One of St. Petersburg, Florida's oldest landmarks is a restaurant named Chattaway. The wooden structure was built in 1922 as Four Corners Grocery, though today we'd probably recognize it more as a general store. When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the store reincarnated as Chattaway Drive-In. Lights were strung up outside and car-hops served beer and wine. In those days, Chattaway was surrounded by swampland and a nearby creek, and it was not unusual to see an alligator near the drive-in.
By the 1940s, Chattaway was selling hamburgers, and in 1951, Helen Lund became the owner. Today Chattaway is owned and operated by her daughter-in-law, Jillian Lund Frer, and is staffed with a fourth generation of the family.
Jillian Frer is a most charming lady, originally from England, and she's turned Chattaway into an appealing mixture of Florida and England.
Residents of St. Petersburg will immediately envision bathtubs when they think of Chattaway. Jillian installed six cast-iron tubs along the perimeter for decoration, and as a sort of traffic barrier, and soon people were dropping them off. Today there are 44, and Jillian says, "No more!"
Jillian has been a professional actress for 60 years, and performed at Q Theatre in Kew Gardens before coming to the States. Chattaway shows much evidence of that past, and of course there was a celebration at the restaurant when Prince William married Catherine Middleton.
In the dining room, a pitcher from the 1901 coronation of King Edward VII, and a frosted window with matching curtains.
Chattaway, home of the Chattaburger, in the early evening.