Owned and operated by 2BHospitality (Robert Sanderson, Dyce Craig) in St. Petersburg, Fla., Stillwaters Tavern is a modern American eatery designed and built by Robert Reid Architects, TWT Construction and T2theS Design + Build that features a menu by Executive Chef Jeffrey Jew.
Stillwaters represents a growing group of new age gastro-pubs that focuses on cocktails, craft beers and local food that continue to pop up across the nation. The 4,600-square-foot, 260-seat restaurant features a subtle nautical theme with 15-foot ceilings and an open display kitchen designed by Chef Jew.
rd+d: What was the inspiration for the design of the new restaurant?
LK: The inspiration was to create a local gathering place where friends and family go to enjoy beer, spirits, wine and their favorite comfort foods with a modern twist. We wanted the building to feel like it was an old factory that we took over and repurposed. The objective was to create a modern dining experience with an industrial feel. A huge lam beam that runs the length of the building on the open, exposed ceiling cuts through the dining room and separates the bar and dining area. The concrete floor is still adorned with construction markings and forklift tire marks.
rd+d: How does the design coincide with the menu?
LK: We look at the concept as a modern American tavern: classic American dishes blend harmoniously with Old World flavors. The decor is modern, edgy and eclectic, but more importantly warm, comfortable and inviting. Super high-back booths provide privacy and intimate conversation with friends. The menu highlights items from both land and sea, with a focus on bringing unique flavors from the kitchen to your table. We look to our exceptional collaboration with local artisans, farmers and foragers to serve the best seasonal and locally produced dairy, vegetables, grains, seafood and shellfish. We wanted the guest to have several focal points, including the open-display kitchen and the large bar area. The open kitchen design and the strategic placement of the bar add a ton of energy into the dining room. From the dining room, you can see all the action in the kitchen and smell the flavors of the smoker. You can also see all the action from the bar area through a huge rectangular mirror placed high on the back bar wall.
rd+d: What are some other key design highlights?
LK: Each of our Florida cypress wood tables is branded with nautical coordinates and an indigo iron cap. Edison bulbs dangle from thick marine rope above the dining room, lighting up the space. We have a one-off beer tap system I helped to design. The finished restaurant is rich with details: black and indigo button–tufted banquettes, USB ports for charging cell phones located in every booth and under every barstool. The restroom and office doors are over 100 years old — salvaged thick tiger oak from the old Tampa courthouse, with the original frosted glass and original hand-painted room numbers. The 20 rotating beers, 4 wines and 2 cocktails on tap flow through massive black industrial pipes. Stillwaters’ hogfish mascot, hand painted by Vitale Brothers, is prominently displayed on the dining room’s south white brick wall.