and so I want to share them with you.

Stop No. 1: Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails

I love coffee and Intermezzo has to have one of the most beautiful shops I have seen in the Tampa Bay area. The espresso pours are excellent, the staff is friendly, and it is conveniently located next to plenty of restaurants on Central Avenue.

During this visit with Lunchpool I also tried the matcha for the first time through a friend and it was obvious that Intermezzo does its best to provide a quality product to all its customers. They have cocktails for those looking for a chill venue in the evenings after a long day working on your laptop.

1111 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33705. (727) 873-6664. http://intermezzo.co/

Stop No. 2: Ford’s Garage:

Ford’s Garage has exploded in growth as a franchise in recent years. I still remember the first location in Brandon and how crazy packed it gets compared to its predecessor. Ford’s Garage has a wide-variety of burgers on the menu and an option to build your own as well.

We mainly shared appetizers and one thing that was surprising was how good the wings were. If you love craft beer, Ford’s Garage also has a very expansive beer menu with tons of local options which is how it should be everywhere in this town.

200 1st Ave S., St. Petersburg, FL 33701. (727) 295-3673. http://www.fordsgarageusa.com/locations/st-pete/

Stop No. 3: Pacific Counter

Poke has been absolutely on-fire in Tampa and across the bridge it is also taking hold of St. Petersburg. What I really like about Pacific Counter is the different options for their poke bowls and sushi burritos, but also the atmosphere which has a surfer ambiance.

So many places across the bridge fail to make an ambiance that is enjoyable and I notice St. Pete is especially good at this. During a second recent visit on another food tour I had the noodles and salmon and it was excellent. Also: try the Dole whip ice cream. It’s excellent and perfectly refreshing in this horribly hot weather.

660 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. (727) 440-7008. http://pacificcounter.com/

Stop No. 4: Fabrica Pizza

This spot originally from across the bridge in Channelside has long been a favorite of mine and is on my Top 7 Pizza List. The owners hail from Italy and they do everything they can to put a quality experience into their product.

I love almost all their pies, but my sinful favorite is their Nutella Pizza which is something you have to treat yourself to after a long week of work! Their wines are actually also imported from their own vineyard in Italy if I’m not mistaken. The Downtown St. Pete location is just as beautiful inside as the Tampa spot.

101 7th St S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. (727) 290-9643 http://www.fabricapizza.com

Stop No. 5: The Hyppo / Swah-Rey

Dessert was a fun-filled affair with Lunchpool. From the torch-roasted cakes at Swah-Rey to snapping photos of popsicles at The Hyppo, we were having a blast. I actually needed a coffee to keep myself going so I grabbed an espresso shot at Swah-Rey and it was quite enjoyable. The staff was super friendly as well.

Swah-Rey 625: 625 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. (727) 767-0527.

The Hyppo: 627 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. (727) 498-6536. http://www.thehyppo.com/

Stop No. 6: The Canopy at Birchwood  

After a long day of walking, making new friends, and seeing so many things that St. Pete had to offer, we ended up at The Canopy at Birchwood, a rooftop bar in Downtown St. Pete that overlooks The Vinoy and the upcoming St. Pete Pier. The views from The Canopy are great and our server was a delight. The Canopy is the perfect way to end any day in Downtown St. Pete and it is probably one of my favorite places in the neighborhood.

340 Beach Dr. NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. (727) 896-1080. http://www.thebirchwood.com/thecanopy

It was a great day in Downtown St. Pete and I had a blast with the Lunchpool crew. Lunchpool is working to change the world through food. You can find out more about them at letslunchpool.com.

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Lunchpool app helps coworkers connect and network for lunch

Alexander Abell came up with a novel idea for Startup Weekend in Tampa that propelled him and his associates into the startup ecosystem.

The app is called lunchpool and the goal is to “take back the lunch break” and make users more productive and connected through a healthier, happier, and more fun work environment.

The concept is simple: take out the lunchpool app and search for a coworker who has common interests and make a plan to have lunch with them.

Users will mark themselves as DTL (Down to Lunch) to show they are available for lunch. Interests can range from food preferences, dietary restrictions, television or movie preferences…to name a few.

Now you can finally find that coworker that watches Game of Thrones and talk all about it at lunch without someone staring at you lost and clueless.

Once you connect with someone you can become “lunch buddies” and put them in your network or shortlist for repeat lunch plans. The app also allows you to setup meeting insurance and require a deposit before lunch. If the person does not show up, the money will be donated to a mental health charity.

Some goals for corporations and HR departments that lunchpool seeks to solve include:

  • breaking silos and fostering inclusion and diversity
  • improving on-boarding speed and efficiency
  • supporting internal innovation by connecting workers
  • increasing employee happiness to boost productivity
  • increasing retention and lowering turnover-rates

Lunchpool will integrate with Google Calendar, Apple iCloud, and Microsoft Outlook to ensure your plans are communicated well.

The app will first focus on corporate networking and offer branded networks in a Business-to-Business (B2B) focus. Abell says the eventual goal of the app is to connect the public for lunch in a later stage of development.

What options will be available to diners? Lunchpool will recommend restaurants nearby to eat at with a focus on quality restaurants that can handle lunch crowds first.

Abell envisions lunchpool offering a special priority line in the future for users and discounts for repeat and loyal customers. The possibilities to integrate into the food industry are numerous.

Lunchpool has not had its first seed funding round yet, but plans to seek funding once the app has been introduced into corporations and begins to see user adoption. Currently the app is in beta and accepting requests for testing.

The potential to change the way people interact is there. Abell noted that today’s working population is more reclusive largely due to smartphones and the internet and tends to have a more difficult time conversing with people they may not know. This is especially true for millennials and younger generations. Lunchpool can change that.

Most people recognize that networking is the key to success in your career and business and lunchpool has the opportunity to help break down a wall and help people connect and be successful.

Here are some statistics about networking from HubSpot:

  • 85% of available positions are filled through networking
  • 1 out of every 4 people fail to network at all
  • 9 out of 10 people say small meetings are a preferred method of communication
  • 100% of people say face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships

Clearly there is a big need for an app like lunchpool. Plus – who wants to dine alone?

For more information about lunchpool visit them online at www.letslunchpool.com

Find lunchpool on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/letslunchpool/

Follow lunchpool on Instagram at: http://www.instagram.com/letslunchpool/