LUTZ — Don't worry if you get hungry driving the State Road 54/56 corridor through Land O' Lakes, Lutz and Wesley Chapel. Your dining options are continuing to expand.
New restaurants are approved, and some are under construction along the route from Livingston Avenue to beyond the Shops at Wiregrass mall. And if you'd rather cook at home, new grocery stores are planned as well.
The eateries include a Culver's Restaurant, the New Orleans-themed eatery Walk On's Bistreaux and Bar, a restaurant called Sweet Tea Cafe, First Watch, and two pizza restaurants — California-based Blaze Pizza and MOD, a fast-casual pizza restaurant that began 10 years ago in Seattle.
"Yes, the restaurants just keep rolling in,'' said Robert Sierra, chairman and CEO of Sierra Properties and Pasco Ranch, which owns the land being developed as the northern section of the Cypress Creek Town Center near the Interstate 75 and State Road 56 interchange.
The expanding list of restaurants follows the 2015 opening of the Tampa Premium Outlets mall, the 2017 puck drop at the Florida Center Ice complex and the hotels popping up to serve them. The 132-room Hyatt Place Wesley Chapel, within the Cypress Creek Town Center, opened July 31. East of I-75, the Hilton Garden Inn at Sliver Maple Parkway is scheduled to open in September.
Here is a run down of the pending food offerings:
• County building permit applications have been submitted for a Culver's Restaurant, known for its butter burgers and frozen custard, at 28831 State Road 56 in the Wiregrass Ranch development in Wesley Chapel. The 1.56-acre site is on the north side of the highway, east of the Shops at Wiregrass mall and west of Lajuana Boulevard.
CSM Real Properties and Roeske CDM Real Properties, which own the Culver's Restaurant further west on SR 56 near the Tampa Premium Outlets mall, purchased the Wiregrass Ranch site for a little over $1 million in June. When completed, it will be the fifth Culver's location in Pasco County.
• The county has authorized building plans for a nearly 10,000-square-foot Walk On's restaurant at 25372 Sierra Center Blvd. within the northern portion of the Cypress Creek Town Center along SR 56.
Walk On's, the title sponsor of the annual Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., was founded in 2003 by two former walk-on basketball players at Louisiana State University. NFL quarterback Drew Brees is a co-owner and partner in the chain. The company's web site lists 11 locations planned for Florida .
It will join a burgeoning restaurant row of seven existing casual and fast-food restaurants along Sierra Center Boulevard, including Ford's Garage, Chuy's Tex Mex, Mellow Mushroom and the recently opened Bahama Breeze.
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• Also in the northern portion of the Cypress Creek Town Center, building permits have been issued for an 1,800-square-foot restaurant called Sweet Tea Cafe and for Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza, which allows customers to build their own pizzas via the assembly-line format used by Subway and Moe's Southwest Grill.
Across the highway, along the string of restaurants fronting the outlet mall, will be another entrant in the fast-casual pizza business – MOD, which also uses the assembly-line system for customers to build individual artisan-style pizza. It is MOD's first restaurant in the Tampa Bay region.
• Further west, on the north side of State Road 54 near Livingston Avenue, Paradise Ventures of Safety Harbor is developing the Shoppes at Terra Bella and its lead tenant is the Tampa-based brunch chain First Watch, which has existing locations in Wesley Chapel and Hillsborough County.
First Watch spokesperson Eleni Kouvatsos said the company hopes to open the new location in the first quarter of 2019.
If you would rather cook for yourself, there will be new places to stop for groceries. Aldi has filed its construction plans with the county to build a previously disclosed store at the southeast corner of SR 56 and Wesley Chapel Boulevard. The north side of the town center complex also will include Earth Fare. And a little to the northeast, Publix Super Markets closed in June on the $3.3 million purchase of 9.5 acres at SR 54 and Wiregrass Ranch Boulevard.
The location, directly across the boulevard from a Wal-Mart Supercenter, is the very northern edge of the Wiregrass Ranch development. The acquisition likely advances plans first publicized three years ago for Publix to move down the street from its current location in the Hollybrook Plaza at SR 54 and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.
Reach C.T. Bowen at email@example.com or (813) 435-7306. Follow @CTBowen2