Donya DeVore has officially seen every aspect of the restaurant business.
The former hostess, waitress, bartender and manager is now the sole owner of her own project, . The Riverview native saw a need for a late-night establishment that served both food and drinks and has morphed what she originally envisioned as a seafood restaurant into a home for drink specials and live entertainment.
"This isn't the first business opening I've been a part of, but being an owner and in the bar business is completely different from anything I've ever done," DeVore said. "It's great, but it's a lot of work."
The 27-year old DeVore got her start at Applebee's at a young age working as a hostess and took on different roles around the restaurant as she changed locations working for Cheddar's and Chili's along the way.
Eventually, she wanted her own bar and bought up the old location at 11238 Boyette Rd. Its replacement, Amberjacks, serves a little bit of everything, from burgers to seafood and everything in between, but it's the drink specials that attract the locals.
"Everybody likes it and says that they've noticed a big change," DeVore said. "People are just happy to have a place like this open late I think. This area is very welcoming and positive so it's been nice."
What makes Amberjacks different, DeVore says, is the lack of corporate baggage. The people who come in get to know the staff, and DeVore can sometimes even be seen behind the bar working a shift with an honest smile and a friendly handshake.
"What I wanted to do was make something different that doesn't have all that corporate atmosphere," DeVore said. "We serve food until close, we have karaoke two nights a week, live music on Fridays, kids' specials on Sundays, hospitality specials on Mondays, drink specials every other night of the week. We're a neighborhood spot."
For more information about Amberjacks and its specials, call 813-677-4848.