Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chicken Kitchen targets Nov. 15 soft opening

Manatee County's first Chicken Kitchen expects to have a soft opening Nov. 15.

The restaurant shared the news on its Facebook page late Tuesday night:

Chicken Kitchen will be located beside Tijuana Flats in the Kohl's anchored shopping center at 5215 University Parkway. Brothers-in-law Gris Bettle and Justin Mattina of Bradenton are the franchise owners overseeing the fast-casual spot.

Chicken Kitchen, based in Miami, is known for its hour-long grilling process and aims to give a more personable experience than the cafeteria-line fast food restaurants. The signature items include Chop-Chop, a diced chicken that has a distinct chopping sound customers hear while in line. It also offers Wrapitos, which are grilled tortilla wraps.

Read more here:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza has projected December opening in University Town Center

Blaze Pizza assembly line. PHOTO PROVIDED
Quick-bake pizza concept Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza is projected to open Dec. 1 in the District at University Town Center.

The company, whose investors include LeBron James, is expanding throughout Florida including at 215 N. Cattlemen Road beside Panera and JoS. A Bank.

Other Florida locations to open by the end of 2015 include its first Florida location at Ft. Lauderdale's Uptown Center in November, Gainesville in December. In 2015, Blaze will open in Orlando near University of Central Florida, Davie near Nova Southeastern University and Tallahassee.

The Bradenton Herald first reported Blaze Pizza's deal with Benderson Development in August, when the developer also inked deals with AT&T, JoS. A Bank and DSW.

Todd Mathes, director of development for Benderson Development, expects the pizza joint to be open Dec. 1.

Blaze Pizza is kind of like the Chipotle of pizza with an assembly line set up making thin-crust pies that bake in three minutes. It is very similar to the Rise Pies that opened this month inside The Mall at University Town Center.

Blaze features gluten-free options, vegan cheese, wine and craft beer. The 11-inch pizzas typically cost under $8.

"Our mission at Blaze is really simple -- we're all about bringing the community a place where guests can connect, create and enjoy great pizza at crazy fast speed," said Jim Mizes, president & COO of Blaze Pizza in a news release. "If you think about it, there hasn't been a good way to enjoy a made-from-scratch pizza without the wait. Now there is. We believe this will be a game-changer in Florida."

The first Blaze Pizza restaurant opened on Aug. 6, 2012, in Irvine, Calif.

Manatee Dunkin' Donuts opens near U.S. 301 and S.R. 70

Another day, another Dunkin' in Manatee.

Dunkin' Donuts has opened its newest Manatee County location at 5259 30th St. E., just east of the Walmart Supercenter on U.S. 301 and State Road 70.

This Double D also features a Baskin-Robbins, which is the second such combo location in Manatee. The other Dunkin-Baksin is at 612 10th St. E., off of U.S. 301 in Palmetto.

The new location also offers a drive-thru in addition to its dining room, accepts mobile payments and Dunkin' Donuts Rewards.

Dunkin' maintains 10 Manatee County locations, three of which are located inside Hess gas stations. Dunkin' also plans to add full-service shops in Ellenton and on University Parkway near Tuttle Avenue.

Hours are 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. For more information, call 941-243-3881.

University Town Center Panera sets for grand opening

Panera's Table Tracker helps staff deliver
food to customers in the dining room.
Panera Bread is readying for its grand opening on Nov. 5 on Cattlemen Road.

Panera's franchise operator Harmony Food Service announced additional details for the newest Panera in the Bradenton-Sarasota area.

The new Panera, 215 N. Cattlemen Road, will have the company's new table service program, have outdoor seating, free WiFi and a private room. Panera is also one of the retailers and restaurants supporting the new Apple Pay service for iPhone 6 users to pay in lieu of a credit card.

Panera will be open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. 

“We are thrilled to open our newest bakery-cafe in Sarasota at UTC,” said Michael Flewelling the Operations Partner for the local Panera Bread franchisee, Harmony Food Service. “Our concept has been embraced by many surrounding communities over the past 13 years, and we look forward to sharing our signature Panera warmth here at University Town Center.”

The University Town Center location will also offer Rapid Pick-Up where online/mobile orders can be placed up to five days in advance and then picked up at a shelf near the entrance after it is pre-paid.

Panera is also trying to be more health conscious as the company recently announced that by 2016 it will remove artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives from its bakery-care food menu.

The UTC Panera will also participate in the Day-End Dough-Nation and Panera Cares Community Breadbox programs.

The Day-End Dough-Nation donates unsold bread and baked goods to help neighbors in need while the Community Breadbox are boxes at the registers where cash donations will benefit All Faith's Food Bank.

Half of the donations are used to help fund soup procurement and the other half is donated as cash to support the food banks’ efforts to provide quality, nutritious food to those in need.

For more information, call 941-556-5978.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bradenton Wawa now hiring

Wawa Bradenton rendering
The first Wawa in Manatee County is now hiring.

Wawa, on the corner of Sixth Avenue East and U.S. 301 in Bradenton, is under construction and is looking for customer service employees.

Those interested can apply at and click on careers or visit this link for Bradenton openings.

The Customer Service Associate must be able to work the register, coffee station, oven station and perform fuel pump inspections, according to the job description. Other openings are anticipated as the store expects to employ 45 people.

Wawa, 701 7th St. E, is scheduled to open in December. The gas station offers made-to-order hoagies, coffee, donuts and more. This location will have 20 pumps, outdoor seating and public art.

Other Wawa stations planned but not under construction in Manatee County include on 5301 14th St. W, 4455 State Road 64 E., and on the corner of Lorraine Road and State Road 70.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Another Starbucks opens in Bradenton

Starbucks Coffee has opened its newest cafe in Manatee County.

Starbucks has opened in a strip center at 5234 14th St. W., on the corner of 14th Street and 53rd Avenue West. Starbucks closed its shop on the corner of Cortez Road and 14th Street West as part of the move.

Hours are 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. The location offers coffee, tea, prepared foods, pastries and has a drive-thru.

Another Starbucks drive-thru is under construction on University Parkway west of Tuttle Avenue, 3604 84th Ave. Circle E., and is expected to open by the end of the year. 

Its competitor Dunkin' Donuts are often nearby and it won't be any different for the 14th Street location or on University Parkway. The new University Parkway Starbucks will have a Dunkin' Donuts west of the neighboring Culver's Frozen Custard.

Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts both maintain 10 locations in Manatee County. Dunkin', which some of its 10 stores are in gas stations, will increase its count by three with plans for standalone locations in Ellenton, State Road 70/US 301 and University Parkway.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Eddie V's looking to come to Sarasota

Pacific Swordfish at Eddie V's. Photo Provided
Orlando's Darden Restaurants has a strong presence in Manatee and Sarasota counties and looks to add one more to its lineup.

George Miliotes, director of beverage and hospitality for Capital Grille and Seasons 52, said he would love to bring Eddie V's Prime Seafood to Sarasota, but there's no timetable. It's the matter of the right location, he said.

Miliotes shared that tidbit during a media dinner Monday night at the new Seasons 52 after asked by chef Judi Gallagher about the possibilities of Eddie V's coming.

Eddie V's is more of a seafood equivalent of Capital Grille, though it also serves steaks, Miliotes said.

If Eddie V's comes to the area, the only Darden property not in the two-county area would be Bahama Breeze. The Yard House, a restaurant big on beer with 100-plus taps, will be coming to Benderson's Siesta Promenade on U.S. 41 near Stickney Point Road.

Darden's properties include Bahama Breeze, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Eddie V's and The Yard House. Red Lobster was sold for $2.1 billion to a private equity company this year.