A fine white mist drifts down from the ceiling onto the outdoor patio at Bella Brava on Central Avenue.
With a faint hiss, a half-dozen rocket-booster-shaped fans circulate air that feels 10 to 15 degrees cooler, making outdoor dining much more pleasant.
"They definitely look like something from a spaceship," restaurant co-owner Dyce Craig said of the Jetstream Technologies cooling system. "It's like having a constant cool breeze."
Installed last week by the Pinellas Park tech company, the system forces water through a tiny ceramic nozzle at very high pressure, causing it to instantly evaporate.
The result is a mist that lowers temperatures 10 to 20 degrees from the surrounding air without creating moisture.
It also allows restaurants to operate dining space more cheaply, Jetstream founder and inventor Ken Metcalf said.
Air conditioning a dining room the size of Bella Brava's costs about $2,500 per month, he said. Jetstream operates for about $100 a month.
Passers-by frequently comment on the eye-catching contraptions, Craig said.
And diners enjoy them immensely.
"I'm sitting outside on the sidewalk in the summer, in Florida, and I'm comfortable," said Janine Duffy as she took a late weekday lunch. "I love it."
Bella Brava is the third restaurant in Pinellas County to install a Jetstream system, joining Ferg's Sports Bar on Central Avenue and Moon Under Water on Beach Drive.
Managers at both restaurants said that more customers have gravitated toward their outdoor patios since the systems have been in place.
"I've noticed a lot more people sitting on the porch, especially as the temperatures reach the 90s," said Mark Logan, owner of Moon Under Water.
About 200 systems have been sold, Metcalf said, in places including Texas and the Caribbean. In a few weeks, he will travel to Dubai to install a system, he said.
Andrew Dunn can be reached at (727) 893-8150 or [email protected]