By Christine Scott
Gulf Boulevard in St. Pete Beach adds another restaurant choice to its horizon of eateries, hotels, and gift shops. Boulevard Burgers and Tap House on 5905 Gulf Blvd, has a busy lunch hour for a weekday. The location had been unoccupied for over a year until six months ago. The shell of an old Cuban stand stood as a defunct building on the corners of Gulf Winds Drive and Gulf Boulevard until the new owner came in.
The outside dining area is spacious and the full liquor bar is on the patio under a new roof. Tuned into baseball and gulf channels, six large televisions hang from the ceiling above the bar for viewing from any angle on the patio. The few personnel wear sports jerseys, giving the restaurant a vague sports bar ambiance. Available on the menu are specialty burgers, some salads, various wraps and a few deserts. The inside dining area is under construction and unavailable to guests, but the kitchen is open for orders.
The owners opened the restaurant in late October with no advertising and were very successful. The aroma of wood and paint occasionally prevail over the kitchen. Centrally located across from the Trade Winds Resort and south of McDonald’s, its vivacious patio activity may bring people in out of curiosity alone.
The menu is over-sized and bulky, but well designed into categories for the ease of deciding on what to order. Prices are moderate beginning with the appetizers from $6.00. Wings are tasty and they come with ranch or bleu cheese. Just enough spice and butter in the sauce make them a great choice before burgers and enough to share. Beach prices are presumably higher, but spending on food from out of town visitors can be more expensive at hotels. Specialty burgers are listed with ingredients such as sautéed mushrooms and grilled onions, to choosing the type of bun out of three choices. Bacon cheeseburger on brioche with mustard and pickle is extremely delicious and with a choice of fries, sweet potato fries, or onion rings for one dollar more (it is worth the cost). Ordering a well-done burger is the normal practice, but the kitchen will honor requests for different meat temperatures. There were also many more choices like wraps, fish tacos, and grouper sandwiches. Locally brewed tap beer from Tampa and St. Petersburg are listed as well as tea, coffee, and soda. The menu does not convey a lot of personality, but the presentation of the food succeeds where the menu fails..
Operations in the front of the house appear to run smooth and the service is fast. Food is served in plastic baskets with liners and all beverages are served in plastic throwaway cups. The female bartender chatting with her customers treated everyone with a huge smile as they walked by. Condiments on the table pre-arranged in its own caddy, is a service industry shortcut for customer satisfaction. An articulate server like Spencer is anxious to give the customer exactly what they ordered or how much they ordered. He stated, “I never want to make any customer angry on the first night, or any night. After our soft opening customers began to return.” Two servers would be more efficient on the patio, but Spencer takes it in stride and delivers on his promises.
Opening a restaurant is competitive business, but this restaurant has the key elements in place like inviting tables, a running kitchen, and great personnel to get started. Boulevard Burgers and Tap House is on the road to success.
Photo from Boulevard Burgers & Tap House – Find them on Facebook.