One of the most prominent faces in Tampa’s restaurant community over the last decade, Dave Burton is already working on his next concept, just months after opening Heights Melts and Heights Fish Camp at the Hall on Franklin. Gen X Tavern, an ‘80s and ‘90s themed bar, is slated to open later this year in downtown’s Bank of America building.
What’s the best thing for dessert that’s not in your restaurant? What makes it so special?
It’s funny. I’m not typically a sweets guy, but it’s the King Midas at Bern’s Harry Waugh Dessert Room. I ate it as a kid growing up in Tampa. It’s simple, but it works amazingly well. It’s carrot cake with their phenomenal house-made macadamia nut ice cream and just a little hot fudge. Every first-time visitor to Tampa should go to Bern’s because of its reputation, but no trip to Bern’s is complete without going to the dessert room, and this is my favorite thing there. It’s amazing.
What’s your philosophy for planning your own restaurants?
My favorite business saying is kind of nerdy, but it’s “the riches are in the niches.” It’s best to have a concept and really do just one thing really well.
What’s one dish served at one of your restaurants that really represents that concept?
One dish that’s very “Florida” is the grouper BLT at the Heights Fish Camp. It’s on a fresh-baked bun with grilled grouper, a little bit of bacon, lettuce and tomato, and then we put our in-house chipotle mayonnaise on there.
Editor’s note: The King Midas also appears in the TAMPA Downtown Magazine version of this feature. Coincidentally, chef Ferrell Alvarez also selected the dessert as his favorite. Check out the Downtown Best Thing I Ever Ate here.
Harry Waugh Dessert Room
Bern’s Steak House
1208 S. Howard Ave. | (813) 251-2421
Read about the other chefs and their favorites in South Tampa’s Best Thing I Ever Ate (Not In My Restaurant) feature here.