State Street Steak & Seafood In the News
State Street Steak and Seafood opens in Doylestown Borough
By Freda Savana
Posted Aug 3, 2018 at 5:00 AM
The former Knight House, which was damaged in a 2016 fire, is now State Street Steak and Seafood. Tom Frank, who also owns neighboring 86 West, has integrated the two restaurants in the rear of the property creating a “visual connection” that highlights a patio and bar.
It took patience, creativity and vision.
After about 100 iterations and countless meetings, the former Knight House restaurant on West State Street in Doylestown Borough has been transformed into State Street Steak and Seafood. The new business, which opened last week, features two bars and two dining rooms across two floors. It can seat 75, said Tom Frank, who also owns 86 West next door to the new establishment. There’s also seasonal seating for 12.
With a focus on “blending the inside and outside,” Frank said he and his design team were determined to create something fresh while “not forgetting the Knight House, as much as possible.” The Knight House, built in the mid-1800s, was damaged by an electrical fire in April 2016. Frank bought the building in the early 2000s and operated the Knight House until the fire. At first, he said he considered repairing the property, but then decided to create something new and distinctly different.
During a recent interview at the new restaurant, Frank said, “There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ve created an imaginative and creative place.”
Casey E. Thompson, a designer with Wolstenholme Associates, the architectural and engineering firm that worked on the project, characterized the style as “industrial modern.” There’s exposed piping, raw metal handrails and wainscoting and flooring that’s a mix of concrete and refined materials. Garage- style glass doors roll open on the first level to reveal a large patio and a full, covered bar that is shared with 86 West. The second level, reached by the Knight House’s original staircase, features the same style opening, allowing guests a similar view and “visual connection,” said architect John Wolstenholme.
A dining room on the upper level offers ample natural light, high tops, lounge and booth seating. “We’ve retained the simple elegance, with a rich, restored rawness,” Wolstenholme noted.
Frank was intent on integrating the indoor and outdoor spaces to create something different for the borough’s growing restaurant scene. “You don’t get this anywhere else,” he said, gesturing toward the patio and its visibility from almost every part of State Street Steak and Seafood.
Builder Daryl Rost, of Rost Artisan Builders in Upper Black Eddy, used shou sugi ban, a Japanese technique of burning wood to create a unique finish, throughout the restaurant. He said it’s not only attractive, it’s also resistant to all types of weather and insects. Rost also used bi-folding glass walls that open to the street, from the front of the first-floor dining room, where radiant heated flooring will offer warmth in cold weather.
While the project faced its share of challenges — including the need to protect the building’s historic nature and meet borough requirements that didn’t permit the front exterior to be structurally altered — and took more time than Frank originally envisioned, he said, sometimes waiting can produce a better design in the end.
“We were constantly stretching our minds. The more time you have to reflect on what a new project could look like can be a benefit,” said the Doylestown Borough resident and businessman.
Frank, 69, credits his success to his first job with McDonald’s in 1966. “I learned about service, fast food, real estate and construction. it was my education,” he said. Frank bought his first McDonald’s in 1988 and went on to own 45, over the course of his career in the fast food business. He sold his last one two years ago.
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