It’s been a few months since we updated our maps of everything new that’s happening in Wesley Chapel and of course, the area most people want to know about is all of the new “stuff” coming to both the north and south sides of S.R. 56, in front of the Tampa Premium Outlets mall.
And, while a lot of people (including yours truly) still complain about having too many chain restaurants in our area, no one could possible deny that we have lots of new places to eat that weren’t here or weren’t confirmed when we last updated this map.
As you are probably aware as a Wesley Chapel resident, Pollo Tropical became the first place to open on the north side of 56 near the mall about a month ago. If you like flame-grilled chicken as much as I do, you probably should go and check out Pollo Tropical. Tell them I told you to order the chicken as “well done as possible.”
Right next to Pollo Tropical is the long-awaited second local free-standing location of Ford’s Garage, which will have opened by the time this issue reaches your mailbox. Look for pictures in our next issue, as well as in the episode of WCNT-tv (which might even have some footage from the Ford’s Garage pre-opening VIP party) and is scheduled to be released the same day this issue reaches your mailbox.
Great burgers, craft beer and more have made Ford’s Garage a big hit in Brandon and people are obviously excited about it coming even closer to us.
Meanwhile, on the south side of 56, the location on our map directly west of Culver’s, which we previously incorrectly labeled as being Panda Express, will actually be a drive-through and sit-down Starbucks. Panda Express is still coming, and will actually open a few weeks before Starbucks north of Costco and just west of TPO. And, as you can see from the map, even though the south side of 56 is currently much more filled than the north side, there are still at least three more sizable parcels totalling nearly 30 acres available, including one site that we have heard might include a big outdoors sporting goods store, although it apparently won’t be the previously announced Cabela’s.
Firing Up The North Side, Too
Just as the south side of 56 has been a hotbed of new restaurant activity since the opening of Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Culver’s and Chick-fil-A, the north side of what will soon be the most overcrowded section of roadway in Pasco County (just a prediction) is just now kicking into gear.
In other words, in addition to Ford’s Garage and Pollo Tropical, the north side of 56 will soon also be home to the latest incarnation of Newk’s (which currently has locations on Central Ave. near Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg and outside Amalie Arena in downtown Tampa), the popular Mellow Mushroom pizza and more chain and Bahama Breeze, which will finally make its way into our area. The island-themed seafood eatery actually was turned down years ago for a space off Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. in the Highwoods Preserve area of New Tampa (in the space now occupied by TGI Fridays near the Muvico Starlight 20 movie theaters) because the developer for Highwoods Properties thought a tiki bar was not appropriate for an upscale area like New Tampa.
Oh well. At least we’re getting Bahama Breeze, Mellow Mushroom and Newk’s soon, although we haven’t been given a timetable for when construction will start or when they will open.
Also planned for the same area north of 56 between Pollo Tropical and I-75 are Wesley Chapel’s second Wendy’s location, yet another Taco Bell, another Mattress Firm location, a T-Mobile store and another Men’s Wearhouse (the closest location being on BBD in New Tampa, too).
And, just for good measure, in addition to the new Holiday Inn Express hotel which has now opened adjacent to Florida Hospital Center Ice, the Hyatt Place hotel has broken ground across I-75 from the new ice rink.
There’s lots of new stuff to report further east of I-75 off S.R. 56 and BBD, as well as on S.R. 54. Look for map updates in our future issues and on WCNT-tv!