State Street Eating House + Cocktails Elevates With New Executive Chef

Good Bite

Long established as one of downtown Sarasota’s best culinary destinations, State Street Eating House + Cocktails recently welcomed Executive Chef Michelle Wolforth to take the restaurant’s menu to new heights. Chef Wolforth, a Boston native, has worked in some of the most renowned fine dining kitchens in the country, including the Mandarin Oriental in Boston, Waldorf Astoria in Chicago, and The Soho House in New York City. Most recently, Wolforth served as the executive catering chef of Morton’s Gourmet Market and executive chef of Blasé Bistro. “Something we always want to do is raise the bar, raise the standards,” says State Street owner Chris Voelker, “and we think a lot about how we can elevate guest’s experience.” With Wolforth helming the State Street kitchen, raising the bar starts with impeccable sourcing. “Great food starts with the highest quality product you can get your hands on,” says Wolforth, “so we’re really committing a lot of resources to that.” That means fresh Gulf-caught seafood purchased whole and broken down in-house, ensuring a clean flavor profile and fresh seafood stocks. “It takes more skill and time to break down fish every day, and that’s what drives some restaurants to buy frozen,” Wolforth says, “but with so many varieties of delicious local fish in our backyard, it’s worth every penny to buy fresh.”

But Chef also carries that level of regionality, seasonality and care to all aspects of the kitchen. With house made pastas made from whole yolks, freshly baked breads and scratch-made sauces, she aims to transform every dish into something memorable. “I often speak to our diners,” says Voelker, “and it is truly heartwarming to consistently hear rave reviews. And that’s really what we want. We don’t want guests to leave here and say, ‘that was good’ or ‘that was fine.’ I want them to leave and say, ‘wow, that was amazing.’ And I think our recent growth demonstrates that Michelle is giving people that kind of experience.”

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