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Business Observer Friday, Jul. 13, 2018 4 months ago

New tavern concept plays the Gen X hits

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The 'forgotten generation' gets some love from a Tampa restaurateur.

Millennials, move aside. Generation X is going to party like it’s 1999 again — or perhaps even 1989 — when the Gen X Tavern opens for business in downtown Tampa.

The 1980s- and ‘90s-themed bar is the brainchild of Dave Burton, a Tampa restaurateur and, yes, proud member of Gen X — the overlooked cohort situated between the much larger baby boom and millennial generations, with the up-and-coming generation Z stealing even more of its thunder. 

“I've been fortunate enough to have had some success with some of my other [restaurant] concepts,” says Burton, “so I wanted to do one that's more of a passion project.”

The 40-year-old Burton aim to bring something different and unique to the Tampa restaurant scene and “pay homage to the two decades when I grew up … the music and movies and pop culture in general were so stellar during those two decades that I think people want to remember that.”

Burton originally planned to open the Gen X Tavern, with 35 to 40 employees, in late summer, but it’s been pushed back to the fourth quarter of 2018. 

The reason for the delay, however, is a good one: more space became available. Burton had originally planned to open the Gen X Tavern in a 3,100-square-foot, street-level space in the Bank of America Plaza’s parking garage. The tavern will increase in size to more than 5,000 square feet, though, thanks to the availability of adjacent space that used to house a restaurant.

The expansion adds significant cost to the project but should be worth it, Burton says, because much-needed kitchen infrastructure was already part of the newly acquired space. That will allow him to add more seating, décor and experiential touches, such as a Skee-Ball machine and vintage arcade games.

Gen X Tavern, Burton adds, will cater to a large swath of customers, ranging from the downtown lunch crowd and happy hour patrons to college students seeking nightlife activities such as karaoke, live music and trivia nights. “We’ll also offer a retro-themed brunch on the weekends,” he says. “We’re trying to tackle as many revenue streams as we can.”

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