Tavern GM: ‘We do this really weird thing…’
Tavern 4&5 in Minnesota leverages opportunity for success by doing a “really weird thing.”
Even its name has a funny story, says General Manager Dave Guistolise, who has presided over the Eden Prairie neighborhood restaurant since it first flung open its doors five years ago.
The longtime restauranteur and Boxerbrand customer explains the name, the concept, the “weird thing” in this week’s Q&A with Recipe for Success @ Boxerbrand.
Q: How did Tavern 4&5 get its name?
It’s kind of funny. When the owners went to get a liquor license, one of the board officials referred to the restaurant site as “4&5” because it is located on Highway 5 and Country Road 4. One of our owners, who lives up the street, thought it was great name, and it stuck. We’re very much a neighborhood tavern and it seemed fitting to take a name inspired by our location.
Q: You say 4&5 doesn’t try to be too chef-y. What do you mean by that?
People don’t want to go out to eat and be embarrassed because they can’t pronounce their food. Which is something that can happen when a restaurant tries to force a food concept. What we do, instead, is listen to our customers, and give them what they want. For example, when we first opened, we offered a hand-breaded chicken tender with sesame, but the kids told us they wanted something more basic, and we were happy to make it. We’ll push the envelope with what we do, but if people want something else, we learn from that, and move forward.
Q: What are some of your most popular menu items?
We sell a lot of pizzas, chicken pot pies, fish and chips, and we make a great Mahi-Mahi taco, and a very popular minute chicken with Parmesan and Panko.
Q: How has business been going?
Business is fantastic! We’re up 8 percent over last year!
Q: What’s this really weird thing your restaurant does?
We try to make great food and be really, really nice to our customers. That’s it! We don’t do any advertising, and very little social media. About 95-percent of our customers come through our doors because of word-of-mouth. So that’s our really weird thing.
Q: Any advice for aspiring restauranteurs?
Get good at business. Being successful in restaurants isn’t just about making good food. You really need to understand business, because it can be challenging making money one hamburger and beer at a time. — Tavern 4&5 is a modern American Tavern offering a flavorful twist on classic pub fare. It serves 22 craft beers on tap and all its meals “from scratch.” And, Tavern 4&5 uses Boxerbrand menu covers in its table presentation.