- December 23, 2015
Just before opening for lunch, Patrick Seidensticker, manager of Muse restaurant, huddles his crew together for some last-minute notes. The restaurant has only been open a week, and after winning the bid to be the new culinary face of The Ringling, he wants everything to be perfect.
For Seidensticker, the new endeavor is about more than just serving food; he wants to create culinary art, and he holds his food to the same standards as the art hanging inside the museum.
In June, The Ringling’s contract expired with the owner of its catering company and on-site restaurant, Treviso. As the institution set out to find a replacement, Ringling Executive Director Steven High says he wanted the space to go to someone local.
Patrick Seidensticker, along with his father, Steve, siblings, Lisa and Joe, and business partner, Jeff Greco, own TableSeide Restaurant Group. They, along with eight other local companies, sought the open position.
“We knew the concept had to be elevated,” says Seidensticker. “We wanted to match the level of the art here at the Ringling with something on a plate that The Ringling could be proud of.”
TableSeide Restaurant Group began with Libby’s Café+Bar, which opened in the Southside Village in 2008, and continued in 2012 with Louie’s Modern and The Francis downtown. And although each restaurant presents a different dining atmosphere, a common theme can be found in its contemporary American cuisine. According to Seidensticker, Muse is no different.
The menu, which offers lunch and dinner fare, features twists on American classics, such as burgers (modernized with bacon-jam brie, onion frites, romaine and steak sauce), unique appetizers, (like the restaurant’s Goldfish-and-pretzel-crusted crab cakes) and a fish-heavy dinner menu, (boasting items like its mustard-crusted tuna with jasmine rice and sweet ’n’ sour sauce).
“We wanted to get away from the idea of being a ‘museum restaurant’ and treat it the way we would any other restaurant in Sarasota,” says Seidensticker.
The Ringling welcomes more than 400,000 visitors each year, and if the only meal one of those guests eats in Sarasota is at Muse, Seidensticker wants the experience to be an accurate representation of what makes Sarasota unique to him.
“Sarasota has a small-town feel with a relatively cosmopolitan attitude,” he says. “So the concept starts with the food, and everything else follows that — the name, the design, the uniforms and service style. Contemporary American allows you to do a lot.”
When Muse opened Aug. 24, the menu wasn’t the only thing that had changed. Over the course of three weeks in July, TableSeide worked to offer guests a completely revamped interior. The walls, which used to bear a mural of an Italian hillside, now sport a fresh coat of purple paint and a bubbly white sound-dampening surface that glows dark blue at night.
Other renovations include a large purple faux-alligator-skinbooth spanning the distance of one of the walls and an oversized abstract painting by local artist and TableSeide collaborator Margaret Barnes.
Although Seidensticker, his executive chef Fran Casciato and his staff (100% of whom stayed on from Treviso) are confident in the fresh menu and interior, the immediate challenge is winning over The Ringling regulars who made Treviso part of their visit.
Seidensticker says he looks forward to elevating the institution’s reputation and helping diners find a new favorite dish.
“We want to take it above and beyond where it was before,” he says. “If we can make someone’s day better, then we’ve done our job.”