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St. Petersburg’s Paradeco in running for 2022 best cafe design in Americas

Paradeco Coffee Roasters is one of four entries on the shortlist for 2022′s best-designed cafe in the Americas by the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards.
The Paradeco coffee shop in downtown St. Petersburg is on the shortlist for best cafe design in the Americas for 2022, the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards announced Tuesday.
The Paradeco coffee shop in downtown St. Petersburg is on the shortlist for best cafe design in the Americas for 2022, the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards announced Tuesday. [ Seamus Payne | Courtesy of Paradeco ]
Published Aug. 11|Updated Aug. 11

The pink and turquoise cafe in downtown St. Petersburg is getting international acclaim.

Paradeco Coffee Roasters is one of four entries on the shortlist for 2022′s best designed cafe in the Americas, Restaurant and Bar Design Awards announced Tuesday. The Restaurant and Bar Design Awards recognizes the leading designs in the hospitality industry from around the world including restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels and more.

The Floridian- and Art Deco- inspired coffee shop is going up against three other cafes, two in the U.S. — Tops Diner in East Newark and Chicago’s Venteux — and Bread + Bola in Mexico. The winners are set to be announced the week of Sept. 5.

Sonya Maloney, who co-owns Paradeco with her husband Thomas, said she kept tagging the award agency on as many social media posts as she could, and one day someone reached out to her and told her to apply. This week she got the email announcing they were on the shortlist.

“It’s pretty incredible for being one of four places globally on the list,” Maloney said. “We started blasting everyone involved in (Paradeco) on Instagram.”

The owners worked with Place Architecture — the firm 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 product development for home decor before starting Paradeco, said she already had a vision when she commissioned Place Architecture.

“We took an analytical approach, assessing our competition in the Tampa Bay area with how other cafes looked,” she said. “No other business is doing the loud and eclectic look. Most other coffee shops are minimal and industrial so we wanted to go in the other direction.”

The Paradeco coffee shop in downtown St. Petersburg is on the shortlist for best cafe design in the Americas for 2022, the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards announced Aug. 9.
The Paradeco coffee shop in downtown St. Petersburg is on the shortlist for best cafe design in the Americas for 2022, the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards announced Aug. 9. [ Seamus Payne | Courtesy of Paradeco ]

The coffee shop opened in May of last year at 111 2nd Ave. NE. The cafe space also added to the tropical theme with the large windows that allow for a lot of natural lighting to pour in and reflect off the Art Deco gold tables, Thomas Maloney said. The couple, who moved from New York City, said they came to St. Petersburg because it was surrounded by water and it has a supportive culture for local businesses. Sonya Maloney also has Florida connections — she previously lived in Jacksonville.

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So far into their first year in business, they said Paradeco’s success exceeded their expectations. About 60% of customers during the weekdays are regulars.

When asked what advice they could give other entrepreneurs looking to create a new space, they said this: “Research a lot and try to stand out.”

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