A new, Florida-inspired, marina-front restaurant slated for the Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club has broken ground. But the origins of the downtown St. Pete dining spot, expected to open in winter 2017, are particularly interesting.
Known as Paul’s Landing, the restaurant is a partnership between 3 Daughters Brewing and the upscale resort, who joined forces to create a collaboration beer — a citrusy American Wheat — of the same name in 2014. The Vinoy’s latest project also serves as a way to honor St. Pete history, in that the restaurant speaks to the story of the original Paul’s Landing.
“We are thrilled to participate in the opening of this waterfront restaurant with a craft beer that celebrates the story of Paul’s Landing,” said 3 Daughters CEO Mike Harting in a statement. “In addition to paying tribute to the city’s history, we are beyond proud to partner with this landmark hotel on their newest venture.”
More than 150 years ago, according to a news release, a guy named William Paul arrived with U.S. Navy surveyors in the spot where the Vinoy now sits. Paul, a carpenter, began construction on the site, building temporary barracks and the city’s first known pier. He and the team dined on everything from fresh-caught grouper and grilled oysters to smoked mullet and quail. But Paul, who dreamed of an orange grove, had another idea once the settlement’s plans fell through. Returning later with his family, Paul brought along 50 orange tree seedings and ultimately called the spot Paul’s Landing.
On its chef-driven menu from Mark Heimann, director of restaurant operations for the Vinoy, the new restaurant is set to serve up dishes featuring the products those settlers chowed down on way back when.
Diners can expect local seafood (think grouper, Two Docks clams and stone crab), globally inspired ingredients and classic Florida flavors. Think orange wood-smoked fish spread, Southern fish stew made with the day’s catch and cheesecake with orange and caramel sauce.
According to Heimann, creating the bill of fare was a passion project.
“It was exciting to play with various ways of paying tribute to the land’s history while incorporating the different flavors that are representative of Florida and the original Paul’s Landing,” he said.
With indoor and outdoor seating for 200, the restaurant, whose setting is described as “easygoing elegance,” will offer views of the Vinoy Marina, resort pool and Beach Drive. Other features will include outdoor fire pits, bar seats and a vibrant, contemporary interior.
The Paul’s Landing groundbreaking kicks off the second phase of the resort’s multiyear renovation and redevelopment.
There’s no word yet on whether the plans will finally include a swim-up bar.
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