St. Pete's Manhattan Casino to become restaurant

- It is one of the centerpieces of St. Pete’s African American community, and it has sat vacant for too long.

A new restaurant will be opening inside the historic Manhattan Casino, and it’s all thanks to the help of NFL star Vincent Jackson.

“It’s been a labor of love,” Jackson said.

The city has selected Callaloo – as the restaurant to open in the building which features a Cuban cuisine to open here next fall.

During the days of segregation artists like Duke Ellington and BB King played at the casino, when they weren’t allowed elsewhere.

Sadly, this building has seen business after business – fail at the site.  While the city is hoping Callaloo will break that pattern, not everyone in the community is excited over a Cuban themed restaurant.

Theresa Lassiter wanted her nonprofit organization for single parents to be headquartered at the location.

“I don’t want a Cuban restaurant here,” Lsssiter said. “I don’t want anyone, that is not a resident, that has not been a native of St. Petersburg, Florida taking on our heritage.”

Jackson who is pouring a ton of money into the project says he’ll be working very hard to make sure his restaurant pays respect to the community’s African American heritage.

“We are here to work with them,” Jackson said.   “Change is never easy for anyone.”

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