A St. Petersburg favorite may be coming soon to downtown Tampa.
Flatbread and Butter — a cafe which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner— is preparing to open early next year on the first floor of the AVE Tampa Riverwalk apartments, owner Jesse Muire told the Tampa Bay Times. Its menu features coffee, flatbreads, pizzas, sandwiches, ricotta toast with jam, parfait bowls and more.
A notable part of the coffee bar design will come from concrete 3D-printing technology from a South Florida company, Printed Patio. Muire said he chose to go this route in an effort to reduce waste and offer something different. Concrete 3D-printing uses only the amount of concrete needed for a design and allows for more customization by not using molds, according to Printed Patio.
Tell us about Flatbread and Butter and how it got started.
I’m from Tallahassee and my wife’s from Tampa. We moved to New York after college. I just fell in love with food and toyed with the idea of something combining coffee and breakfast pizza. And then we moved back here. I was working remotely and also working at a pizza place to get knowledgeable in the industry and work behind the scenes. We created a one-year plan to open and started off as a coffee shop with light bites. Then we tried to use flatbread as a way to tie in breakfast, lunch and dinner.
When COVID hit and we had to shift pretty quickly. So we started doing pizzas because no one was going to work anymore. The pizzas really took off and that helped grow our menu. The coffee bar was an integral part of the company. COVID was tough but that shift completely changed the business model. We’ve been trying to just grow ever since as a cafe and offering dinner at night.
What got you to expand into downtown Tampa?
We’re currently in Uptown St. Pete, which we love. We always felt like the neighborhood was so open to us as a new concept when we were finding our footing. But being in a neighborhood there’s a limit. There is no walking traffic like being on Central Avenue so we really wanted to do something else. Naturally we were looking at Tampa. My wife’s into theater and Broadway so she always took me to all the shows up there. So we love that part of it being next to the Straz Center for Performing Arts. And then there’s The Henry across the street for the University of Tampa students so it just seemed like a good opportunity.
When are you planning on opening?
Gosh, that was always the big question. We signed the lease a couple months after COVID. And because of all the apartments, there would always be strange things that would cause the delays like washing machines from the apartments above us. The building recently changed ownership. We originally thought at the beginning of this year or maybe around this time but I think we’re finally locking in on the final date. We’d like it to be open by the beginning of next year.
You’re planning on having a coffee bar made from 3D printing. Explain why you wanted to go that route.
I saw a documentary on it and saw how you can do it pretty efficiently. That grabbed me but I was more so just shocked by the finished product because it was just so aesthetically beautiful and different. I was floored by the look of it. I found a company in Florida, Printed Patio. I reached out to them and wanted to see if there would be mutual interest or something that could be done for us. I love the concept behind the company and its mission (to reduce waste). It also interests me to do something that hasn’t been done before. So I always try not to copy what other people are doing. It was an interesting way to do something new for us.
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What do you think is the biggest trend affecting you as a business owner?
Well, it has shifted a lot during COVID. We always try to focus on the end result - to provide as good of food and drinks as possible and as efficiently as possible. If we always just try to focus on the little things and get those right, hopefully the big picture experience for customers sticks with them and they feel satisfied spending money with us. If you accomplish that, then they’ll return.
I think the coffee shop model is shifting. We love people who sit and work for a while but we also want to provide them food to stay longer. We see people keep coming back for the food which is amazing. But I do think the coffee shop model is providing more than just internet and a drink. We do totally respect those customers who come just for that too, but we’re just trying to be diverse in what we offer and give them a reason to come four to five days a week. Not just one.