Thursday, April 9, 2015

Lunch at the Rowdies Den

I was in downtown St. Pete on Tuesday about lunchtime so I dropped into the new Rowdies Den, a Rowdies/soccer themed sports bar. The Rowdies Den is located at the corner of 1st Ave South and Second Street. That's the former Midtown Sundries location.

If you are expecting a typical Bill Edwards do over, you're in for a surprise. It looks like they closed the deal, got the keys, walked in, dusted every thing off, painted the vertical walls green, put up some Rowdies memorabilia and hung out the "open" sign.

Everything else is pretty much vintage Midtown.

There is a really neat soccer ball mural on the wall in the main dining room.

The menu is typical bar fare; prices are pretty much in line with downtown St. Pete. 

I had a Bills Burger($9). It came with homemade chips. The burger was big and good, done just like I ordered it, but the chips were a bit over cooked.

Biggest issue was the service. There were a only few people having lunch and it shouldn't take 20-25 minutes plus to get a burger and chips on a weekday when most people are on a workday 1 hour or so lunch. The guys down the bar from me, who already there when I walked in and had ordered, finally got their orders. They wolfed down some of it and had to leave.

Midtown was never noted for its speedy service at lunch so maybe it's the kitchen layout.

Given what I would expect to be really big game night crowds (ala Fergs), the Edward's team better take a close look at the kitchen and the kitchen help. If they picked up the old team, it may be time for a little recruiting.

The Den has only been open for a few days' maybe things will pick up. 

Some things that would help and not cost much: change out that really ugly hostess station and put in an actual ticket window, maybe a replica from Al Lang and actually sell tickets.

It could be open every day, would add a real "game" feel to the place and would probably put a few butts in seats.

Given the way things are going, if Bill and Stu are on speaking terms, they might even be able to sell some Rays game day tickets too.

It would be kind of neat to stop by for pregame, buy your tickets and head over to the stadium.

If they are going to keep the big room game area, which I have always thought was a huge waste of space, at least get a couple of soccer themed games.

Finally some of the old Midtown furniture could stand to be replaced to give the place a fresher look and more millennial appeal.

Edwards also picked up the parking garage above and behind the Den. It is well signed and will be open to provide additional parking for Rowdies games.

The menu is cute, the food pretty good the prices are reasonable, but service, as in all sports bars, is going to be the key. I doubt the Den can make it on game night business alone, and week day lunch and happy hour will be critical.

If things don't improve the Den could be lonely place when the Rowdies aren't playing. 

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