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St. Petersburg, a cartoonish 2D Cafe is coming soon

The European cafe will look like a black-and-white drawing come to life, part of a global trend.
Instagramable 2D restaurants first popped up in Asia and have spread around the world to places like Twenty Pho Hour in Orlando and Matte Black Coffee in Los Angeles. Soon, St. Petersburg will have one too.
Instagramable 2D restaurants first popped up in Asia and have spread around the world to places like Twenty Pho Hour in Orlando and Matte Black Coffee in Los Angeles. Soon, St. Petersburg will have one too. [ Photo illustration by BERNADETTE BERDYCHOWSKI via Times archives and Instagram ]
Published Jan. 27

There won’t just be paper cups and straws in this new coffee shop: the walls, chairs, plates and windows will look like they come off a page.

A 2D Cafe, a cartoonish-design themed restaurant, is opening in St. Petersburg at 2105 Central Ave. It’s expected to open late next month or early March, owner Maria Merello said.

The inside will look like a black-and-white drawing with European influences, Merello said. The cafe will serve croissants and pastries from Crumb Factory Bakery and coffee from Dancing Goats. There will also be wine, beer, charcuterie boards and some Greek delicacies.

Merello selected St. Petersburg-based artist Chad Mize — who has painted work at The Saint, Hawkers, Bodega and many more local establishments — to design the inside of the store in one of his largest projects for a business yet.

“I’ve done a lot of interior murals but nothing that has encompassed the whole restaurant,” Mize told the Tampa Bay Times.

Mize said he’s studied other two-dimensional themed restaurants in places like Korea but doesn’t want to copy their style. He said he’ll make sure to incorporate his own aesthetic while adding some “St. Pete flair.” He also plans to paint Parisian and European landscapes in the windows with the cartoonish look.

It’ll be dreamlike and “Instagramable,” Mize said.

Merello, a Clearwater resident, first saw a two-dimensional restaurant when traveling in Tokyo. She said she has since wanted to open her own. St. Petersburg’s vibrant art culture made it feel like the right place to do it, she said. Similar concepts have popped up in the U.S., like Twenty Pho Hours in Orlando and Matte Black in Los Angeles.

“It’s just a playful immersive experience,” Merello said. “It’s been a popular concept in Asia and now it’s been catching on in the last year all around the world.”

St. Petersburg’s 2D Cafe is taking the former Swah-Rey location. It will be open 8 a.m.-11 p.m.

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