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Nash’s Hot Chicken truck to close, move to nearby location in December

The St. Petersburg hot chicken spot is moving to a brick-and-mortar in the EDGE District.

Nash’s Hot Chicken, the fast-casual fried chicken truck from the owners of the Mill, is closing at the end of the month, but will move to a nearby brick-and-mortar location in the EDGE District.

Owner Ted Dorsey, who together with Jason Griffin also runs the Mill restaurants in downtown St. Petersburg and Tampa, said the new home for the fast-casual fried chicken joint will be just a block away from the original spot, at 905 Central Ave.

The move follows a lawsuit filed earlier this month in Pinellas County Circuit Court, which claimed the owners of the fried chicken truck overstayed their five-month lease in the lot at 1049 ½ Central Ave., which is adjacent to the Independent Bar. The truck’s owners signed a lease on the vacant lot in March and opened their grab-and-go restaurant the next month. The lawsuit, filed by the lot’s landlord Central Ave Corner Holding, sought unpaid rent and permission to evict.

When reached by phone Thursday, Dorsey said the lawsuit has since been settled and that their lease has been extended till the end of November.

“The lawsuit was settled and we moved on,” Dorsey said. “We just came to terms — it was never unpaid rent.”

It was not clear if the Central Avenue lot’s landlord has plans to lease the spot to anyone else. A call to attorneys representing Central Ave Corner Holding was not immediately returned.

At the new Nash’s Hot Chicken location, diners can expect a similar spread of fiery fried chicken sandwiches and baskets, along with some new items. Dorsey said he plans on adding a Nashville hot chicken salad and a homemade banana pudding.

The new restaurant also allows for some dine-in business, which the truck did not. There will be seating for about 10 people inside the restaurant and another 10 on the outdoor patio. But Dorsey said the restaurant’s main focus will be the fast-casual grab-and-go format.

Plans for the restaurant had been in the works even before the pandemic, and now — with coronavirus cases on the rise again — Dorsey said he sees the fast-casual model as a much safer bet in the long run. He said the new restaurant will be the first of many similar concepts to come and that they will hold on to the food truck for future use.

“We were already seeing the trends that everybody else was seeing — the market was definitely shifting to fast-casual,” he said. “No business is pandemic-proof, but if we’re shut down again, we’re already set up to be able to do takeout and delivery.”

Though no exact opening date has been set, Dorsey said he hopes to open the new restaurant by early December.

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