by Jessica Giles | March 6, 2020

Have You Visited These 10 New Additions to the Sunshine State?

From trendy cocktail rooms to massive art museums, here are the hottest new openings around Florida


NORTH Florida

A bartender serves up cocktails at the Farm & Fire Southern Pizzeria in Santa Rosa Beach. Photography by Colleen Duffley


Santa Rosa Beach

Chef Jim Shirley expands his eatery empire with this Prohibition-era pizzeria. The vaulted ceilings and the mobsters in the building’s history naturally lent themselves to a speakeasy-style restaurant. Legend has it that the club that used to occupy the space had a gun check at the door, Shirley says. Diners won’t find a place to store their firearms, but they will find coal-fired cuisine in a vintage coastal setting. Guests can watch from their tables as their pizzas, meatballs and fish are cooked in an 800-degree clean-burning coal oven that leaves the perfect char. The farm portion of the name comes from the restaurant’s partnership with local farmers, who provide fresh ingredients for salads, cheeses, meats and desserts. Cap off the night with a cocktail at the copper-top bar and soak in expansive views of  Choctawhatchee Bay at this speakeasy by the sea.

Emily Raffield hopes her clothing lines remind shoppers of the Gulf Coast. Photography by Kaila Brunner



The coastal clothing and home goods in Emily Raffield’s collection are more than just beach accessories: they’re tangible pieces of her home. Raffield’s designs and the understated accessories sold alongside them at Becasa not only serve as everyday staples for Floridians, but also evoke a sense of nostalgia for the Gulf Coast. Raffield releases limited collections multiple times a year, featuring natural, no-fuss clothing suited for life on the beach, along with black and ivory pieces that stick around all year long. Breathable midi dresses, cotton tank tops, linen throws and other beautifully basic pieces harken back to her childhood in Port St. Joe. “I don’t claim to be a couture designer, but I know what people want and need in their closets, especially at the beach,” Raffield said. She opened her online shop in 2018 and grew such a loyal fan base that she opened a brick-and-mortar storefront in 2019.

All of the coffee is sourced from Concord Coffee in Lakeland. Photography courtesy of Sago Coffee



This new coffee shop just blocks from the beach is designed to make people linger. Wide, clear garage doors roll up to let the seaside breeze waft in, and ample seating invites people to settle in for a spell. Sago was started by the neighboring Beach Church as a way to build local relationships. “So many people know what churches are against. We want to be known by what we are for,” said executive pastor and owner Carey Sumner. Here, coffee is an experience, a means to bring people together. With an emphasis on community, Sago selects a different organization each quarter to receive 25 percent of its profits. Since opening in September, the coffee shop has supported Beaches Habitat for Humanity and The Donna Foundation. All of the coffee is brewed by Concord Coffee in Lakeland, and the pastries are sourced from local bakeries including Jax Bread Co. and Lucy’s Sweet Shop. Starting in April, Sago will offer a limited-release specialty brew to let customers taste coffee from all over the world.

The distillery offers creative flavors of rum, moonshine, vodka and coming soon, whiskey. Photography by Amanda Olivero


St. Augustine

The latest addition to the Old City’s lauded distillery scene brings playful flavors of rum, vodka and moonshine to the cobblestone streets of St. Augustine. Just steps from the Castillo de San Marcos, City Gate Spirits aims to offer libations for every palate. Stop in to take a swig of apple pie moonshine, sweet tea vodka or pineapple rum during a 15-minute tasting experience. Booze buffs will find that the liquor is infused with more than just tropical fruit and spices—it’s also rich in the town’s lore. Each bottle sports a postcard-style image of an iconic landmark from the city and includes a fact about the location, making it the perfect keepsake. Since celebrating its grand opening in October, City Gate has launched new flavor options for 2020 and promises its soon-to-come whiskey won’t disappoint.


Greenery fills the coworking space inside the Florida Local. Photography by Lindsey Thompson


New Smyrna Beach

One block over from bustling Canal Street, this charming artisan market and specialty coffee shop is a curated collection of all things made-in-Florida. “We wanted people to be able to see the great things that we have in our state,” said co-founder Alonda McCarty. So in June 2019, McCarty and her friend Chelsea Preston opened a retail space that celebrates the state’s accomplished makers. Locally sourced goods from brands like Le Chic Miami, Lure Paper Goods, Naked Bar Soap Co., Aramore Art and more line the shelves. Even the lattes froth with DeLand-based Trilogy coffee. The duo wanted to create not just a boutique but a place where locals can gather to work, socialize and learn new things. The Living Room, a playful space filled with greenery, flamingo-patterned chairs and a large wooden table at the center, functions as a coworking office and workshop classroom, where the shop hosts everything from wreath-making seminars to author talks and oyster shucking lessons.



When guests first enter this nostalgic cocktail room, dimly lit by vintage street lamps, it isn’t clear whether they’ve stepped into the 1980s or the 1800s. The sleek black marble countertops, velvet fabrics and gold accents give a distinctly modern feel to this storied space. Built in 1884, the building originally functioned as a laboratory for the state’s chemist, Norman Robinson. Today, it serves as the historical backdrop and inspiration for this swanky new Orlando hot spot. Owner Daniel Mawardi goes beyond shaking and stirring to carefully craft innovative drinks, using a centrifuge to infuse liquor with unexpected flavors and create imaginative combinations, like apricot bourbon and banana fernet. Sink into one of their plush couches and order the crowd-pleasing Just To Be Clear gin-based cocktail or, if you’re feeling adventurous, give the boozy Rum Fashioned a go. Eco-conscious revelers can enjoy their beverages guilt-free knowing The Robinson operates with sustainability in mind. This means limiting their waste and using all pieces of the produce in their cocktails.


St. Petersburg

When mother and son duo JoAnn and Matthew Matchin decided to start churning their own ice cream, they wanted their product to rival all other frozen treats while also remaining dairy-free and vegan. Given the hype around the recently launched Plant Love Ice Cream, it seems they’ve accomplished just that. The psychedelic shop boasts a creative rotating menu with specialties such as molten chocolate and cookie butter made from simple ingredients. The use of plant-based components, such as almond milk and coconut milk, instead of dairy means that even people with certain allergies and lactose intolerance can enjoy a scoop. Customers also have the option to add CBD drops to their orders to reap the chemical’s stress-relieving benefits, JoAnn Matchin said. Along with making better-for-you ice cream, the pair also wanted to run a business that was healthier for the planet. They only use biodegradable serving dishes and wood or metal silverware, and even their water is sold in glass bottles, making the dessert experience virtually guilt-free.


Seared Grouper. Photography by FujiFilmGirl



At this intimate Italian eatery in Miami’s Buena Vista neighborhood, simplicity meets sophistication. With an emphasis on stellar service, owners Alex Meyer and Luciana Giangrandi hope to walk the line of fine dining in an approachable atmosphere. Boia De is one of the few restaurants in the city that offer natural and low-intervention wines. Guests can expect simple yet exceptional plates, such as seared grouper with artichokes and Meyer lemon beurre. The interior, inspired by the Memphis design style of the ’80s, sports geometric shapes and splashes of color. The bathrooms have a hint of whimsy with monkey wallpaper—be on the lookout for a tiny hidden monkey figurine. The duo have infused the space with their personalities by incorporating treasures from their travels around the world. Venture down the hallway to catch a glimpse of a lithograph from Erberto Carboni displaying an advertisement from 1926.

James Beard Award semifinalist Clay Conley leads the kitchen at Chateau Miami. Photography by Alissa Dragun



If it weren’t for the works of Miami artists adorning the walls of this historic minicastle in the heart of Brickell, diners at Chateau Miami would be forgiven for thinking they had been transported to Europe. Formerly the residence of community activists John and Ethel Murrell, the French-style villa will now be the home of James Beard Award semifinalist Clay Conley’s newest venture. Returning to Miami for the first time in a decade, Conley brings with him the global-inspired open-fire cooking methods lauded at his flagship Palm Beach restaurant Buccan. Designed for sharing, Chateau’s menu will highlight South Florida’s natural ingredients, like Florida pink shrimp and quail eggs, while also reflecting Conley’s world travels. After passing around a plate of grilled Florida peaches, linger a little longer in the lounge to sip on a cocktail and gaze out into the classic European garden surrounding the manor.

The Sarasota Art Museum opens with an installation by Sheila Hicks exploring color and material. Photography by Ryan Gamma



As soon as visitors step inside this new contemporary art museum, it’s clear that the space itself is a masterpiece. What was formerly Sarasota High School, a 1926 collegiate Gothic building, has transformed into 15,000 square feet of sweeping exhibition spaces. Along with areas for site-specific and site-responsive installations, the museum features a 110-seat auditorium for live performances and a great lawn, which hosts temporary sculptures, installations and special programming. As a contemporary “kunsthalle,” the museum is a noncollecting art institution, which means art lovers can expect an endless rotation of new works. The museum debuted in December with an exhibition by Sheila Hicks exploring the science of color and material through large-scale fiber art (pictured below), fine art photography by Brazilian artist Vik Muniz and a light installation by Christian Sampson that uses the architecture of the building and the sun’s rays filtering through.

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