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By Kara Pound
Photo by Stephanie Whisler
It’s been more than 25 years since the White family — made up of David and Cathy White and their two daughters, Julie and Jennifer — began transforming the bayfront landscape of the Nation’s Oldest City. As the owners of O.C. White’s Restaurant on Avenida Menendez, The White Room on King Street and its neighboring Chatsworth Pub and Tea Room on Marine Street, the family’s long history of creating innovative businesses with a heart has surely secured them a spot in St. Augustine’s hall of fame.
“My parents bought The Worth Mansion, which is now O.C. White’s, in 1991 from Barnett Bank and restored it to what you see today,” explains Jennifer White. “His nickname was O.C. White, which he received on a ski trip with my Uncle Bucky. As he went skiing past him backwards, my uncle shouted, ‘OC!’ which meant ‘Out of Control’ and the name has stuck ever since.”
Family narratives aside, the Whites have built successful businesses over the years by finding a niche and filling it. They opened O.C. White’s Restaurant in 1992, The White Room wedding venue in 2006, The Chatsworth Pub in 2016 and are seeking approval from the City for a new family-friendly eatery at the site of the old Santa Maria Restaurant.
“We like to create businesses and new ideas,” says White. “As soon as we get a good system in place and everything is running smoothly, for some reason, we take on a new project or have a new idea. We really like what we do, and St. Augustine is a beautiful city in which to create new businesses that make for a more enjoyable experience for locals and visitors alike.”
From running one of the area’s most popular wedding venues to an English-themed pub that hosts Afternoon Tea and private parties to a bayfront seafood restaurant and another on the way, the White family sees no end to the potential of the Nation’s Oldest City.
ocwhitesrestaurant.com • whiteroomweddings.com • thechatsworthpub.com