Documenting the Birth of the Sacred Pepper

By now, most of you know about the opening of the Sacred Pepper, the fantastic restaurant that Candy DeBartolo and the DeBartolo family conceptualized and opened recently in Carrollwood. The restaurant has gotten really wonderful reviews and I will tell you that they are well deserved.

Tampa, Florida. 4/21/2016. Overall of the front of Sacred Pepper. Photo by Bill Serne

What you might not know is that in late summer, early fall of 2015 I started a documentary process of photographing the transformation of an empty shell of a building, to the final creation of the Sacred Pepper. For everyone involved it was a labor of love. The creation of the restaurant, the dedication and drive and the true sense of artistry that everyone put into it was unique.  

Tampa, Florida. 9/11/2015. General Manager Chad Bash standing where the bar would eventually be, visualizes. Photo by Bill Serne

From the initial conceptions and ideas that Candy DeBartolo had and shared with local designer Enrique Crespo, to the scores of workers that put all the puzzle pieces together to create a special restaurant and dining experience. All were on the same page, which was to create something so different and so special for the Tampa Bay area.

I’ve seen a lot of Tampa Bay in my years as a photographer and I have to say that this was a special process and this is a special place.

Tampa, Florida. 4/11/2016.Overall of bar area at dusk. Photo by Bill Serne

Thank you for those who let me be a part of this project, with special thanks to Valerie Panou for giving me free reign with my photographs and creativity during the building process.

Tampa, Florida. 3/04/2016. Hanging lights over the entrance. Photos of the chandelier and the lights above the greeting area of the Sacred Pepper. Photo by Bill Serne

I hope you enjoy these photos and check out more of my work on their website at, but even more importantly, I hope you check out this stellar restaurant, soon.

4/14/16. One of the main dining areas.


This entry was posted in back story, Bill's favorites, Tampa history, timeless.

One Comment

  1. Jr June 30, 2016 at 11:35 am #


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