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DATZ 3.0: From deli to gastropub, a brief history
A first visit might cause some confusion. Then again, so would a second. Or a third. Indeed, from the very start, Datz has always been something of an enigma.
On opening day two years ago, January 28, 2009, Datz was a very different place. Inspired by Ann Arbor’s famed Zingerman’s, greeters engaged guests at the door with samples of gourmet retail products. Order takers queued up at the downstairs deli to answer questions about the enormous sandwich menu and take orders. Food runners rushed from the kitchen calling out deliveries ballpark style: “Roger’s Rockin’ Rueben... I’ve got Roger’s Rockin’ Rueben for Frank.”
It took less than a week for owners Suzanne and Roger Perry to realize that the sandwiches were a hit, but South Tampa wasn’t having any part of the charming food auctions that made Zingerman’s unique. Thinking on their feet, they closed shop for the weekend, retrained the entire staff and opened as a full-service restaurant.
And it’s been that way ever since—a revolving door of invention, reinvention. Critics joke that Datz's constant evolution is either ridiculously stupid or incredibly genius. Guests remark that the only "constant" at Datz is change. Which is exactly the point. It’s innovative and fun, which is exactly what we want Datz to be every day. In fact, we believe that a huge part of Datz’s success is our ability to adapt, oftentimes on the fly. Datz 2.0, as 2010 was dubbed, was an entirely different experience than Datz Deli 2009. First, we dropped the deli concept. Big sandwiches, housemade corned beef and pastrami, gourmet pickles? Yes. But Datz isn’t Carnegie or Katz and so the name became Datz. Just Datz. With the addition of 37 craft beers on tap (six in ’09), 40 wines by the glass (32 in ’09) and a convivial atmosphere that urged guests to linger, many thought it was now a bar (the Tap Room replaced the deli case in January). But the chandeliers, brown leather banquettes and new entree menu with chicken n’ waffles, smoked tenderloin and pan-seared meatloaf shouted American gastropub.
Which was it? Bar or restaurant? Well, both, actually—and more. The new Datz was, and is, comfort food with a flair. It’s a craft beer oasis, a wine lover’s paradise, a culinary education center and a specialty food market all rolled into one. And surprise... with another calendar year comes even more change! Thus far Datz 3.0 includes a very spirited endeavor (pun intended) that pairs an eclectic cocktail menu with artisanal liquors found nowhere else in Tampa, in addition to seasonal menu changes that reflect a growing community appetite for entrees. Unique, different and always effervescent, we love what we’re becoming, even when we don’t quite know that that is. It’s part of our endearing charm.
Of course, one thing hasn’t changed: We still think ordinary belongs in the dictionary, not in a restaurant. Especially ours. It’s why we do what we do—try something new, change on a dime, reinvent the wheel. It’s why we travel the country and the world in search of the very best products to bring back to you. So when you leave, you’ll come back to see us. Again. And again. Even if it's just to see what's new. As for Datz 4.0? Well, that’s already in the works. We think.
We'd love to hear from you!
2616 S. MacDill Ave. | Tampa, Florida 33629 | 813.831.7000 | fax 813.831.7044 | firstname.lastname@example.org
ROGER PERRY, CO-OWNER
Growing up on the family's southern Ohio farm, Roger Perry's formative youth was spent tending to a plethora of livestock—dairy cows, turkeys, hogs, chicken and sheep. Farm-raised meats, fresh eggs, milk and fish from the farm's three ponds were staples on the supper table, as were his mother’s and grandmothers’ hand-harvested fruit, squash, corn, tomatoes, green beans and peas, all of which were either eaten fresh or preserved for the winter months ahead.
Though food and farming remained an integral part of his life, Roger turned his eye toward business, graduating from Ohio State University with a degree in History and Political Science. In 1984, he purchased the small pet food and supply company in Columbus where and, over the next decade, turned it into the largest chain of pet food superstores in the Midwest before selling to Petsmart in 1994.
Still, the years spent traveling the world for business only honed Roger's love of food. From Brazil to Italy, France to Hawaii, Santa Fe to New Orleans, everywhere he went Roger was amazed at the quality and the simplicity of the local cuisine. And he was stunned that more people didn't truly realize what good food truly meant. So with a renewed passion for the quality comfort food of his youth and the global treats hidden within every culture, Roger decided to embark on a new journey—and that's where the Datz story begins.
SUZANNE PERRY, CO-OWNER & BOSS LADY
How do you go from bussing tables in t-shirts and jeans to socializing in St. John Knits? If you're Suzanne Perry, you do it with stylish aplomb. The co-owner of Datz sizzles with high energy as she effortlessly juggles public relations, customer service, event planning and philanthropic endeavors—which plays a big role in Datz's business plan. "Part of our mission statement says that we believe to giving back to those in need," says Suzanne. "With this passion we hope to enrich the lives of our customers, employees, the community and the earth upon which we live." In the two years Datz has been open, Suzanne has been able to use Datz for the greater good, supporting Tampa General Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, USF, Plant High School, Hyde Park Preservation, Tampa Museum of Art, the Humane Society, Steeplechase, Junior League of Tampa, Gorrie Elementary, Woodrow Wilson Middle School and many more.
HEATHER STALKER, DIRECTOR OF FUN
Heather Anne Stalker doesn’t wear starched white jackets or fancy toques. But don’t let that casual façade fool you—she is a great writer, a fantastic cook and her infectious passion for food and wine of every kind is, quite literally, contagious. Which makes her the perfect culinary liaison for all things Datz. One part chef, one part journalist, one part artist—Heather’s professional training (BA in journalism and photography, culinary arts) has been a personal recipe in the making. “My first job took me around the world photographing and writing about water sports—water skiing, windsurfing, wakeboarding. 28 countries later, I found myself in a global love affair with food and wine that has yet to be satiated.” Thankfully Heather also happens to be a great multi-tasker. As Datz’s Director of Fun/Jill of all Trades, her responsibilities include chef, scribe, public relations, marketing, culinary educator/expert, and, on occasion, manager.
DANNY REID, CRAFT BEER MANAGER (aka GENIUS)
For Danny Reid, beer isn't a job, it's a lifelong passion. An avid homebrewer, Cicerone Certified Beer Server and BJCP Judge, Danny loves using his expansive knowledge of beer styles, ingredients and craft breweries to help expand your beer palate (and appreciation), as well as pair any beer to virtually any food. "My favorite thing is picking a beer for someone who says they don't really like beer," he says. "There's a style out there for everybody; the trick is taking the time to find it. Honestly, there's no better compliment than watching someone take that first sip of a beer I've selected for them and hearing them say, 'Wow! I didn't know beer could taste like this!" So, go ahead. Challenge him. We dare you! But be careful...Once you start talking beer with Danny, you're going to be there for a while.
ERICA SAYADOFF, GENERAL MANAGER
SHANE ZINN, CATERING + EVENTS
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