Tarpon Tavern Owner Has Become a True Tarponite

After bouncing around the Northeast, bar and restaurant owner Dan Jenkin has grown roots in Tarpon Springs that will last a lifetime.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Dan Jenkin probably never thought he'd end up in a tropical climate, much less Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Jenkin, the owner of Tarpon Tavern in downtown Tarpon, discovered the area some time after completing his college career at Penn State University, where he studied marketing, economics and real estate.

His post-college marketing research job in Connecticut was a good one, but Jenkin had other aspirations that were gaining more momentum by the day. Travel for the job left him spending a lot of time in the Caribbean and throughout Florida.

After meeting a friend in Tarpon Springs, Jenkin purchased a vacation property, where he visited seasonally. 

"I looked up and down the coast, but I fell in love with Tarpon Springs," Jenkin said.

It wasn't until 2008 when Jenkin decided to make Tarpon his permanent address. He said he was driving down Gulf to Bay with blue skies and sunshine when he pictured the scene at home: sleet and freezing rain. 

It was a no-brainer for Jenkin.

"I said, 'What am I doing?' " Jenkin remembered with a laugh. "Within the next six months, I moved here full time."

He never looked back.

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By 2010, Jenkin was on track to open his first hospitable establishment, which was more than just about providing an income. It had become a dream at that point.

"I knew that at some point in my life, I wanted to open a restaurant, bar," said Jenkin. 

Thanks to a beloved chef, Will, the need for a local bar and a slew of support from the community, Tarpon Tavern was an instant success.

Not only is there a local following, but with the Pinellas Trail in its front yard, the Tarpon Tavern draws bicyclists from all over. It has become a place where they can make a pitstop to refuel and socialize.

Jenkin's background in marketing shows in the tavern's solid blend of food, entertainment and drink options. 

On a daily basis, the offerings include 30 beers on tap, ranging from craft to domestic, wine and a menu featuring everything from the corned beef ruben to a list of vegetarian dishes.

Jenkin has considered the possibility of franchising the tavern or expanding into other areas, but he said that for now, he is content with the Tarpon Springs location.

"The idea is enticing, but this is my baby," said Jenkin. "I have to make sure that this one stays on its feet before I move forward."

Jenkin said that he has regulars and newcomers visit weekly. Each time, they leave with the same farewell message: "You are not allowed to go out of business."

More information on the Tarpon Tavern

Phone: 727-945-1000

Hours: Open everyday except Tuesday, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Rachel Jolley November 09, 2012 at 02:12 PM
This sounds like a great place for drinks and/or dinner!
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