The Mill Restaurant
St. Petersburg, FL, USA
A Restaurant in St. Petersburg, Florida, has Interiors Designed by a Restorer of the Sistine ChapelIt is easy to gloss over The Mill Restaurant in St. Petersburg as just another cool culinary kid on the block with fresher-than-farm cuisine, until you peer closer.
The Industrial-era inspired decor, with vibrant gear murals, burlap chandeliers, waterwheel wine rack and even the cool bathtub sink in the ladies room that originally belonged to a brothel (it made me feel very much like a scene from the Scarlet Letter, washing my hands at that sink), makes this place feel like a mini museum.
The installation at the back of the restaurant, a colorful collage of rusted gears, pipes, wheels and pipes, along with nods to cereal and grain, is the masterwork of Istvan Torok, a St. Petersburg, Florida native, who also helped restore The Sistine Chapel in Rome.
Torok designed much of the restaurant’s interiors, and wanted to bring a sense of Old Americana into the space, including the two-layer stucco walls. He mingled wood, metal and drywall textures into an aesthetically-appealing ambiance.
“When I met co-owner Jason Griffith, he wanted to invoke something contemporary with an industrial vibe,” says Torok. And with details like farming equipment, pipes and burlap chandeliers (these were done by Amanda McMahon), The Mill is more than your average dining experience.
The food too, with its rustic Americana and French Creole twist, surprises with each fresh bite. The crispy pumpkin gnocchi, with rosemary mascarpone, pomegranate seeds and crispy kale is an Italian staple with a farm-fresh spin; the cider-braised mussels give seafood an element of surprise, and the cocktails too merit seconds.
Torok completed the work for The Mill, which opened in 2015, in two months. If you dine there though, expect your memories to last a lifetime.