RESTAURANT BUZZ: State Street Eating House

By Megan McDonald January 16, 2012

Exposed lightbulbs and lots of wood add to State Street Eating House's mid-century look.

Bar Company's Elise Ciungan (top) and Andres Aleman (bottom) make cocktail magic.

Blackberry-laden brambles are a classic British cocktail.

Hey, Sarasota: There’s a new kid on the block.

It’s called the State Street Eating House, and it’s going to offer what may be some of the most interesting, expertly prepared cocktails in town.

Nestled between Orange and Lemon avenues in what was formerly the Old Heidelberg Pastry Shop space, State Street Eating House has a decidedly mid-century modern vibe, which is exactly what chef Christian Hershman is going for: in décor, food and beverage, Hershman wants diners to get back to their roots via classic American food and drink that are expertly prepared. “We’re not trying to create the newest thing,” he explained. “We’re revisiting what works.”

One of the steps in that strategy is creating one of the most unique bar programs in Sarasota. Last Sunday, Hershman brought in Bar Company LLC, a cocktail and spirits consulting company, to help hone State Street Eating House’s cocktail program and give his staff (and this lucky writer) a cocktail education. On the menu: ingredients-driven drinks that emphasize technique and mirror the Eating House’s food strategy, including whisky sours made with fresh egg whites (no mix here, French 75s, mojitos, traditional daiquiris (Slurpee-like consistency absent), mint juleps, Negronis, Manhattans and a British drink called a bramble that’s flavored with fresh blackberries and blackberry liqueur. 

“You want to move away from the bar as a waiting-room experience,” said Bar Company’s Doug Twinning during the presentation.

Fellow mixologist Elise Ciungan agreed. “A bar program is an extension of the kitchen,” she explained. “You want your customers to think the way they do when they order food.”

So it was an afternoon of not just delicious sips, but learning as well (did you know, for example, Manhattans originated at a party thrown by Winston Churchill’s mother at New York’s Manhattan Club in 1870?), and we think you’ll be pleased with State Street Eating House’s offerings.

The restaurant is scheduled to open at the end of this month for lunch and dinner service; it’s located at 1553 State St., Sarasota, 34236.


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