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.

Celebrity appearances in abundance at Mall at UTC opening

Robert Taubman, left, president, chairman and CEO of
Taubman Centers with Marigay McKee, president
of Saks Fifth Avenue. (Photo by Charles Schelle)
If you ever wanted to meet certain celebrities, designers and top-level retail executives, this is the weekend to do it.

Several stores will have special appearances during the grand opening weekend and beyond.

Here's a rundown of the appearances:

  • HGTV's David Bromstad at Macy's — 10 a.m. ribbon cutting at north entrance and 1 p.m. fashion show in north parking lot
  • String Theory at Saks — 9 a.m. performance at ribbon cutting
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans at Champs Sports — 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Photography not allowed
  • Lovesac Founder Shawny D. Nelson — Will be in store throughout day.
  • Marigay McKee, president of Saks Fifth Avenue — 9 a.m. store ribbon cutting.
  • Joe Zeiden, co-founder and SVP Real Estate of Z Gallerie — 9:45 a.m. ribbon cutting appearance
  • Alexandra Dillard, granddaughter of Dillard's founder William T. Dillard and corporate merchandising manager for the department stores — 11 a.m. fashion show at Dillard's
  • Arthur Levine, designer for Tahari ASL — 11 a.m. fashion show at Dillard's
  • Nicole Miller of Nicole Miller Artelier — 1 p.m. fashion show at Dillard's 
  • Robert Taubman, chairman, president and CEO of Taubman Centers — 9:30 a.m. mall ribbon cutting.
Though not scheduled, several top officials who are celebrities in their own right have been spotted at the mall. They include:
  • George Miliotes, master sommelier and Darden Restaurants executive responsible for Seasons 52 plus wine program at The Capital Grille
  • David Gordon, president of Cheesecake Factory
  • Tina Goldfield, founder of Tees by Tina/TINA Stephens
  • Eddie Muransky, founder of Rise Pies Handcrafted Pizza and largest franchisee of Auntie Anne's Soft Pretzels

Dillard's has several big name appearances scheduled with some mentioned above. The entire list can be read here. Other events planned for Thursday from Dillard's:
  • Noon to 4 p.m. Meet Francine Porter, creator of Osmotics, a non-surgical facelift product.
  • 4 p.m. Meet Elan Savir for the Elan International Fashion Show.
  • 7 p.m. Meet Gail Hail Hartin, designer for Fresh Produce at a store fashion show.

Mall at UTC Apple store opening comes with teaser of new gadgets

Apple Store inside Mall at University Town Center.
When the Mall at University Town Center Apple Store opens Thursday, it will be extra special for Apple fans.

Apple is teasing a special event at 1 p.m. EDT to be live streamed from Cupertino, Calif., where the company is expected to unveil a new Mac operating system, computers, new iPads and launch date for ApplePay, the Associated Press reported.

As if the furor over the new mall and new Apple Store won't be enough Thursday, that will surely put it over the top for those in the store at that time. At opening, Apple will give away 1,000 T-shirts to the first customers through the doors starting at 10 a.m.

Stay tuned here for updates of action at the Apple Store inside the Mall at UTC.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Freebies and sales for Mall at University Town Center grand opening weekend (UPDATED)

Folks looking for freebies at the Mall at University Town Center will have several options.

The Mall at University Town Center announced Thursday a lineup of giveaways and discounts in store.

This list posted on the mall's website is in addition to the giveaways and shows the Bradenton Herald previously reported for Dillard's and Macy's:

Oct. 16

Apple: First 1,000 customers get a free T-shirt
Camicissima Milano: Use shirt fitting services and opportunities to win free cuff links, ties and in-store shirt embroidery, while supplies last.
Champs: Meet Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wide Receiver Mike Evans from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. (no photographs)

Oct. 18; stores open at 10 a.m.
  • Mall at UTC gift: Spend $350 or more any time through Oct. 16-19 and receive a limited edition UTC wristlet free
  • Forever 21: The first 300 customers in line at 10 a.m. will receive a randomly selected gift card valued at either $10, $20, $50, $100, or $210 redeemable at any Forever 21 location in the U.S.
  • Robert Graham: Free gift with purchase of $250 or more. Free in-store refreshments

Other deals:
American Eagle: Buy one get one 50 percent off
BRIO Tuscan Grille: Complimentary appetizer, bruschetta or flatbread with purchase of two entrees at lunch or dinner. Offer through Nov. 9.
Camicissima Milano: Free tie with $200 purchase
Chico's: Store will donate $10 for every leopard print scarf purchase through Oct. 31 to support cancer research
Everything But Water: Exclusive necklace to benefit Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC), a national information and support organization for sale for $38 with 25 percent of proceeds going to LBBC.
J.Jill: 20 percent off Oct. 23-26
L'Occitane en Provence: 10 percent off any $25 purchase Oct. 25– 26 and Nov. 1-2
Seasons 52: Sunset at Seasons featuring $5 small plates, cocktails for $8, 52 wines by the glass and more. Monday through Friday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. through Nov. 30
Smoothie King: $5 smoothies on Fridays

The mall opens at 10 a.m. Oct. 16. Find more deals on the Mall at UTC website.

What stores will not be open for Mall at University Town Center grand opening?

H&M is among the stores that will not be open for
the Mall at University Town Center grand opening. 
While more than 120 stores and restaurants are committed to opening at the Mall at University Town Center, not all of them will be open during the first day or weekend.

Eleven stores that have been building their units for the last several weeks to months will not be open on grand opening. Another 12 newly announced stores also will not be open immediately for the Oct. 16 grand opening.

Here is a list of the stores previously confirmed by the Bradenton Herald that will not be immediately open:

  • Anthropolgie
  • Arhaus Furniture
  • Burger & Beer Joint
  • Footgear
  • Francesa's Collections
  • H&M
  • Invicta
  • Kiehl's
  • Natural Comfort Footwear
  • Peter Elliot Blue
  • Yo! Sushi

These stores have not been previously announced and will also be coming soon:

  • 4D Gelateria -- Traditional Italian gelato
  • Aerie -- American Eagle Outfitters' lingerie store
  • Branche
  • Forever Nails & Spa
  • Free People -- Specialty clothing store with Bohemian designs meant for twentysomethings; a sister company of Urban Outfitters
  • Naracamicie -- One of the first U.S. stores for this Italian clothing store and first in Florida.
  • Royale -- Professional hair straighteners
  • Rudolph and Me -- Seasonal Christmas ornaments
  • Paris Paris -- Hair accessories
  • PINK -- Apparel by Victoria's Secret
  • Proactiv -- Skin care
  • Venus Mini Med Spa -- Non-invasive, non-surgical med spa that offer Botox and other injection services

12 more stores announced for Mall at University Town Center

The Mall at University Town Center officially announced Thursday its remaining list of retailers, revealing more stores coming soon to the new mall.

Here are new stores, kiosks and restaurants. No openings dates have been announced for these stores:

  • 4D Gelateria -- Traditional Italian gelato
  • Aerie -- American Eagle Outfitters' lingerie store
  • Branche
  • Forever Nails & Spa
  • Free People -- Specialty clothing store with Bohemian designs meant for twentysomethings; a sister company of Urban Outfitters
  • Naracamicie -- One of the first U.S. stores for this Italian clothing store and first in Florida.
  • Royale -- Professional hair straighteners
  • Rudolph and Me -- Seasonal Christmas ornaments
  • Paris Paris -- Hair accessories
  • PINK -- Apparel by Victoria's Secret
  • Proactiv -- Skin care
  • Venus Mini Med Spa -- Non-invasive, non-surgical med spa that offer Botox and other injection services

No opening date has been announced for these stores. These stores are in addition to stores that have been confirmed and are coming soon. Eleven others that will be ready for business on Oct. 16.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sirard's Chocolate Cafe to have seasonal kiosk in Mall at University Town Center

Another Sarasota confectioner is committing to the Mall at University Town Center, but this one just for the holidays.

Sirard's Chocolate Cafe, 5170 Palmer Plaza Blvd., Sarasota, announced on Facebook Monday evening that it will have a seasonal kiosk in the mall from the VIP opening on Oct. 15 through Dec. 31.

The cafe/bakery/restaurant in the Publix-anchored shopping center  is operated by Carol Sirard, who opened her Clark Road location in 2012. The mall kiosk opening will be two years exactly from her grand opening on Clark Road, Oct. 15, 2012.

Before her Clark Road store, she was in the Coral Cove Mall on U.S. 41 near Stickney Point Road since 2005. Sirard announced in the post she'll sell her famous Sarasota Seafoam — a chocolate covered sponge candy — along with truffles, chocolate popcorn and other favorites.

The Mall at UTC, 140 University Town Center Drive, is scheduled to open Oct. 16.