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NEWS: BENTO Asian Kitchen + Sushi opening first Tampa location September 2020

BENTO Asian Kitchen + Sushi is opening their first Tampa location near USF in September 2020.

The 100-seat, 2,800 square-foot eatery will be located at 5103 East Fowler Avenueacross from the new Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, and University of South Florida campus. Fans of the Florida-based chain have long been asking for a location to open in Tampa.

“Our first BENTO location opened in the small college town of Gainesville 18 years ago in 2002 and was an almost instant hit amongst the University of Florida student crowd. Following that success, we’ve opened in college communities across Florida from UNF Jacksonville to UCF Orlando to FSU Tallahassee to USF St. Pete. Tampa has been one of our highest-requested cities so we were ecstatic to have found a spot that would be easily accessible for USF Tampa students,” says Johnny Tung, co-founder.

The Tampa location will offer plenty of outdoor seating, and will feature BENTO’s signature red sushi bar, warm wood tones, and brass accents reminiscent of modern cafes and lounges found in Japan & Taiwan.

“We’ve been eyeing Tampa for a very long time. Being an economic hub in West Florida, and home to a major University as well as several well-established sports teams, we’re thrilled to finally be able to call Tampa our new home. Notably, there’s an amazing emerging food culture that we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of. The Fowler location will certainly not be the last in the area. We’re hoping to open up three more Tampa locations in the near future,” says Tung.

BENTO Tampa will mark the concept’s 17th location, and the second in the Tampa Bay area following its downtown St. Petersburg debut in the fall of 2018. It will be joining a lineup of 16 other locations across Florida including restaurants in Orlando, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Davie, Boca Raton, Pembroke Pines, Tallahassee, Kissimmee, Winter Park, and BENTO’s newest location in Oviedo.

The concept has no plans of slowing down with six more locations expected to open within the next year. Stores are planned in Dania Beach, Lake Nona, Wellington, Jacksonville Beach, Downtown Jacksonville, and Sarasota – all projected to open before 2020 comes to a close.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, BENTO has been proactive in adapting its operation to accommodate off-site dining. The launch of BENTO’s new company-wide online ordering site, in particular, is making social distancing a whole lot easier for the brand’s loyal customers.

The new ordering platform allows users to skip the line, schedule an order in advance for pickup or delivery, and pay with just a few clicks. Users also have the option to save their favorite orders, and take advantage of online-exclusive deals. There is also a mobile app version coming soon.

Following this wave, future locations will be featuring a new pick-up window for a more contact-less experience.

Find more information at eatatbento.com.

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NEWS: PDQ launches breakfast menu at Carrollwood location

PDQ, a popular and growing chicken chain from Florida, launched a breakfast menu on Tuesday at their Carrollwood location located at 12650 North Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa. The menu is also available at their test kitchen located at 4343 Anchor Plaza Parkway in Tampa. Those are the only 2 locations serving breakfast for now.

Breakfast is available 7 days a week from 6:30AM to 10:30AM. It is available for dine-in, to-go, and for catering.

The breakfast menu includes: “sandwiches, wraps, a breakfast bowl and more. The sandwich options feature two biscuit sandwiches: a Honey Butter Chicken and a Pimento Brunch item. Guests can also order the new French Toaster sandwich, which contains sausage, fresh egg, cheddar cheese, and maple butter on PDQ’s own french toast bun.”

Signature menu offerings include “King’s Hawaiian chicken bites, a breakfast bowl with crispy honey butter chicken, fresh egg and cheddar jack cheese over tots, and 3 fresh whole wheat wraps: Maple Butter Bacon, Sriracha Sunrise and the Grilled Chicken Mornin’ wrap. Beverage choices include Joffrey’s Peruvian medium blend, and two different Cold Brew options”.

Breakfast has been a winning category for chains in the restaurant industry lately with McDonald’s pivoting to breakfast and Wendy’s dropping a breakfast menu.

Jonathan Maze, Executive Editor at Restaurant Business, shared some professional insight into this growth:

“It is very much a growing segment.

There are a number of fast-growth fast-casual breakfast-and-lunch places. Cracker Barrel’s purchase of Maple Street Biscuit Co. last year was a pretty serious indication of the growth in that particular sector. And there are a lot of such chains that have emerged in recent years. Chains like IHOP (Flip’d) are even starting their own versions. And then a number fast casuals like Modern Market offer breakfast.

It’s been a growth daypart for fast casual for some time. Breakfast is the fastest growing daypart so you’re always going to find development as a result. And much of the development in the restaurant business period remains in fast casual. Ergo, breakfast fast casual continues to grow.”

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Articles Restaurant News

NEWS: Shake Shack now open at UTC Sarasota

Gourmet burger giant Shake Shack opens today at The Mall at University Town Center (UTC) Sarasota. The burger franchise hopes to have 200 locations by 2020.

Shake Shack is serving the Pie Oh My Concrete, which has vanilla custard mixed with a slice of Four & Twenty Blackbirds seasonal pie. 5% of the sales of this item will support Sunshine Community Compost.

Their goal is “to strengthen community connections and give back to the planet through accessible education and action programs that increase local composting, resource recovery and zero waste efforts”.

Other specialties offered include:

  • Shack Attack: Chocolate custard, fudge sauce, chocolate truffle cookie dough, Mast Brothers chocolate chunks and chocolate sprinkles
  • Caramel Cone: Vanilla custard, salted caramel, sugar cone pieces and chocolate sprinkles

Local Florida craft beer will be for-sale at the location including Crooked Can Brewing Company, Cigar City Brewing, and Orange Blossom Brewing Co. Shake Shack’s own exclusive Brooklyn Brewing ShackMeister® Ale.

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The #SarasotaSquad shook things up today and got an exclusive sneak peek at the brand new @shakeshack at @universitytowncenter! We were really impressed with the quality of both the food and the service. The crinkle cut #fries were crispy and light, the chicken bites were fantastic and the burgers came in a few steps ahead of the classic fast food sandwich. Don’t step foot in here if you’re looking for fresh eats, this is where you eat on cheat day. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ #SquadGoals. Thank you to @letseatsrq for inviting us! . . . . . . . . . #sarasota #sarasotafoodie #sarasotaeats #sarasotaeatsout #sarasotafood #sarasotarestaurants #srqfood #srqfoodie #srqlife #sarasotafoodblogger #sarasotafood #manateecounty #lakewoodranch #bradenton #shakeshack #smokeshack #srqlife

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The Herald-Tribune reported live from the opening today.

Now hopefully Shake Shack will set the stage and come to Tampa soon, hungry fans are still waiting for the franchise to enter the market. The Tampa Bay Times reported that the lease in Sarasota is for 10 years.

Shake Shack was founded in 2001 as a hot dog cart that has grown into a massive burger business. The company entered the New York Stock Exchange in 2014 and prides itself on “100% all-natural Angus beef, vegetarian fed, humanely raised and source verified. No hormones or antibiotics – EVER”.

Address: 190 N Cattlemen Road, Unit 1 Sarasota, FL 34243

Phone Number: (941) 413-1351

Hours: 11AM to 10PM, Sunday – Thursday, 11AM to 11PM, Friday & Saturday

Website: http://www.shakeshack.com/location/sarasota-fl/