Flatbread and Butter will open a cafe in downtown Tampa with a 3D-printed coffee bar

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Posted November 10

A St. Petersburg favorite may soon be coming to downtown Tampa.

Flatbread and Butter — a cafe that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner — is gearing up 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, pizza, sandwiches, ricotta toast with jam, parfait bowls and more.

A notable part of the coffee bar design will come from 3D concrete printing technology from a South Florida company, Printed Patio. Muire said he chose to go this route with the goal of reducing waste and offering something different. Concrete 3D printing uses only the amount of concrete needed for a design and allows for greater customization by not using molds, according to Printed Patio.

Tell us about Flatbread and Butter and how it started.

I’m from Tallahassee and my wife from Tampa. We moved to New York after college. I fell in love with the food and thought of something combining coffee and pizza for breakfast. And then we came back here. I was working remotely and also working at a pizza place to learn about the industry and work behind the scenes. We created a year-long opening plan and started as a cafe with light bites. Next, we tried using flatbread to accompany breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

When COVID hit and we had to change pretty quickly. So we started making pizzas because nobody was working anymore. The pizzas really took off and that helped grow our menu. The coffee bar was an integral part of the business. COVID was tough, but this change completely changed the business model. Since then we have been trying to expand as a café and offer dinner in the evening.

What inspired you to expand into downtown Tampa?

We are 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 found our place. But being in a neighborhood, there is a limit. There is no foot traffic like on Central Avenue so we really wanted to do something else. Naturally, we were looking at Tampa. My wife loves theater and Broadway, so she always took me to all the shows there. So we love this part located next to the Straz Center for Performing Arts. And then there’s The Henry across the street for University of Tampa students, so that seemed like a good opportunity.

When do you plan to open?

My God, that was always the big question. We signed the lease a few months after COVID. And because of all the apartments, there would always be weird things causing delays like the washing machines in the apartments above us. The building recently changed hands. We were originally thinking early this year or maybe around this time, but I think we’ll finally see the final date. We would like it to be open early next year.

You plan to have a coffee bar made from a 3D print. Explain why you wanted to go this route.

I saw a documentary about it and saw how you can do it quite effectively. It grabbed me but I was more than shocked by the finished product because it was so aesthetically beautiful and different. I was floored by his appearance. I found a company in Florida, Printed Patio. I contacted them and wanted to see if there would be any mutual interest or something that could be done for us. I love the concept of the company and its mission (to reduce waste). It also interests me to do something that has never been done before. So I always try not to copy what others 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, that has changed a lot during COVID. We always try to focus on the end result – delivering the best food and drink possible and as efficiently as possible. If we always try to focus on the little things and do it right, we hope that the overall customer experience will stay with them and they will feel satisfied spending money with us. If you succeed, they will come back.

I think the coffee model is changing. We like people who sit down and work for a while, but we also want to provide them with food to stay longer. We see people coming back for the food which is amazing. But I think the cafe model offers more than internet access and a drink. We totally respect customers who come just for that too, but we just try to be diverse in what we offer and give them a reason to come four to five days a week. Not just one.

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