Grace Restaurant and Gracie Pasta & Provisions co-owners Marlin Kaplan and Lisa Masterson are visionaries behind new Two Graces
ST. PETERSBURG, FL. (March 15, 2021) -Marlin Kaplan and Lisa Masterson, co-owners of Grace Restaurant and Gracie Pasta & Provisions, will open Two Graces, 6001 Central Ave., this spring. The outdoor, garden-focused concept is part of the couple’s overall efforts to expand their restaurant legacy throughout the Pass-A-Grille beach community.
As both the co-founder and executive chef of Grace, Kaplan will also take the helm of Two Graces’ kitchen as executive chef. While both restaurants are influenced by his signature Mediterranean flavors, Two Graces offers more of a casual vibe, with a playful menu featuring fresh produce and herbs harvested from the restaurant’s stunning on-site gardens.
“The desire for outdoor dining is only going to continue to grow and we wanted to create a unique and inviting space with all the state-of-the-art amenities for our guests to enjoy,” said Kaplan. “Our customers love being outside, and we are fortunate to be in a city where the weather is accommodating most of the time.”
In addition to more than 100 different types of vegetables, herbs and flowers, Two Graces’ full-time horticulturist Maggie Jenson is also growing sugar cane and a variety of fruit and nut trees for Kaplan to utilize in the menu, including avocado, peaches, banana, mango, and macadamia nuts.
An advertising shark turned serial restauranteur, the charismatic New Yorker established himself as a serious contender among the Midwest’s culinary elite, beginning with a 55-seat bistro in 1993 in Cleveland, and ending with seven more successful concepts before moving to St. Petersburg with Masterson in 2014. Marlin’s American classic roots and whimsical approach to honest food is undeniable as is his signature hospitality and unrelenting attention to every detail. A man who wears many hats, he is also intimately involved in his restaurant’s design and buildout and is excited to again find himself in the role of architect, designer and contractor at Two Graces.
A talented group of professionals helped Marlin fulfil his promise to the former owner to completely restore Two Graces’ building and grounds. All aspects of the design, both inside and out, revolve around the garden and the juxtaposition of fine dining and leisure. Representing the colors of the vegetables harvested, the 50-seat indoor space, including the eight- seat chef’s table, features vibrant reds, greens, yellows, and purples. A beautiful indoor mural painted by local illustrator, Alli Arnold, depicts the whimsy of the food and gardens.
The 100-seat outdoor space is divided into four unique garden rooms: the lounge and reception area, which serves as the entrance to the building and offers an array of comfy sofas and chairs; the main outdoor dining room, a trellis covered space with 50 seats surrounding a fountain that reflects the postmodern design of the building; the round room, a circular space surrounded by a colorful banister and located under one of the 100-year-old live oaks with hundreds of white lights; and the private event garden featuring a 12-seat community table and curtains to maintain privacy.
In addition to co-owner, general manager and beverage director of Grace and Gracie Pasta & Provisions, Masterson will also manage these roles at Two Graces. With over 20 years’ experience in the marketing, business and hospitality industry, she takes pride in providing diners a sense of community that is rare to find elsewhere. Masterson’s exceptional wine list at Two Graces will feature all biodynamic, sustainable and organic offerings, while her craft cocktail list will focus on cocktails named after flowers, an ode to the outdoor-restaurant's stunning gardens and live oaks.
“I wanted the wine program to mirror Marlin’s vision of using sustainable ingredients and make the garden the focus for both,” said Masterson. “People don’t realize the number of amazing wines that are either biodynamic, sustainable or organic. These are wines you feel good about drinking and they are delicious.”
About Two Graces
Created by chef Marlin Kaplan and Lisa Masterson of Grace and Gracie Pasta & Provisions, Two Graces is a garden- focused restaurant featuring a 100-seat outdoor dining room surrounded by an extensive garden with 100-year-old live oaks, and a colorful 50-seat indoor space, including a chef’s counter. The couple’s mission is to provide a seasonal menu featuring fresh produce from the on-site garden and sustainable products from local and regional farms, purveyors and fishermen. The wine program features all biodynamic, sustainable and organic offerings, and the flower-oriented craft cocktail program also utilizes herbs from the garden. Located in the Pass-A-Grille beach community of St. Petersburg at 6001 Central Ave., the elevated casual restaurant and bar will open Wednesday through Monday from 4 to 10 p.m.