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Outback to basics: New restaurant chain with brand-name pedigree expands

A fast-casual version of Outback Steakhouse muscles its way into the chicken sandwich wars.


  • By Brian Hartz
  • | 1:00 p.m. December 9, 2021
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
Courtesy. Aussie Grill chef Efrem Cutler puts the finishing touches on a Crispy Sriracha Chicken Sandwich.
Courtesy. Aussie Grill chef Efrem Cutler puts the finishing touches on a Crispy Sriracha Chicken Sandwich.
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Aussie Grill, a new fast-casual restaurant concept created by Tampa-based Bloomin’ Brands, recently held a soft launch for its new location in Clearwater, at 2540 Gulf to Bay Blvd. — conspicuously right across the street from a Chick-Fil-A. The concept debuted overseas in 2019, and the Clearwater Aussie Grill is the fifth to open in the Tampa Bay region. A food truck is also in the works.

Courtesy. At Aussie Grill, you can get a seven-ounce, center-cut sirloin steak in less than four minutes.
Courtesy. At Aussie Grill, you can get a seven-ounce, center-cut sirloin steak in less than four minutes.

Aussie Grill is a stripped-down version of Outback Steakhouse, Bloomin’ Brands’ most well-known restaurant chain, offering sandwiches, salads, burgers, desserts and more, including seven-ounce, center-cut sirloin steaks. Diners order at the counter, drive-thru window or online for in-store pickup.

On Dec. 3, during the soft launch, staff personally greeted guests, who could hang out in the restaurant’s front courtyard and play cornhole. Signage touting Aussie Grill as having the “Best Sandwich in Tampa Bay” (as determined by Tampa Magazine’s 2021 Tampa Sandwich Hunt) took aim at Chick-Fil-A and its dominance of the uber-competitive chicken sandwich market.

The restaurant also ran an “Aussie Insider” QR code promotion that would award free food for a year to winning participants.

Aussie Grill, in a news release, says all dishes are made from scratch in less than four minutes. In addition to the Crispy Sriracha Chicken Sandwich, the menu includes a Crispy Seasoned Chicken Tenders and a Bacon Bomb Burger. Most menu items are priced below $10.

Aussie Grill President Suk Singh says the Clearwater restaurant, when fully staffed, will employ more than 50 people. Applications for several open positions are being accepted.

“Our adventurous and award-winning flavors make Aussie Grill a natural fit for this new ‘Champa Bay’ region location,” Singh states in the release. “We’re excited to introduce the distinctive Aussie Grill experience to the Clearwater community and to provide a chance for six lucky people to win Free Aussie Grill for a Year.”

 

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