Roger and Suzanne Perry, co-owners of Tampa-based Datz Restaurant Group, announced the official opening of their newest concept, donovan’s Modern American Meatery in Riverview, Florida. This fresh, unstuffy take on the classic steakhouse is the latest addition to Datz’s ever-popular, fun-loving restaurant group, featuring a dazzling array of steaks, seafood, wild game and veggies fired in a state-of-the-art kitchen helmed by Executive Chef Lee Jasper.
With the opening of donovan’s, the Perrys bring to life a dream 15 years in the making. Named for Roger’s late father, Russell “Donovan” Perry, and inspired by his childhood growing up on a modest family farm in rural Ohio, donovan’s menu embodies the family’s ethos on the farm of, “If we didn’t grow it, we don’t eat it.”
The star of the new rustic yet elevated “meatery” is a 14-foot, custom, double wood-fired grill and oven built for the restaurant by J&R Manufacturing in Mesquite, Texas, allowing diners to look on as orders cook on an open fire. Elsewhere in the expansive, state-of-the-art kitchen, hefty cuts of prime rib smoke in a Southern Pride Smoker and flatbreads with crust baked to perfection emerge from a Woodstone oven.
The Perrys have tapped exceptional talent from within their successful restaurant group to lead the team at donovan’s. Jasper leverages his years of experience as a pitmaster at the acclaimed Kreuz Market in Texas and locally at Datz’s Dr. BBQ to stoke the fire at donovan’s. His strong foundation in expertly preparing large portions of meats makes him the perfect chef to execute signature menu items like Wild Boar with Berry Compote, Smoked Spare Ribs, and of course, Certified Angus Beef , American Wagyu, Brasstown grass-fed steaks. The ambiance of the restaurant and the menu work hand in hand, as evidenced by touches like the House-Made Tallow Candle starter, molded with fresh herbs and spices into conical and pyramid-shaped candles that are lit in the kitchen to create a striking table presentation, then melt down for dipping grilled toast and various meats throughout the meal.
In addition to keeping the carnivores happy, donovan’s offers vegetable-forward dishes like Cauliflower Alfredo, Steakhouse Potato Planks with Tequila Habanero Queso and Flame-Grilled Artichokes.
Datz’s signature tradition of strong, inventive cocktails continues at donovan’s, with legendary mixologistDean Hurst leading the bar program, crafting simple, balanced libations that perfectly complement donovan’s hearty, homestyle dishes, as well as a wine list to impress the most discerning palate. Cocktail highlights include Big Guava, made with Florida cane ‘en canto’ rum, guava and lime—an ode to Tampa Bay’s tropical vibe—as well as the visually delightful Queen of Hearts, composed of Hendrick’s gin, hibiscus, cardamom, lemon and egg white. As an update on a nostalgic steakhouse classic, the Steak House Martini serves up Wheatly Vodka garnished with a smoked prime rib and blue cheese stuffed olive.
In keeping with Datz’s special brand of understated but expert hospitality, donovan’s eschews the flashy, over-the top, “high-roller” steakhouse routine in favor of a more fun and approachable atmosphere. Second-hand furniture and fixtures create a “comfortable cosmopolitan” vibe in the 5,700-square-foot, 150-seat space with plentiful outdoor seating. Design elements include a mix of polished concrete, repurposed wood, upcycled furniture, antique French doors, and pastoral table settings, all coming together to provide a homey, convivial ambiance that reflects the familial inspiration for the concept.