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The Hustle

Name: Story Stuart & Steve Bliven (Beans & Barlour)

Posted By Kendel Burke

Beans & Barlour is a craft coffee bar and dessert lounge that serves all your favorite desserts … with a kick. Owners Story Stuart and Steve Bliven’s homemade ice cream is infused with real booze, with alcohol levels ranging between 7-12 percent ABV. Expert baristas cook the alcohol into the desserts, and then add more, so that guests can enjoy the flavor and a subtle buzz. The quaint and cozy atmosphere welcomes everyone, as Beans & Barlour also serves vegan-friendly and non-alcoholic treats as well as coffee, espresso and tea. Story and Steve handpick their coffee beans - and serve certified organic and fair trade coffee.

Years in Tampa Bay


Hustle (job)

Owners of Beans & Barlour

What do you do?  

Beans & Barlour is a craft coffee bar and dessert lounge that specializes in alcohol-infused ice cream and artisanally roasted coffee.

Why do you do it?

Downtown St Pete is quickly becoming a foodie’s paradise, with new restaurants opening on what feels like a weekly basis. e wanted to create a concept that complemented the restaurants that are already here while creating a space we knew St Pete needed. Beans & Barlour truly has something for everyone – whether you’re grabbing morning coffee on the go, happy hour with co-workers, dinner with the family or a late night treat with a special someone.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

Story started her career as a waitress at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Over the course of a few years she worked her way up to being a Food & Beverage Experience Manager at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower, where she oversaw the operation of several high-volume restaurants. She left the company in 2016 to open Story Brooke Craft Coffee Bar on St Pete’s South Side.

Steve opened an ice cream shop in New York at the age of 18. After noticing a need for a supplier that services specialty food establishments, he started Arctic Supplies, a restaurant supply distribution company that services thousands of customers throughout Tampa Bay and the U.S., and was recently named one of Inc magazine’s fastest growing private companies of 2018.

Beans & Barlour is the culmination of both of our work experiences and a canvas for the creativity we both harbor.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

People tend to assume that since we were both 25 when we opened Beans & Barlour that we’re backed by some restaurant conglomerate, investor or wealthy parents. We’re flattered by the notion, but it’s far from reality. We’ve both worked hard to get to where we are. We remodeled the entire restaurant ourselves and built almost everything you see inside with our own hands and our own wallets. No outside investments, loans or gifts.

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

Keeping up. We knew we had a good idea but we had no idea just how strong the response would be from the community. Almost everything we sell at Beans & Barlour is made completely from scratch, including the ice cream. No pre-made mixes, concentrates or syrups. Offering the highest quality product possible is most important to us, even if that means selling out of certain flavors on our busiest nights. When we’re not in the shop we’re in our production facility, churning out as much ice cream as we can seven days a week.

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

You have to love what you do and you have to have fun doing it. When you put in these kinds of hours it has to be because you love it. We’re each other’s best friends and we have a blast working alongside each other and our team every day, and we love seeing customers’ reactions when they get to try, for the first time, something we created.

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