At first glance, a gay-owned business in the heart of Parramore may seem as incongruous as an Idaho senator in a Minneapolis airport bathroom, but not so in Buddy Dyer’s vision of the new Parramore. Here a pinch of city money, a dash of diversity and a whole lotta poured concrete is a recipe for urban renewal.
While Stonewall Bistro’s drab gray edifice is reminiscent of a gun shop, the inside is suggestive of a laid-back neighborhood bar complete with pool table, dart boards and an antique wine press that’s quite the conversation piece. It’s a casual vibe, made all the more so by motel lobby furniture and a menu of standard pub fare. Named after co-owner Rob Weigle, “Rob’s fabulous roast beef on rye sandwich” ($7.95) is jacked with horseradish and chive havarti, while the cheeseburger ($5.45), though not stellar, makes for a benign nosh. French fries top soggy beer-battered onion rings. If the excellent cheesecake made by Winter Garden’s Sweet Guys is available, go for it.
The bistro’s moniker refers to 1969’s Stonewall Rebellion, when gays and lesbians resisted a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. Given co-owner Steve Watkins’ affability, you can pretty much rule out any rioting here – unless a fight breaks out over the last piece of divine chocolate-chip cookie-dough cheesecake.
(Stonewall Bistro, 741 W. Church St.; 407- 373-0888)