Founded in 2019, Thomas P’s Sports Bar & Patio has quickly become a top spot in Tampa Bay. The crowd-favorite location combines sports and entertainment with over 40 TVs, a large outdoor patio and bar area, and live music. Thomas P’s menu features pub favorites, a coveted Chicago-inspired Windy City pizza recipe, tacos, sandwiches, bowls, wings, wraps, deliciously crafted cocktails, and more.
We sat down with owner Thomas McHale to learn more about the business, including its history and what customers can expect from the popular sports bar.
“Fintech has given me the opportunity to run my restaurant more proficiently. It’s been the best thing ever! I can check in an order without the hassle of having to write a check. If there is an issue with a missing piece, I don’t have to deduct it and write another check – it is all handled through the Fintech system. I don’t have to sign blank checks and leave them behind if I’m not at the business and I don’t have to be there at 5 a.m. when an alcohol distributor does a key drop.”Thomas McHale | Owner, Thomas P’s
Can you tell us about the Thomas P’s story?
I used to operate multiple Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurants in the area. At one point, I was approached by Beef ‘O’ Brady’s corporate about selling my last restaurant. I was only a 25% owner of that location, so I knew if I did agree to sell, I would need to get something going right away. We eventually agreed on terms as long as I could go anywhere and do whatever I wanted with the exception of using their products, names, or colors.
While looking for a location, I visited many bars and restaurants throughout the area to get ideas for food and atmosphere. I would often ask about what sold best and what they would do differently to make it a better experience for their customers. I took those recommendations along with my employees’ great ideas and recipes and decided on a location in the Citrus Park/Carrollwood area.
Getting our Windy City pizza recipe is another story…
What is your background in the hospitality industry?
I’ve been in the business since I was 14. I started as a dishwasher at The Bowie Inn and ended up managing at Pizza Wheel by the time I was 17. My parents supported my dreams by mortgaging their house when I was 26 so I could purchase a percentage of my first location. I’ve been on many boards and committees, from menu to marketing, but I’ll be the first to admit I am more of a front-of-house guy. I don’t have any formal culinary training, but I have plenty of hands-on experience with my 28+ years in the industry.
What is your favorite cocktail on the menu?
That would have to be the Orange Crush. It’s a Maryland thing. It’s made up of Stoli orange vodka, triple sec, freshly squeezed orange juice, and topped off with Sprite. It’s a refreshing cocktail and definitely a crowd favorite.
What is your favorite menu item?
Our grilled honey BBQ and Carter (the hottest sauce we have) wings with a side of our freshly house-made blue cheese.
What would you recommend to someone trying Thomas P’s for the first time?
Definitely try our wings. We have lots of flavors to choose from, so there is something for everyone. You also can’t go wrong with our pizza options. I have to give a special thanks to Bill Henry for sharing his legendary secret recipe with us. My other recommendations would be the shrimp, our fried mozzarella planks, our meatballs, or some reuben rolls, which are basically a reuben sandwich rolled in a crispy wonton wrapper.
Do you have any customer rewards or VIP programs?
We don’t. We consider every individual that walks into our restaurant a “Very Important Person.” We strive for excellent service and food and feel giving away percentages off or freebies devalue our great establishment. We do, however, sponsor a lot of little leagues, high schools, golf tournaments, and so forth, which is a great way to give our customers something.
Can you tell us a bit more about your outdoor patio area?
We do live entertainment 4 days a week at our restaurant. That consists of Thursday-Saturday from 4-8 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. These times were chosen intentionally for customers who want to go somewhere earlier to get away and hear good acoustics. We don’t do live bands, as we want an environment where you can hear yourself talk. Mondays and Wednesdays are great opportunities for people to have meetings outside with no distractions at all.
How has Fintech helped your business?
Fintech has given me the opportunity to run my restaurant more proficiently. It’s been the best thing ever! I can check in an order without the hassle of having to write a check. If there is an issue with a missing piece, I don’t have to deduct it and write another check – it is all handled through the Fintech system. I don’t have to sign blank checks and leave them behind if I’m not at the business, and I don’t have to be there at 5 a.m. when an alcohol distributor does a key drop.