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Nashville fast-food chain to open first Tampa location

Captain D's, which is looking for other potential restaurant sites along the Gulf Coast, will start construction later this year on its new 975-square-foot location just of Interstate 275.

  • By Louis Llovio
  • | 5:00 p.m. July 18, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
The new Brooksville Captain D's. (Courtesy photo)
The new Brooksville Captain D's. (Courtesy photo)
Courtesy photo
  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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A popular fast-food chain is opening its first location in Tampa.

Captain D’s Seafood Kitchen, a Nashville seafood chain, is planning to build its newest location at North Florida Avenue and Waters Avenue at the Top of the Heights shopping center as it continues to expand across the state.

The center, just of Interstate 275, is anchored by a 47,751-square-foot AutoZone and among its outparcel tenants is Wawa.

Florida Retail Partners, which brokered the lease, says Captain D's is building a 975-square-foot express walk up and drive-thru building on a half-acre outparcel. Lease terms were not disclosed.  

Construction is expected to begin later this year.

Phil Russo, Captain D’s vice president of real estate, says in an email that in addition to opening the Tampa restaurant, the chain is actively looking for other potential locations throughout the market as well as south into Sarasota, Bradenton and Cape Coral. It is also looking in Orlando, Jacksonville and along the east coast from Titusville to Port St. Lucie.

Russo says the company is currently working through the letter of intent and purchase sales agreement process on multiple other sites throughout the state and that “our plan is to open five to 10 restaurants per year in Florida."

Captain D’s currently operates 33 locations in 22 Florida cities, including seven in Jacksonville. That total includes a restaurant it opened last July in Spring Hill and one in September in Brooksville.

It also has three sites under contract — in New Port Richey, Ocala and Rockledge, which is near Melbourne.

Captain D’s currently has 535 locations — 311 owned by franchisees and 224 corporate owned — in 23 states. According to its media kit, the average large format store has 95 seats and is about 3,022 square feet.

The chain, according to its website, first opened in 1969 as Mr. D’s Seafood and Hamburgers in Donelson, Tennessee, a Nashville suburb. By 1973 the company had 15 U.S. restaurants and a year later changed its name to Captain D’s Seafood to focus on the fish, shrimp and side dishes its customers favored.

Captain D's was bought last year by the private equity firm Centre Partners, which had owned it once before, first buying it in 2013 and then selling it in 2017.



Louis Llovio

Louis Llovio is the deputy managing editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.

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