2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Iberian Rooster

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Russell Andrade introduced the Portugese fusion restaurant and speakeasy Iberian Rooster to St. Petersburg in November 2016 with a clear purpose.

“Everyone was afraid of what was going to happen,” Ana Corsi-Travali, the location’s catering director says. “Is my loved one going to be deported? Is my loved one going to be banned from a bathroom? Is my best friend going to get their marriage revoked because something might get overturned?”

“Everyone was freaking out and I think that was one of the reasons Russell was so insistent on making this place very diverse and very comfortable for all walks of life,” she says.

“That’s been his number one goal since the beginning,” Iberian’s front of house manager Kyle Hill agrees. “We’ve done socials for polyamorous groups. Whenever it comes to open sexuality, he wants everyone to be included. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay, bi, straight, he doesn’t want any labels here.”

“We started initially with fresh start drag showcase with Adriana Sparkle every Wednesday and I think that was such a great launching point,” entertainment director Lauren Lance notes. “It’s a great space for people to try drag out if they’ve never done it. And now we just launched the Undherground events for lesbian and bi women, but basically the whole LGBTQ community.”

The “roosteraunt,” as the staff lovingly calls it, continues to offer a wide array of events for the LGBTQ community and beyond, from rounds of “Rock, Paper Scissors” to the oft-discussed “Drunken Disney” sing-alongs. “That’s one of our biggest things that we’re trying to incorporate,” Hill says. “From A to Z, include everyone. Everyone can be accepted here for who they are.”

“Fostering a place that’s safe and inclusive is super important,” Lance asserts. “It’s 2018, we need to create these spaces and take care of each other. That’s a big deal here.”

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