ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — After a series of setbacks and some rough luck, The Helm on St. Pete Beach is set to open February 22.
What You Need To Know
- Michael and Heidi Butler decided to open their own restaurant after Michael lost his job in the hotel industry at the start of the pandemic
- After delays, it was set to open in January, but a car crashed into the building
- The Helm will now open Feb. 22
- More Pinellas County headlines
Owners Michael and Heidi Butler decided to open their own restaurant after Michael lost his job in the hotel industry at the start of the pandemic. The couple sold their home and used that money to design their own restaurant concept and create The Helm.
Michael and Heidi met more than 30 years ago while working in the same restaurant.
Michael was a chef and Heidi a bartender. The two got married soon after and spent their careers in restaurants and hospitality. When Michael lost his job in 2020 they took it as a sign to follow their dream and open up their own place.
Originally, The Helm was slated to open before Thanksgiving. Rising lumber prices, supply chain issues, and delays in getting contractors forced them to push off their opening day until January.
“I think the hardest thing is just to try and stay positive,” Heidi said.
On January 6, one week before their scheduled opening, a white Mercedes came crashing through their wall and into the dining room after the driver lost control.
A week before ‘The Helm’, a new restaurant in St. Pete Beach, was set to open… a car came crashing through their wall. The owner had lost his job in 2020 and he and his wife decided to sell their home to pay for the restaurant, making this a heartbreaking setback @BN9 pic.twitter.com/EqxVM5bidg
— Angie Angers (@angie_angers) February 16, 2022
“You can’t even describe it. It was a very emotional day for both of us,” Michael said.
The accident meant another delay and financial hit. The two worked to reorder materials and get contractors in place quickly to try to repair the wall and lessen the blow that eight months of paying rent with no income created.
The Helm is now set to open February 22, a dream that’s been a long time coming for the Butlers.
“When it’s actually about to happen, we’re like, ‘Holy cow this is actually going to happen. We’re going to have our own restaurant,'” Heidi said
They plan to use The Helm for charitable work in the St. Pete Beach community once they get up and running. Click here to learn more about it and view the menu.