Storytelling is increasingly important to the restaurant experience, said Darren Tristano, a restaurant analyst with Technomic Inc.
Chris Dorman, beverage director for SoHo Hospitality Management, described how history influences cocktails at Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club, the Prohibition-themed lounge in South Tampa.
Dorman joined SoHo about two months ago after relocating from New York City, where he was involved in several restaurant and nightlife concepts with historic themes.
Tampa Bay Business Journal: What attracted you to Tampa Bay?
Dorman: Tampa had an interesting cocktail culture that was growing already. Tampa is one of those places where they’re into the culture. People understand what they’re doing and are trying to push it forward. Down here, a few [places] I see doing that consistently are Sidebern’s, Fly Bar & Restaurant and Anise Global Gastrobar.
TBBJ: What are some of the new ideas you’re rolling out?
Dorman: We’re going to get more seasonal than we’ve been in the past, where every six or seven months you’ll find new cocktails on the menu based on what’s in season. One new cocktail is called the “Flapper’s Delight.” It’s a gin-based cocktail [that] comes in a classic cocktail champagne flute … We have another cocktail called the “Special Delivery.” During the Prohibition, people’s liquor bottles were painted white to look like milk. At 9 a.m., you were having milk delivered. It goes back to having a story behind the cocktail.