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Thanks to the Pandemic, Outdoor Kitchens Are More Popular Than Ever

More people are adding outdoor cooking spaces, taking the dining experience al fresco—from start to finish.

By Kim Doleatto February 3, 2021

Ross Davies' outdoor kitchen design and installation business is booming as outdoor living spaces become more of a staple amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thanks to Covid-19, the outdoors is more "in" than ever. Ross Davies of Ross Davies Inc. says his business has doubled, at least, since the pandemic began last year 

People are avoiding public places and are willing to spend money on making being at home more enjoyable,” he says. 

But Davies isn't just hopping on a trend. He's been helping people cook and dine al fresco for seven years. Originally from South Africahe moved to Sarasota 16 years ago and started his handyman business in 2011. Then he built 40 outdoor kitchens in a Lakewood Ranch subdivision. Word of mouth spread quickly, and now outdoor spaces are Davies' niche.

His outdoor kitchens range in cost from $8,000 to more than $100,000—the latter being the price tag of one he recently built in North Tampa, where custom concrete counters fetched $150 per square foot 

“With concrete, you’re paying for the knowledge and the labor,” he says, since it requires extensive polishing, specific know-how and repeated application of layers of food-grade sealant. Add Brazilian walnut cupboards and a full range of equipment, like a $4,000, 15-inch ice maker, and costs add up fast.

One of Davies' outdoor kitchen designs, featuring stainless steel equipment. Concrete countertops add an updated, trendy look.

Currently, Davies is busiest with new subdivision construction, like his first Lakewood Ranch projectwhere homes are already mapped out with gas and electric sources in the backyard, waiting to be hooked up to outdoor fridges and grills. 

Here are the trends he's seeing for 2021.


Prepare bacon, eggs and pancakes any time of the day, as well as meats and fish. Cleanup is a snap thanks to the nonstick surface that scrapes clean in minutes. 

Pizza Ovens

From gas-burning to fire-powered pizza ovens, you can put your personal touch on a family favorite food staple and experiment with new recipes.

The Big Green Egg

This versatile, all-in-one outdoor ceramic grill and charcoal smoker delivers grilled steaks and vegetables, smoked salmon and even baked goods. It's been popular for several years and Davies says it's not going anywhere.

Granite and Brick

These finishes remain classic, more moderately priced favorites.

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