By: Mariel Carbone | Eyewitness News
March 6, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A new business opening shop this week is offering a glimpse at what could be for the SOMO district.
Happy Motoring is set to hold its grand opening on Thursday.
The bar is a collaborative hub that will offer beer, cocktails and coffee, and will serve as a host for local food trucks. Together, the development company Foremost, the hospitality group For the Table, and Tallahassee Tea Company, which is backed by Catalina Cafe, will serve up customers.
"[We're] just trying to make it fun and relaxed and as casual as possible because we want everyone to feel like they can come here and have a good time," said Amanda Morrison, a Managing Partner of For the Table's Social Catering.
Happy Motoring is located on the corner of Adams Street and FAMU Way. That's just one block west of South Monroe Street, an area deemed "SOMO." Both the City and County have been working to revitalize that general corridor and have laid the groundwork with various public projects.
"We just saw the amount of investment going on through FAMU Way, Cascades Park Trail. There's a lot of vision, and time and planning behind that," said Lucas Lindsey, a Partner with Foremost. "What that needs to really activate it is people from the private industry to invest along side of it. We're excited to be a part of making that happen. And, joining a lot of great businesses down here that have existed for decades. There's so much history in this area.
For local officials, the new shop is an example of public projects showing return.
"[Cascades Park, the pedestrian bridge and trails] all culminated in a great investment opportunity in South Monroe," said Al Latimer, CEO of the Office of Economic Development. "Happy Motoring has located at the nexus, which is a private investment. We hope there is additional private investment that will companion it."
The shop sits on the site of an old Exxon gas station, with the name paying homage to what was there before. The lot has been vacant for years and those behind the project wanted to preserve the old building.
"We really hope that we start the process here in this little segment of the community, instead of just tearing things down and building new construction that doesn't quite have the character, that we're finding these gems that can still be saved and giving them this second life," said Morrison.
She also noted that many of them live in the general area and wanted to do something good for their neighborhood.
Happy Motoring will hold its grand opening on Thursday at 4 p.m.
Regular business hours will be Thursday 4 to 10 p.m., Friday 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Saturday noon to midnight.