The pink and turquoise cafe in downtown St. Petersburg is internationally acclaimed.
Paradeco Coffee Roasters is one of four entries on the shortlist of America’s Best Designed Cafe in 2022, the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards announced Tuesday. The Restaurant and Bar Design Awards honor leading designs in the hospitality industry from around the world, including restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels and more.
The Floridian and Art Deco-inspired cafe competes against three other cafes, two in the United States – Tops Diner in East Newark and Windy in Chicago – and Bread + Bola in Mexico. Winners are expected to be announced the week of September 5.
Sonya Maloney, co-owner of Paradeco with her husband Thomas, said she kept tagging the awards agency on as many social media posts as she could, and one day someone contacted and told him to apply. This week she received the email announcing they were on the shortlist.
“It’s pretty amazing to be one of four places in the world on the list,” Maloney said. “We started blasting everyone involved with (Paradeco) on Instagram.”
The owners worked with Place Architecture – the company behind various other local projects, like Grand Central Brewhouse, Books and Bottle and Armature Works in Tampa – and construction company Reno Boyd Building. Maloney, who previously worked in interior design product development before starting Paradeco, said she already had a vision when she commissioned Place Architecture.
“We took an analytical approach, evaluating our competition in the Tampa Bay area with the appearance of other cafes,” she said. “No other company does the loud and eclectic look. Most other cafes are minimalist and industrial so we wanted to go the other way.
The cafe opened in May of last year at 111 2nd Ave. NOT. The cafe area also added to the tropical theme with the large windows allowing plenty of natural light to stream in and reflect off the Art Deco gold tables, Thomas Maloney said. The couple, who moved from New York, said they came to St Petersburg because it was surrounded by water and had a supportive culture for local businesses. Sonya Maloney also has connections in Florida – she previously lived in Jacksonville.
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So far in their first year of business, they said Paradeco’s success has exceeded their expectations. About 60% of weekday customers are regulars.
When asked what advice they could give to other entrepreneurs looking to create a new space, they said, “Research a lot and try to stand out.”