South Tampa Tenacity Drives Entrepreneur From Showroom To Saloon

Lynn Love had been selling cars at 4914 S. MacDill Ave. for 23 years when his business began to falter. So in 2008, he decided to do something about it. He bought a catering wagon. Today it's a restaurant: Love's Artifacts Bar and Grille.

"I went down to Miami and bought a 25-foot wagon," recalls Love. "I set it in the parking lot and I started selling food—Italian sausage, ribs, chicken, vegetables. The ribs really worked well. They were like a $5,000 Toyota. I was selling them cheap and doing great volume. So I saw that the food thing would work."

Love says he owes a lot to the community. The back of his menu lists the many people, from contractors to customers, to whom he is thankful for helping make his vision a reality.

"People want it to work. They speak highly of it. We probably turned away 30 people because we just didn't have room for them. So it's working. We have a great group of people coming in. They are what's turned this place into a great place to hang out.

He also sees that his business model and the area are ripe for a future franchise.

"I've read they do a lot of demographics testing and modeling here. Outback, Hooter's and GrillSmith, they've all test marketed here and I think it's because the demographics are so close to everywhere else."

True to its name, Artifact's décor is an eclectic collection of antiques and memorabilia. Leather armchairs join wooden ones at tables in the bar. Old album covers and singles line the walls. The menu consists of ribs, chicken, pork, shrimp and fish, along with featured specials such as pasta and rib eye steak. Love recommends the fried chicken. "It's the number one thing on the menu."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Lynn Love, Love's Artifacts Bar and Grille
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