Make us your home page
Instagram
On Retail

Tampa on menu for 2 upscale chains

Two more upscale casual-dining chains are moving into the full-blown restaurant row that has emerged on Boy Scout Boulevard in Tampa's West Shore area.

International Plaza, which is already building a home for Ocean Prime seafood and steaks next to a new Crate & Barrel, has signed a deal for Brio Tuscan Grille.

And across Boy Scout from the mall, the new MetWest mixed-use project has lined up Kona Grill as the first of several destination restaurants there.

Based in Scottsdale, Ariz., Kona uses its full sushi bar and 40 fresh-made sauces to create American fare with an international flair. Popular dishes are miso-marinated sea bass and five-spice baby back ribs.

Named the "hot concept" of the year by Nation's Restaurant News in 2007, Brio offers a higher-end Italian menu than Romano's Macaroni Grille or Olive Garden with an average $30 check for dinner, $16 for lunch. Decked out to look like a Tuscan country villa, the marble-floor décor is also reminiscent of a Cheesecake Factory.

Both chains may be drawn by prospects of serving office workers, IP shoppers and West Shore hotels flush with business travelers living on expense accounts. One note of caution: Business travel is down 3 percent, the Travel Industry Association says. Even luxury shoppers have turned frugal, and companies are tightening expense accounts.

Indeed, sales at Kona restaurants open more than a year dropped 10 percent in the most recent quarter, and the company just closed its first Florida store, which was in Naples.

Kona opens this winter. Brio arrives in the fall.

• • •

Here's more unsettling news from the struggling TV shopping industry: St. Petersburg-based HSN's bigger rival, QVC, is laying off 900 employees after reporting declining sales in the third quarter and flat domestic revenues for much of this year. The casualties include 160 management types and the entire call center at network headquarters in suburban Philadelphia. Also vaporized: 10 of the 1,300 jobs at QVC's distribution center in Port St. Lucie.

• • •

Traffic is up 4 percent at supercenters, 3 percent at dollar stores, pet stores and grocery stores, and 10 percent at drugstores, according to figures compiled by Nielsen Co. Traffic is down 9 percent at department stores, 8 percent at office -upply stores and 6 percent at toy and apparel stores.

Mark Albright can be reached at albright@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8252.

Tampa on menu for 2 upscale chains 11/17/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 2:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  2. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24

    Retail

    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  3. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  4. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights

    Business

    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.

    Yet.

    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  5. Ford's Garage opens new Westchase spot

    Business

    Ford's Garage opened its sixth Florida location in Westchase this week.

    hillsevbiz081817: Ford's Garage opened its sixth Florida location in Westchase this week. Photo courtesy of Ford's Garage