We are so honored to have Suzanne, owner of Datz, Dough, and Roux (which happen to be some of south Tampa’s more popular and raved about restaurants) take over the ADP blog today for our weekly friendor Friday. Get to know all about her and her businesses below!
We also had the chance to capture Tampa beauty portraits for Suzanne recently, to see her beauty blog post click HERE.
When did you first get started in the food and beverage/restaurant industry?
We got started in such a random way! We had moved to Tampa and had left very busy lives behind. After a few months of not much to do, I mentioned to Roger that he should, “start that restaurant he’d been talking about for a while now.” What I had in mind was a very small “hobby” restaurant where we could basically hang out with friends. The project quickly picked up steam and took on a life of it’s own.
What are all the concepts you own? How are they unique?
Datz is the original. We developed it because we noticed that we were having a hard time finding someplace nice to hang out in our shorts and gym clothes. Ha! So, we made up our own place to hang out. Datz serves casual, but a little elevated comfort food in a neighborhood environment. No stilettos or suits required.
Dough, the bakery next store, was a natural progression when an old established bakery decided to retire. We are having fun with doughnuts, our own ice cream, and baking Datz’s breads in addition to a fantastic coffee bar. It’s a flirty and fun colorful counterpart to Datz’s masculine and utilitarian look.
Roux is fine dining with Louisiana’s regional flair. It is inspired by the post Katrina restaurants in the French Quarter, but also takes many cues from Cajun country. A beautiful and elegant interior make it a great spot for a date night or a business luncheon.
What inspires you to come up with your menu ideas?
Research and customer feedback. We read every industry and consumer periodical on the subject of food trends. In addition, we read all customer feedback every single day. Plus, when we travel, we like to pay attention to ideas and concepts that Tampa doesn’t have yet and bring them home.
What are some of your clients’ favorite dishes?
That depends on which store. At Datz, people love what we call “stunt food.” Big, hearty portions of sometimes semi-ridiculous things. For example, a hamburger whose bun is made of mac and cheese patties – or giant stacks of red velvet cake pancakes. Not everyday stuff, for sure. Dough? It’s about funky flavors in familiar treats. Maple doughnuts with bacon, Fruit Loop ice cream, black sea salt chocolate chip cookies. Roux? Crawfish étouffée and seafood gumbo! Oh, and bourbon bread pudding. That’s to die for.
What’s been your favorite event that Datz has been a part of so far?
The absolute most fun was a massive charity event under tents in St. Pete. We did a bacon bar. Five different flavors of bacon griddled and served hot to a crowd 10 deep. It was great. Sometimes, it’s the most simple ideas that people appreciate the most.
Do you have any tips or advice for others who are looking to start their own restaurant?
Get expert and experienced advice. Run your numbers and then double every estimate you make because everything always costs more and takes longer than you think. Listen to your customers rather than your ego.
What are the newest food trends you are seeing in entertaining?
Cocktail style parties with casual food and chef stations. For example, taco bars. Interesting craft cocktails and coffee bars with house-made, flavored simple syrups.
Do any of your restaurants have space to accommodate a rehearsal dinner or small wedding?
We do rehearsal dinners a lot, actually. Smaller ones. Informal. We have had people get married at Datz in the bar. It was cute. Dough would be a really fun and unique place to hold a small wedding, actually. There is a famous doughnut place in Portland that does weddings all the time.
What do you like to do outside of work? Tell us who YOU are!
I am all about my family, really. I have a son who just left for Texas A&M, so I am flying out to stalk him pretty regularly now. My husband, Roger, is not only my business partner, but my companion and friend. And then there’s Ben, my mutt rescue dog. We can’t forget HIM!