Make us your home page

In Port Richey, Outback Steakhouse shuts down

PORT RICHEY — By Monday afternoon, its signs were gone. Only a note was left on the door.

Sorry, mates: Outback Steakhouse on Monday closed its Port Richey location.

The restaurant, which opened in 1990 at the strip mall at U.S. 19 and Regency Park Boulevard, was once one of the hottest places in Pasco on a weekend night. Two-hour waits were not uncommon.

No doubt that picture has changed, not only as casual dining restaurants have taken a hit during the recession but also as population growth, money and new construction shifted to other parts of the county during the housing boom.

OSI Restaurant Partners LLC, the Tampa-based parent company, did not respond to questions about the reasons for the closure, releasing only a written statement.

"On behalf of all of us at the restaurant, we want to express our appreciation to our loyal patrons in Port Richey for their support and patronage over the past twelve years," said Pete May, joint venture partner of Outback Steakhouse in the Tampa Bay area.

According to May, the company will work with the employees to relocate them to one of the other company restaurants in the area.

OSI Restaurant Partners, the homegrown Tampa chain that in two decades grew into one of the nation's most popular and influential restaurant companies, has been struggling with its debt and recently hired a turnaround specialist to help cut costs and boost sales.

Like many restaurants, Outback has suffered through the recession. OSI sales for the year dropped 5 percent in 2008 to $3.9 billion. But the trend got worse in the fourth quarter that ended Dec. 31 when sales plunged 10 percent.

An OSI spokeswoman said Monday that the Port Richey location was the only Tampa Bay area restaurant on the chopping block. Last month, the chain closed all nine of its company-owned stores in Ontario.

The Port Richey location was situated between Outback restaurants in Trinity and Spring Hill, two areas that experienced booms in recent years.

The U.S. 19 strip mall where Outback was located was known as the Outback Plaza. Other restaurants in that mall came and went, with some of them complaining that Outback's customers took up all the parking spaces.

Another OSI-owned restaurant, Carrabba's Italian Grill, is also in that plaza, along with the Breakfast Club, El Rancho and Lanna Thai.

Monday's closure of the Port Richey location was unceremonious at best. In a matter of hours, workers had removed most of the evidence that Outback had existed. The corporate Web site no longer lists the location.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at or (727) 869-6247.

In Port Richey, Outback Steakhouse shuts down 05/04/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 4, 2009 9:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas licensing board asks Sen. Jack Latvala for $500,000 loan

    Local Government

    The troubled Pinellas County agency that regulates contractors wants Sen. Jack Latvala to help it get a $500,000 lifeline from the state to stay afloat.

    State Sen . Jack Latvala, R- Clearwater, is being asked to help the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board get $500,000 from the state so it can stay open beyond February.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  3. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members


    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  4. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion


    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  5. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]