Love’s Artifacts Bar and Grill
A former used car salesman’s new labor of love is paying off
Lynn Love remembers exactly where he was standing when he decided to trade in his cars for a kitchen.
“I was standing in front of (what is now) the liquor wall,” says Love. He looked around and thought: it’s time to call it quits.
After 22 years in the used car industry, it was tough for him to face the fact that the economy wasn’t going to recover anytime soon. As owner of Love’s Auto Sales, he has established a name for himself in South Tampa, and admitting defeat wasn’t easy. But Love’s not one to give up so quickly.
He figured, “If you can be happy selling used cars, you oughta be able to do food.”
So Love set up a mobile kitchen in the parking lot and started grilling and selling ribs and Italian sausage. Earlier this year, Love remodeled the car dealership and opened a full-service restaurant and bar. The décor is a hodgepodge of recovered furniture and artifacts, and Friday and Saturday nights feature live music.
It may seem as though Love traded apples for oranges, but he insists that ultimately, it’s still the service industry, and the underlying principle remains the same: treat people as well as you possibly can. Whether it’s the customer service or the famous fried chicken, one thing’s for sure, Love’s Artifacts Bar and Grill has struck a chord with locals. Even Food Network has caught wind of this unlikely sensation; its hit show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives—hosted by celebrity chef Guy Fieri—recently paid a visit to the restaurant to tape a segment.
Don’t expect fanciness of any kind here. Award-winning fried chicken. Pulled pork. Collard greens. Saucy ribs. Creamy shrimp and grits. This is basic comfort food heaven. Sure, every now and then they’ll feature prime rib or fresh grouper, but the highlights are the down-home menu items. Love’s is now famous for its peanut butter-stuffed jalapeno poppers—hey, it may sounds odd, but the regulars can’t get enough.
4914 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa, FL 33611 // (813) 831-3273