TAMPA — The reopening of the Earl of Sandwich inside International Plaza and Bay Street's food court on Sept. 23 marked the beginning of the restaurant's takeover of Tampa Bay.
"We have signed for a location in downtown Tampa at the Element, one by Raymond James Stadium, Bayport Commons and there's several more coming," said Robert Earl, one of the founding partners.
Before reopening inside the food court located at 2223 N West Shore Blvd., the sandwich shop had served International Plaza customers at its original location on Bay Street for 11 years.
"Basically we wanted to get all the customers who were in the food court because a lot of people who go in there for an impulse purchase don't go to the individual restaurants on Bay Street," Earl said. "I think with our price point and quality, we will fit in well and our regulars from Bay Street will come there."
The sandwich shop strategically plans to establish locations convenient for diners to stop in during breakfast, those who need a lunch break and near residences for evening meals.
Earl of Sandwich originally opened in 2004 at Downtown Disney, now Disney Springs.
"We became one of the highest grossing sandwich restaurants in the world in Walt Disney," Earl said. "I think our sandwiches stand out because they are hot and the ingredients have been well developed. We don't skimp on anything. Also the range is interesting and there are an array of healthier options like wraps and salads, so we can cover anyone."
One of the more popular sandwiches is the Holiday Turkey.
"It simulates your actual full Thanksgiving plate, so if you close your eyes you get the turkey, the stuffing and cranberry," Earl said.
For now, diners can satisfy their sandwich cravings at the International Plaza location, but in three or four months there will be Earl of Sandwich restaurants opening their doors from downtown to Dale Mabry Highway and beyond.
Along with expanding into Tampa, the restaurant also will develop a delivery strategy.
"Expect a fun billboard campaign in your market and a big grand opening once we get closer," Earl said.
For more information, visit earlofsandwichusa.com.
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