Chef Tom Golden started his culinary career while still in high school and a suds buster and line cook at Jimmy Mac’s Hyde Park in Tampa. By the time he graduated, he had advanced through the ranks to become General Manager at age 18.
College called and Tom headed off to USF where he majored in history, education and keg parties.
Working full time at Gianni’s Italian Restaurant and carrying a full class load was challenging. Eventually, Tom decided the restaurant business was where he belonged.
Joining the management team at Gianni’s, Tom help grow the company from the original store in Tampa to five stores throughout the Southeast before they were acquired by Apple South.
Not one for the corporate life, Chef Golden took a bit of a hiatus before returning to the kitchen to apprentice with Chef Jeanne Pierola at Boca in Ybor City. Additionally, during this time he work periodically with Chef Marty Blitz from Mise en Place.
1997 found Tom opening a restaurant of his own, Blue Gardenia in Safety Harbor, Florida. In its first year, Blue Gardenia won the Golden Spoon Award as one of the top new restaurants in Florida. Quickly outgrowing its small storefront, Blue Gardenia was transplanted to South Tampa where it doubled in size and reputation. During this time, Tom won the best chef in Tampa Bay competition.
Despite the success of Blue Gardenia, Tom soon was itching for something new and different. The Rack, Tampa’s only Pool Hall Sushi Bar was born in 2002 in the building that had been Blue Gardenia.
The Rack started slow but soon became the go to spot for great drinks, eclectic bar food, superior sushi and the best pool tables in town.
A decade of good times passed quickly and in 2012 Tom stepped away from The Rack to spend more time with his family.
Now living in St. Petersburg, Tom was witnessing the rebirth and revitalization of the downtown district and knew it was time to throw his hat in the ring one more time.
The Lure, Tikis, Tapas, Billiards and Cold Dead Fish opened in January 2016 and was welcomed immediately into the vibrant downtown restaurant scene. The Lure is the culmination of all of Tom’s experience and ideas of how a restaurant should be.