Any given day, 24 Taps Burgers & Brews owner Trevor Hoffman is helping servers with patrons’ orders, prepping food or serving drinks behind the bar.
Hoffman, who has more than a decade of restaurant industry experience, began working as a server and bartender at 24 Taps Burgers & Brews more than six years ago. In 2019, Hoffman and his wife, Airianna, purchased the restaurant – which serves a variety of craft beers and gourmet burgers at 825 W. Riverside Ave. – from Josh Blair and Tom Griffiths.
Because Hoffman is typically working at the restaurant five to six days at week, it provides him an opportunity to frequently interact with customers, some of whom are loyal regulars who have supported the restaurant through the pandemic.
“We’ve had a handful of regulars that have been working at home and they’ll still come down during Friday afternoons or nights,” he said. “They’ve been super supportive in that aspect during the pandemic. It’s really awesome to see. Our regulars have been huge. They know all of us by name. We know all their back stories. It’s pretty cool and it’s a lot of fun.”
Hoffman’s hands-on approach to operating 24 Taps Burgers & Brews comes from a passion for the industry.
“I love being active and being open with people,” he said. “I just love interacting and being able to give people good experiences, and enjoy being on the floor.”
Hoffman was raised in Chattaroy and graduated from Riverside High School in 2010. When he was a senior in high school, he got his first job as a host at Applebee’s. He later became a car-side server and bartender after turning 21.
While at Applebee’s, Hoffman was approached by Marine Corps recruiters, who were regular patrons of the restaurant.
“They wanted me to go in and talk with them,” Hoffman said. “So I ended up going in, I liked them and enjoyed what they said with trying to set me up for the future.”
Hoffman joined the Marine Corps Reserve in 2011, where he specialized in artillery, and attended a weekend a month and two weeks each summer.
In 2015, he joined BNSF Railway Co. to become a train conductor, but his class was furloughed right after they completed training. Hoffman went back to work at Applebee’s and decided the railroad wasn’t for him.
“When I came back from the railroad, they were looking for someone at 24 Taps to serve and bartend. I was working at both Applebee’s and Taps, and I liked it so much,” he said. “I just started working there full time and then kind of became the main guy there.”
From server to restaurant owner
Hoffman continued to balance work at 24 Taps with the Marine Corps Reserve but began transitioning out of the military as he took on more of a leadership role at the restaurant.
“Our (drill) weekends were usually four days, and usually Hoopfest weekend is when we would have drill,” Hoffman said. “So (the owners) were like, ‘Hey, we kind of need you here.’ And so I think that’s when Taps was actually setting me up – even before I knew it – to kind of take over.”
Blair and Griffiths approached Hoffman and his wife about purchasing the restaurant in 2019. Hoffman had thought about opening a restaurant years down the road, but the opportunity already was there.
“It happened a lot sooner than we were anticipating and we decided to jump on board,” Hoffman said.
Navigating the pandemic
When the coronavirus pandemic forced restaurants to shut down indoor dining in the state last year, 24 Taps Burgers & Brews pivoted to serving to-go orders.
“We had never done that many to-go orders in the past, and being on lockdown, that’s what we had to turn to,” Hoffman said.
Even though 24 Taps Burgers & Brews is now allowed to have indoor dining, to-go orders have remained brisk, Hoffman added.
“Our busiest day for to-go orders was Mother’s Day, which was kind of surprising to me,” he said.
Hoffman said navigating the pandemic has been the most challenging aspect of owning the restaurant, especially when he was forced to temporarily lay off employees.
“And then it was playing, almost weekly, off what phase are we in? What are we going to do next? What new rules do we have to go by? Definitely the pandemic was the most challenging thing,” Hoffman said. “We are bringing everybody back and, hopefully later on this month, we’re able to open back up all the way and get things rolling again.”
Ready for reopening
Hoffman is working on new menu items for the restaurant, including a salad, a couple of chicken sandwiches and more sauce options for wings.
Because 24 Taps is sports-driven, Hoffman is looking forward to opening up to full capacity later this year for the Summer Olympics and football in the fall. The restaurant already is getting more foot traffic from hotels, he said.
“I’ll just be getting amped up and ready for when things open up completely and to get staffed up for that as well,” he said.
“I just love interacting and being able to give people good experiences, and enjoy being on the floor.” Trevor Hoffman Owner of 24 Taps Burgers & Brews
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