1. Business

No Hooters at Land O'Lakes site

Published Nov. 19, 2014

LAND O'LAKES — The site of a former restaurant named for a bug will not become part of a chain named for the female breast.

Hooters is not coming to Land O'Lakes, despite statements to the contrary posted on the marquee outside the former Mosquito's Grill and Bar at 4422 Land O'Lakes Blvd.

Mosquito's and its predecessor, Rapscallions, had been rumored as a potential site for the chain restaurant for two years. Hooters began in Clearwater 30 years ago and capitalized on chicken wings, servers in orange hot pants and its double-entendre name to expand to more than 500 restaurants in 27 countries.

Last weekend, the Mosquito's marquee sprouted a message reading "Hooters Coming 2015.'' Not quite, said the restaurant chain, which issued a statement after inquiries from the Tampa Bay Times.

"Hooters does not currently have plans to open a location in Land O'Lakes, Fl.,'' said the statement from Hooters of America LLC.

Hooters has a restaurant in Port Richey in west Pasco. Its location on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard near E Fletcher Avenue in Tampa is the closest location to central Pasco.

The former Mosquito's restaurant site, and the adjoining parking lot, are owned by Centennial Bank of Arkansas, the successor to Heritage Bank of Florida, which bid $251,400 for the property at a Sept. 30 auction. The 6,000-square-foot restaurant with a deck overlooking Bell Lake and the adjoining lot are valued at $523,000 by the Pasco Property Appraiser's Office. The restaurant closed earlier this year.