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Sports bar finds home in Spring Hill

(ran PW edition)

Beef "O' Bradys, the Brandon-based, family-oriented sports bar/restaurant chain, will open in Hernando West Plaza in two weeks.

The restaurant, which specializes in serving Buffalo-style chicken wings, will cater to a mix of young and old sports fans. It will operate out of two adjacent vacant units in the plaza, which is on U.S. 19 just south of Spring Hill Drive.

The sports bar will have a cedar decor and include twelve 25-inch TVs and three satellite dishes, said Bob Bellows, who will own and operate the establishment with son-in-law Daniel Cox under a franchise agreement with Beef "O' Bradys Inc.

Bellows said he expects to open on or before March 17, which is St. Patrick's Day. The 2,500-square-foot sports bar will seat at least 80 and employ between 15 and 20 people.

"It should do very well," Bellows predicted. "It's in a very good location here."

Bellows is a former retail purchasing manager with Roaman's Ladies Apparel of New York City. Though he has spent most of his career in New Jersey, he said he got to know Spring Hill well through family members who retired to Hernando County.

He said he was attracted to Spring Hill's overall growth. "In coming here, we saw the growth in the schools, so we knew there was a younger crowd," Bellows said. "There seems to be a good population mix between older and younger people interested in sports."

Bellows also hopes to build up the business by sponsoring local sports teams, such as a West Hernando Little League baseball team. "It shows the parents that we've got an interest in the kids," he said. "This will hopefully bring in the parents."

The Spring Hill site will be the chain's northernmost location in Florida and the 22nd Beef "O' Bradys in the state, said Dennis Dunnam, director of operations for the parent company.

James Mellody of Brandon founded the chain in 1985, when he opened the first sports bar in Brandon.

Dunnam said he expects the Spring Hill site will do about $500,000 a year in sales, which is the average for the company's sports bars. Equipment and renovation costs will run about $75,000, he said.

"I think you've got a nice market out there with the retirees and the families," Dunnam said.

Other chains apparently agree.

Already this year, a Red Lobster has opened on U.S. 19.

Chili's Grill & Bar and Arby's plan to open restaurants in Spring Hill later this year.

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