With great excitement, SEASIDE® and Chef-Owner Nikhil Abuvala are pleased to announce the highly anticipated opening of The Daytrader Tiki Bar & Restaurant.
Located at the entrance of the iconic Coleman Beach Pavilion in Seaside, Fl, The Daytrader invites guests to clock out of reality and clock into escape. Inspired by Chef Abuvala’s passion for the coastal cuisine and culture of the more than 1,000 islands that make up Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean, The Daytrader seeks to deliver a Polynesian Coast meets the Gulf of Mexico experience, rooted in escapism, with a playful anti-corporate attitude to pair. Open daily for lunch and dinner service, The Daytrader will join the ranks of some of the most notable South Walton eateries as Seaside’s newest merchant and first new table service restaurant debut in over a decade.
Chef Abuvala’s roots run deep in Northwest Florida where he currently owns and operates three unique restaurant concepts: his flagship and first venture Roux 30a, Nanbu Noodle Bar, both of which are located in Grayton Beach, as well as Nanbu Too in Destin. A South Walton resident for most of his life and local business owner for the past 10 years, Chef Abuvala’s commitment to his community is apparent in his thoughtful additions to the ever-growing and much-lauded culinary destination the area has come to be known for.
“There are so many unique dining opportunities in South Walton,” said Chef Abuvala. “Our top feeder markets are mostly made up of these vibrant foodie towns… those people have sophisticated palates and honestly appreciate culinary diversity and thoughtfully crafted menus. It can be challenging to stay ahead of the curve with all the talent down here, so for me, I’m not doing it unless it's something that’s yet to be done in this market.”
Chef Abuvala partnered with Jonathan Douglas & Associates for architectural and exterior design services, and Stantec, a global leader in sustainability and design, to provide interior design and landscape architecture services for The Daytrader. The Stantec team looked to create a modern tiki and escapism-focused atmosphere by utilizing a thoughtful mix of structured yet unpredictable forms and finishes. Inside, bold, imperfect patterns pair with brass accents and wood paneling, moody lighting and natural textures. On the beachside terrace, guests can escape to an outdoor oasis adorned with lush greenery, a blend of bright-colored furnishings, and ambient lighting to illuminate the textured reed roof. Most of the 130 seats in the restaurant can be found in covered outdoor spaces.
“The design incorporates funky colored furnishings and warm wood-toned tiki influences to heighten the individuality and personality of The Daytrader,” said Jeanette Carter, interior design principal at Stantec. “Our team mixed boldly patterned wallcoverings, playful pink tile and layers of woven basket lighting to achieve a modern meets tiki experience.”
Upon entering, guests will notice shelves along the walls displaying salt-rusted tchotchkes and other carefully-curated treasures, each hand-picked from The Abuvala's personal home and local antique shops along the coast by Chef Abuvala’s wife and restaurant stylist, Hannah Grace Alford-Abuvala. She’s also credited with curating the consummate, beach playlist that features lo-fi, tropic beats and retro bops, with Hawaiian mele and calypso-inspired melodies respectfully sprinkled in.
The Daytrader’s locally sourced, ingredient-driven menu will showcase Polynesian-inspired fare with a focus on fresh Gulf of Mexico seafood. Guests can expect surprising twists on reimagined American classics, like the Sloppy Koa, an elevated ‘sloppy joe’ featuring pineapple slaw, pork belly and a Hawaiian bun, and coastal renditions of Boiled Peanuts and Maui Fries on the Bar Snack menu. Abuvala, influenced by the inventive cuisine found near the Coast of Asia, has crafted menu standouts like Ahi Crispy Rice and Tempura Softshell appetizers as well as Sheepshead Dukkah, Wagyu Kalbi Short Ribs and Lobster Chow Mein entrees to satisfy palettes that yearn for tantalizing flavor combinations.
“When we decided to focus on Polynesia, it was important to me that we highlight all the islands that make up that region,” continued Chef Abuvala. “Being a tiki bar, of course you’ll find plenty of Hawaiian influences throughout our menu, but you’ll also discover Filipino, Vietnamese, and other coastal Asian flavors in both the dishes and cocktail program. And of course, I am always heavily influenced by the never-ending supply of fresh seafood from the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the exceptional products we source from our regional farmer and purveyor partners.”
In partnership with Beverage Consultant Greg Genias of BootlegGreg Cocktail Co., The Daytrader’s beverage program features refreshingly creative concoctions inspired by the American tiki bar movement of the early 20th century. All cocktails are made with daily fresh pressed juice, and sugarcane is imported from all across Florida, Los Angeles and the Caribbean before being macerated in-house. Each drink served inside the restaurant will be served in a vintage glass, a rarity for beachfront eateries and a sticking point for Chef Abuvala. Eclectic drink options include a Cookie-Lada, an interpretation of the classic Pina Colada that features a cookie garnish, a Macadamia Nut Old-Fashioned that will keep whiskey lovers on their toes and a fruity Medical Mai Tai served in an IV solution bag for guests to self-pour over ice.
“The Daytrader is an exciting and welcomed addition to the community as it embodies Seaside’s simple, beautiful life philosophy by encouraging our visitors and community to trade their place at the desk for a place at the bar,” said Micah Davis, President of Seaside Community Development Corporation. “We're beyond excited to share award-winning Chef Nikhil Abuvala's newest concept with our guests. His delicious food, combined with a playful and beautiful design, has created a truly unique offering in our area. We have no doubt that The Daytrader will quickly become another landmark in Seaside and a destination for anyone looking to catch a tropical breeze on the Florida coast.”
The Daytrader Tiki Bar and Restaurant is located at 2236 E. County Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459 and will be open for lunch and dinner service seven days a week from 10:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. Reservations are unavailable at this time. For more information, please visit daytradertiki.com or follow along via Instagram.