A paradise of art deco design and freshly roasted coffee awaits the public in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, at Paradeco Coffee Roasters. The roastery cafe was transformed from vision into reality by Paradeco Founders Thomas Maloney and Sonya Sarkar over the course of more than a year.
The roughly 1,700-square-foot shop opened late last month with a Bellwether machine turning out fresh roasts, top-shelf brewing and espresso equipment behind the bar, art deco-inspired curves and bedazzling touches aplenty.
More than 180 plants live on a green wall suspended over the shop’s custom pink and gold arched bench. Sarkar, formerly a global buyer and product development manager for Fortune 500 retailers specializing in home decor for over seven years, told Daily Coffee News that the natural blue and mint green calcite stone for the bar surface was imported from Brazil for its natural and distinctive match with Paradeco’s colors.
“From the beginning, we knew that we wanted to create a space and brand that is truly unique. We didn’t just want to be a ‘coffee shop’; we wanted to be a destination and a lifestyle,” said Sarkar. “After analyzing our competitive landscape and the industry in general, most coffee shops and cafe’s are industrial, dark, very minimalistic or very eclectic and grungy. We wanted to be the complete opposite: bright, fun, tropical and maximalist.”
The bar’s Ground Control brewing system was customized for the cafe by the manufacturer, and the La Marzocco KB90 espresso machine was customized by New York-based custom and vintage espresso machine design and restoration company Liemco.
“My job prior to this was to always be on top of the latest interior design trends, which is where my love of neo art deco came from,” said Sarkar. “We were influenced by Spanish design agency Masquespacio, who does art deco like no other. Our love for European architecture, specifically Italy, is also seen throughout our interior design with the arches and curves.”
While beauty is but skin deep, Paradeco Director of Operations Chris Vinai brings over a decade of experience in specialty coffee shop logistics and service to ensure the new shop and coffee program runs as well as it looks.
Through a prominently displayed Bellwether roaster, Paradeco sends beans from importers such as Yellow Rooster Coffee Imports or other channels.
“We look for traceable coffees, micro lots and woman-owned farms, all ethically sourced,” Sarkar said of the company’s green coffee curation. “We also look to find coffees moved in unique ways, like by plane within 3 days of milling, or by sailboat. Everything we purchase needs to be different, even via the roast.”
A health-focused food menu is designed to complement the coffee with colorful and fresh fare.
“Both of us have always lived a very healthy lifestyle and are passionate about all things health and wellness,” said Sarkar. “We knew from day one that we wanted to serve food that makes your body and mind feel good.”
Sarkar said that the painstaking emphasis on design and experience has paid off thus far, as positive word-of-mouth has traveled to new guests.
“We are lucky to be very busy right from the day we opened with almost zero paid advertising,” said Sarkar. “Our e-commerce site is going live soon as well, so we are hoping to sell our bagged whole bean coffee and merch nationally and globally.”
Paradeco Coffee Roasters is open now at 111 2nd Avenue Northeast in downtown St. Pete.
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Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.