When Ybor City business La Segunda Bakery announced in early July that it would open a café in St. Petersburg and serve its Cuban bread, flaky guava pastries, hearty Cuban sandwiches, and fresh-roasted coffees, the online reaction was swift.
“Yahoo!!!,” Lisa Richardson-Nugent commented on La Segunda’s Facebook page. “Best news ever!”
“Congratulations!” Mike Fitzgerald said under the same post. “World domination is in your future.”
The response was appropriate. It isn’t every day a 106-year-old Tampa icon jumps across the bay. The expansion is one of several moves that fourth-generation family owner Copeland More has made in the past decade to adapt to modern customer appetites.
Expected to open in late 2021, the new bakery and café at 2436 4th St. N., on the corner of 25th Avenue and 4th Street, will be the company’s third location, with 80 seats split between indoor dining room and outdoor patio.
The St. Petersburg café will be more oriented to grab-and-go orders, delivery, and catering, unlike the company’s first café, which opened on Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa in 2018 with a larger dining room and coffee bar. St. Pete will join the Kennedy Boulevard and Ybor flagship in offering delivery though DoorDash.
A new website and online ordering experience is in the works. Delivery customers will still order through the La Segunda website, with DoorDash transporting the food.
“We learned a lot from the Kennedy opening,” More said.
The St. Petersburg location will have the same menu as the Kennedy Location, which focuses on breakfast items, bakery goodies, sandwiches, salads, and coffees. There is an abundance of restaurants in that stretch of 4th Street, but not many offering sandwiches and almost none that are locally based.
“When we were looking at that area and going to restaurants there, it seemed people were coming in, grabbing, and leaving,” More said. “It was all digital and fast-paced. We’re going to tailor it to that customer specifically.”
What won’t change are the flavors. The trademark crusty-yet-tender Cuban bread with the palmetto leaf split in the top that takes eight to 10 hours to create. The Naviera coffees roasted in Tampa. Squares of pillowy scacciata baked with sauce and cheese on top. Guava and cheese turnovers full of delicate pastry layers and sweet, creamy goodness.
“A lot of people don’t realize that the food indigenous to Ybor City is really our brand and our flavor,” More says.
“The No. 1 complaint on Yelp is, ‘I came to your bakery and it’s not a Cuban bakery. This is not how they are in Miami,’” he says. “That’s exactly right. We’re not a Cuban bakery. We’re an Ybor City bakery.
The most important thing in building the St. Pete café is “to communicate Ybor.” That’s why you’ll see the red brick walls and the wrought iron in the decor, says interior designer Ginger Shaw. That includes using the globe lighting and directional street signs similar to what you’ll see above sidewalks on Seventh Avenue.
Visually, it helps customers who have never been to Ybor City understand its legacy and flavors. That makes it easier to explain the food and why the bakery differs from a Miami Cuban-style bakery and all the other bakeries we compete with.
“It’s what sets us apart,” More says. “We’re excited to bring that to St. Pete.”