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St. Pete’s old China City will become a Chicken Salad Chick, as chain expands in Tampa Bay

The fast-casual restaurant will also open its newest Florida spot in Trinity this month.
The iconic China City restaurant, which closed and was sold to new owners back in 2016, will become fast-casual chain Chicken Salad Chick. It has sat vacant the last several years.
The iconic China City restaurant, which closed and was sold to new owners back in 2016, will become fast-casual chain Chicken Salad Chick. It has sat vacant the last several years. [ Google ]
Published Jan. 7, 2020|Updated Jan. 7, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG — The iconic China City Restaurant on Fourth Street N has sat vacant since it sold four years ago, but its future finally has arrived.

The former St. Pete staple’s property will become a Chicken Salad Chick, a growing fast-casual chain that’s sprouting across the state. Another Tampa Bay spot is slated to open in about two weeks in Trinity with several more planned around Florida.

Local couple, franchisees Paul and Linsay Rohr, also operate Chicken Salad Chick shops in Palm Harbor and Seminole under the company name Simply Southern Pinellas Group.

Yes, Chicken Salad Chick specializes in chicken salad. But it also offers dishes like broccoli salad. [Courtesy of Chicken Salad Chick]
Yes, Chicken Salad Chick specializes in chicken salad. But it also offers dishes like broccoli salad. [Courtesy of Chicken Salad Chick] [ Courtesy of Chicken Salad Chick ]

“We’re thrilled to be expanding our relationship with Chicken Salad Chick,” Linsday Rohr said in a statement. “Our fresh, homemade chicken salad flavors and spectacular team make the brand a standout.”

The China City location at 1221 Fourth Street N was first put on the market in 2015, a decade afters its owner and operator, Mar Fee “Yee” Moon, retired. Even in retirement, Moon often visited the restaurant, which opened in the 1950s.

Moon died last year. He was 92.

Related: Owner of China City restaurant savored good food and big family

The Moons sold the building to Noordstar Development in 2016 for $780,000. It initially had been listed at nearly $930,000.

Since then, its signature red neon sign has been removed and the building has sat vacant as it decays.

Noordstar is behind other development projects on Fourth Street, including the Tropical Smoothie Cafe, which it also operates, and the upcoming Blend Cafe, which just opened its first location in the lobby of the 490 First Ave S building in St. Petersburg.

St. Pete’s new Chicken Salad Chick will be about 2,800 square feet, with no drive-through service. The couple said they plan to have the spot open later this year and continue expanding throughout the county.

Chicken Salad Chick was founded in Alabama in 2008. Its restaurants boasts more than a dozen chicken salad varieties, leafy salads,, sandwiches, soups and desserts. The chain now has more than 145 locations across 16 states.

The Trinity location will open at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 20 at 12096 State Road 54. The first person in line will receive one large ‘Quick Chick’ chicken salad per week for a year and the next 99 people will receive the same item once per month.

Related: Chicken Salad Chick came to South Tampa back in 2015

Another franchisee couple, Brad and Tammy Cochran, own several Chicken Salad Chicks throughout Hillsborough County. Their most recent location opened in Brandon last month.

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