Chef Michael Lugo, the acclaimed chef behind several Northeast Florida restaurants, is opening two new concepts in the area.
Lugo will start by opening a new restaurant in the former home of Preserved at 102 Bridge Street, which closed down after owner Brian Whittington decided to focus on his other business, Chop Shop Artisan Butcher. James Whitehouse went before the St. Augustine Planning and Zoning Board representing Lugo and property owner Marie Milton and secured permission to sell beer and wine at the new restaurant, according to Jacksonville Business Journal.
While Preserved will have some big shoes to fill as one of the best restaurants in St. Augustine, Lugo has an impressive portfolio of restaurants, including Michael’s at 25 Cuna Street, which has been featured on The Food Network. There is no exact opening date for this new concept. In the application, the two are opening an “upscale restaurant on this property similar to the prior use with their own flair/re-design.”
Lugo has also been working on a new seafood restaurant located within The Hyatt Place in Vilano Beach called Pesca by Michael, offering globally inspired coastal cuisine with bold Latin flavors and fresh Florida ingredients. The restaurant, located at 117 Vilano Road, was first announced in early 2022 with a goal to open in the third quarter of 2022, but plans have been delayed. Pesca is now expected to open sometime this year, according to the restaurant’s website. The hotel is slated to open next month.
“Inspired by Miami’s Art Deco architecture, along with a rooftop bar and grill offering panoramic coastal views, Pesca by Michael’s brings a new and exciting culinary concept to Northeast Florida’s growing dining scene,” according to Pesca’s website. “Cocktails, brews, and a charming wine selection are available at our rooftop bar, along with a rooftop menu featuring small plates and daily seafood specials. Mingle with fellow guests and locals at our main floor restaurant, bar, and wine library. Join us for coffee or cocktails, then settle in for Chef Michel Lugo’s elevated globally inspired fare.”