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The Tampa Bay Times' Susan Thurston in today's paper on the growing fast-casual trend here in these parts:

... comes as no surprise to industry leaders. The Tampa Bay area has long been a testing ground for restaurant concepts, having birthed major chains such as Hooters, Beef 'O' Brady's and, most notably, Outback Steakhouse. Outback began in 1988 with a single restaurant in Tampa ...

Nobody's actually from here, or at least not many of us, and it's one of the fundamental challenges of this region and this state. Former Florida governor Bob Graham, who has an Op-Ed in this morning's Times, by the way, called it the "Cincinnati factor." People move here -- but only physically. It also has to be one of the reasons so many chains start here. Florida in many ways lacks a sense of communal, collective purpose, and so it's fitting that this spot that struggles so much with place-making instead makes places whose reason for existence is that they could be absolutely anywhere.

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 8:36am]


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