Grand Re-opening for Former Gas Station

Mar 1, 2018

After a total makeover, a long abandoned Tallahassee gas station will soon reopen as a place for refreshments, entertainment and socializing. The grand opening will happen next week.

The carefully restored and revitalized "Happy Motoring"
Credit Tom Flanigan

The location is the former Exxon station at the corner of South Adams and FAMU Way. A place that held a long fascination for Lucas Lindsay.

“It all started a couple of years ago when we kept driving by seeing an abandoned building and I think everyone has that building they drive by and think, ‘I wish that was something different,’” Lindsay said.

Luckily, Lindsay also had a few friends who could help make that difference for the forlorn old service station.

“Myself, Jake Kiker, Micah Widen and a few others came together and we said let’s not let it be abandoned. It’s a beautiful building, a wonderful neighborhood, let’s turn it into something cool that brings people together.”

On top of which, added Lindsay, is the traditional real estate prime directive of having a property in what is rapidly becoming a super-hot location.

“We want this to be something that catalyzes activity and growth in this whole neighborhood and it’s something that links all the way to Railroad Square along the pedestrian walkway of FAMU Way. There’s been a ton of beautiful public investment in this area and we think it’s time to step up and add to that.”

The building is now called “Happy Motoring,” an homage to the faded old Exxon slogan that survived on the front of the structure, despite its former deteriorated condition. And helping make a visit to Happy Motoring an enjoyable experience, is Amanda Morrison. She’s with Social Catering and Events.

“We really wanted to feature things down here to bring the community together. We have an amazing, diverse community of people like ourselves that are the new kids on the block and people who have been here and this has been their home for 50-plus years, so we just wanted to come in and make a space where everyone is welcome.”

A place, continued Morrison, that will be primarily be a combination coffee house/beer and wine bar.

“We’re going to make beer and wine as fun as it can be. Lots of great Florida craft beers. We’re going to be doing beer shandies, we’ve got frozen sangria on deck, so just fun drinks that you’re going to want to enjoy as you sit outside in our beautiful weather.”

Also a place that Morrison saw as a hub and a catalyst for the revitalization of the entire area south of the city’s Capitol Complex.

“We’re going to be hosting a tremendous amount of free community events out on the lawn. Things like free health and fitness classes, yoga, music, live art, anything that’s going to bring this community together. And it does literally sit on the edge of what’s new at Cascades Park and the pedestrian bridge and all the things we’re doing to grow the city. We’re looking at Gramling’s across the street that’s been there for decades and has a rich history in this neighborhood.”

But before that happens, there has to be a grand opening for Happy Motoring. Lucas Lindsay said that will kick off on Thursday, March 8th.

“We’ve got 3 full days packed with food trucks, music, people on the lawn, drinks and everyone just hanging out. We’re going to program it with Amanda’s team and Maurice from Catalina and we’re just going to blow the doors off and invite as many people and groups as we can from Southside and other parts of the community and just bring people out.”

Out to a place where those looking for fun can come and say, just as all those motorists who pulled into the station for so many years once said, “Fill ‘er up.”