Lori Brown · Nov 12, 2016 · 2 min read
The Mill Restaurant became an instant phenomenon in Downtown St Pete since its opening in July 2015. They are so popular that on some nights they have wait times that can run hours long and the food is so good that people are willing to wait. They also have had to turn away large parties because the current space cannot support them, especially when they are so busy. However, that is not the service that they really want to provide. A few months ago, they acquired the space behind them and quickly began converting the new room to match the decor of the original restaurant using the inspiration of designer, Istvan Torok.
Torok was also the lead designer of the original space at The Mill. Originally from Transylvania, Romania, In 1998, Torok graduated from the renowned Academia De Arte Visuale "Ion Andreescu" located in his hometown. He has worked on many restoration projects in cathedrals and museums throughout Europe and also fortunate enough to have a few of the "real" Old Masters from Transylvania and Budapest as his mentors and teachers. He specializes in the Old Masters Technique but blends that with new ideas to create works of art. How lucky are we to have him creating those works of art in our fair city?
Torok told St Petersburg Foodies, "The theme for the restaurant (The Mill) was inspired by its name, when I had the first meeting with Jason and Chef Ted, they visited me at The Genius Central building in St Pete, where I was about to complete a large mural done in Sgraffito technique. Originally they were not very impressed when I was telling them my vision of a mural and how well it will define the character of the space, they just wanted to get rid of the one done in the previous restaurant ... but then, when they saw what I was doing at the Genius building, they completely left it up to me - " do whatever you want " 🙂 . Those were the magical words that I needed to really let my creativity fly. I am a perfectionist by nature and I love what I do. I take lots of pride in it. I set out to create a team that shares my values and each job we touch turns out to be nothing less than perfect every single time. I am originally from Transylvania, Europe. I have travelled the world, worked in many historic restoration sites across Europe and then I lived in Los Angeles before I settled in Tampa Bay. I fell in love with St Pete, the beaches, the quiet communities, the laid back people and livable distances (compared to CA) and the lifestyle. Sometimes I wonder - why would people live anywhere else ?!?"
The new back room space is expected to be completed and ready to go by Monday the 21st of November according to partner/owner, Jason Griffin. It will comfortably seat 62 people and when not occupied by reserved parties, it will serve as overflow that will cut the wait times down significantly and also allow for them to seat larger parties that they have had to turn away in the past.
Check out the gallery for pictures of the progress! Very exciting times at The Mill!
The Mill Restaurant in Downtown St. Pete - Rustic American with a Southern touch and a French Creole twist.