Flocale, the culinary blend that brought together two beloved Tampa establishments, King of the Coop and Westshore Pizza in Seminole Heights, has ceased its operations.
Joe Dodd, the proprietor of King of the Coop, and Travis Masters, a former CEO of Westshore Pizza turned franchisee, have officially confirmed the closure to the Tampa Bay Business Journal on Monday.
Dodd has outlined his plans to establish a new King of the Coop venue within Ybor City’s Cigar City Cider and Mead by November 8. Meanwhile, Masters is currently in discussions with Westshore Pizza’s founder, Bob Vasaturo, and the proprietors of the Flocale location. His aim is to relaunch the restaurant exclusively as a Westshore Pizza, although the specifics have yet to be finalized.
The 8,000-square-foot restaurant, located at 5910 N. Florida Ave., is under the ownership of a partnership that includes Greg and Michelle Baker, the couple previously responsible for operating The Refinery at that location. Michelle Baker refrained from providing any comments when approached on Monday.
Flocale made its debut on North Florida Avenue in late 2021.
According to separate interviews with Dodd and Masters, the closure of Flocale was primarily attributed to escalating food costs. Dodd mentioned that there were 30 employees, with two set to accompany him to the Ybor location. Masters explained that the remaining employees will be required to interview for their positions if the prospect of Westshore Pizza establishing itself at the North Florida Avenue site materializes.
“It was a financial decision,” Dodd told the Business Journal. “Summer was brutal. Food costs were brutal. We started making changes in October, and they were going great, but the financial side didn’t turn.”
Westshore Pizza has lower food costs by the nature of its business, Masters said. Pizza makes up 60% of the chain’s sales; of those pizza orders, 80% are cheese pizzas, he said.
“Pizza’s food costs are much less expensive than a protein-based business,” Masters said. “Proteins are expensive. The two concepts have completely different economics.”