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Slow pace of permitting irks restaurateur

WESLEY CHAPEL — Wolf's Den, a family restaurant serving up standard fare like pizza and spaghetti, is poised to take the place of Bagel Bagel in the Seven Oaks development.

But its owner, Roger Wolf, is still wading through a permitting process that's got him pretty riled up.

He's been waiting for a month for the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation to come and inspect his State Road 56 restaurant, and said he only just got word Tuesday that an inspector will be dispatched this week.

"Everything seems to take an Act of Congress," he said. "I'm just trying to open a regular place."

The sign is already up, but the 2,000-square-foot restaurant still needs a variety of permits, including fire marshal inspections and county health department approval, Wolf said.

Alexis Antonacci, a spokeswoman for the business regulation department, said an inspector will be at Wolf's Den for a mandatory safety and sanitation check by Friday. She confirmed the department has already received Wolf's $60 payment.

When Wolf's Den opens, it will fill a hole left when Bagel Bagel closed on Jan. 1.

Bagel Bagel was beloved by many local patrons, including state Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, who lives in Seven Oaks.

Bagel's owner, Janis Schechter, told the Pasco Times she did good business on weekends, but just couldn't make ends meet through the weekdays.

In her former place, Wolf now plans to offer family fare like baked chicken and broiled cod, and he intends to be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He said he has 15 employees lined up and ready to work.

Wolf, 60, said he comes from a family of restaurateurs from Wisconsin, where his family still runs a 48-year-old restaurant. He moved to Seven Oaks in 2006. "I grew up in this business," he said.

But, first, he has to go through the Florida experience of opening a new business.

"It's like a 10-round bout," he said. "I'm at Round 7."

Reach Chuin-Wei Yap at [email protected] or (813) 909-4613.

Slow pace of permitting irks restaurateur 05/14/08 [Last modified: Thursday, May 15, 2008 7:08pm]
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