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Sweet Tomatoes seeks to open west Pasco location

PORT RICHEY — The old home of Outback Steakhouse is about to get a new menu.

Out with steaks. In with soups and salads.

Sweet Tomatoes has submitted plans to move into the building at U.S. 19 at Regency Park Boulevard, county officials said Thursday.

The San Diego-based restaurant chain owns 112 restaurants in 15 states and offers fresh produce and salads, made-from-scratch soups, hot tossed pastas, freshly baked breads and muffins, fresh fruit, frozen yogurt and more, according to its Web site. Company representatives could not be reached late Thursday.

This would be the first Sweet Tomatoes for Pasco. It has 20 locations in Florida, including Brandon, Tampa, Palm Harbor and Largo.

The announcement comes after officials were lamenting the deterioration of the retail climate on U.S. 19, considered the Main Street of west Pasco.

Outback left in May, and other businesses followed. Linens 'N Things and Circuit City left when their companies went out of business nationwide. Also pulling up stakes were Gap Outlet and Old Navy.

In January, Target closed its doors after 18 years on the strip, leaving another gaping hole in the Piers shopping center prominently located near Gulf View Square mall. It was one of only four Targets in the country to close.

The U.S. 19 corridor is targeted for infill and redevelopment under a new county marketing plan that divides Pasco up into market areas. But county officials have not invested in a redevelopment plan that would lay out a specific vision for the corridor.

The big push at some point will be giving developers financial incentives, and more density rights, to rebuild the stressed area, officials say.

Sweet Tomatoes seeks to open west Pasco location 02/11/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 11, 2010 9:01pm]
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