MANATEE COUNTY — Tampa-based Ciccio Restaurant Group, which operates five popular restaurants on South Howard Avenue in Tampa, is expanding south of the Bay Area to the Sarasota-Manatee market.
The firm plans to open a Daily Eats and a Fresh Kitchen location in east Manatee County, across the street from The Mall at University Town Center, by the end of 2015. Fresh Kitchen, according to Ciccio Restaurant Group partner Matt Lanza, is a quick service build-your-own bowl concept. Daily Eats, says Lanza, is a full-service restaurant that serves breakfast all day and is like a northeast-style diner with a modern twist.
The restaurants will be in the same 6,600-square-foot building. University Park-based Benderson Development, a partner on the Mall at UTC with Taubman Centers, is the lead developer. The mall, a $315 million, 880,000-square-foot center, opened in October and has several prominent restaurant brands, including The Cheesecake Factory and The Capital Grill.
“We love what Benderson has done,” Lanza says. “We like to be next to high-performing restaurants. We think it fits our demographic very well.”
Ciccio Restaurant Group, says Lanza, is also building a Daily Eats and a Fresh Kitchen in St. Petersburg. Fresh Kitchen, he says, is a concept he and his partners, which includes his dad James Lanza and his brother Steve Lanza, would like to take statewide. He says more than 50% of the Tampa Fresh Kitchen customers come more than twice a week. “It's kind of replaced our customer's kitchen,” Lanza says. “It's a concept that's really taken off.”