The tiny restaurant—located at 305 E Polk St. in downtown Tampa behind The Hub—wasn’t making money and would stay on that path if it kept operating at the standard Roderick set for himself and his team.
“It was crazy dead. I had no enthusiasm, and I was totally undercutting all of my standards because I was desperate,” he told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.
So when the parade came around he lowered the bar and made shitty, half-ass sandwiches to schlep for whoever came through the door. Then some regulars came in and called him out.
“They were all excited to come, and they were like, “Oh, this isn’t what you normally serve,” Roderick explained. “I was super embarrassed—it was fucked up.”
So he said fuck it, resolved to never sell garbage and just make the best food possible until the money ran out.
“If I had not made that mental switch, and he had come in, it could have been a whole different picture,” Roderick added. Since that day, business at Supernatural has quadrupled. The kitchen staff has doubled.
“It was a lifeline,” he said of the endorsement.
So to celebrate, and to say thank you to all the customers, Supernatural will celebrate on Sunday, Feb. 18 by releasing a special edition t-shirt featuring a logo of Alton Brown in Tampa, designed by former Supernatural cook (and Now & Then coffee founder Davy Ball). Proceeds from sales will go to Metropolitan Ministries.
“At this point all I can say is 'thank you' to everyone who has been a part of the past year,” Roderick wrote on social media. “I couldn’t do it without you all and wouldn’t want to anyways.”