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Location: 238 W Alexander St. Plant City, FL 33563, USA

Fazoli’s makes its return to Plant City

Attendees could smell the aroma of fresh breadsticks and pasta once entering the returning Fazoli’s restaurant, on Monday Feb. 21.

It was during the ribbon cutting ceremony to welcome back the Italian restaurant at its same Plant City location.

Wayne Wright, the director of franchise operations for Fazoli’s, was one of many at the ceremony.

“Plant City is a great community,” he said. “We had a lot of fans upset that we left.”

The former one had closed down when its owners decided to relocate.

Now the eatery is back under new management and officially opened its doors on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

It offers the same dishes patrons have grown to love, such as the spaghetti, lasagna, pizza, baked ziti, and chicken alfredo, among many more.

However, there is one popular item that customers can’t seem to get enough of.

“Fazoli’s are breadsticks and breadsticks are Fazoli’s,” Wright said. “It’s our No.1 signature item. If you forget breadsticks, you’re not going to have happy guests.”

He also noted that the restaurant is still situated in a good location –  on the busy corridor of Alexander Street.

A traffic analysis also determined that it was the right spot. 

What’s more, it’s located within the vicinity of other eateries such as Domino’s Pizza and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

It’s a good thing said Wright, because you want that competition.

This restaurant is the third in Florida, joining the ones in Clermont and Mary Esther, and now makes the 217th in the country.

Twenty more are expected to be built around the country by the end of this year, according to Wright.

“We’ve had so much demand from residents in Florida and other states, that we’re trying to expand as quickly as we can,” he added.

The majority of the restaurants are located in the Midwest cities such as Lexington, Louisville, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Kansas City.

The restaurant chain was established in 1988 and continues to expand, with four franchise groups actively searching where to build new Fazoli’s within the state.

“We’re going to open up a lot of restaurants in Florida in the next couple of years,” Wright said.

The owners of the former Plant City Fazoli’s plan on opening another one near Busch Gardens in Tampa.

Brady Keys is the co-owner of the returning Fazoli’s along with his brother Rodney.

“This is exactly the type of town that we like to be in,” he said. “We had this opportunity and it was in Plant City. We were familiar with the store. It was a no-brainer.”

Keys and his brother looked at different franchises that they could potentially invest in, starting with those in Orlando. When they came across Fazoli’s, they didn’t hesitate taking ownership of one and made a deal with the property owner of its current location.

They have a history of managing other chains such as KFC and Burger King, focusing their businesses in Michigan and Georgia. 

The KFC that the brothers had in Georgia was a success and had that same small town feel like Plant City.

In fact, their father opened up his first restaurant in 1967 called All Pro Chicken Supreme. 

He was a former football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, which inspired the name.

Keys said that its location not only to other restaurants, but to department stores like Walmart and Lowes will also be beneficial.

In attendance for the ribbon cutting were Fazoli’s initial training team, where managers help train new staff members on how to prepare food and maintain the restaurant.

It currently has over 50 employees but the goal is to reach about 65.

The restaurant will eventually have its mobile app operating to make orders, followed by third-party delivery and large catering orders.

Seeing the success of the new Chick-fil-A in town, Keys has faith that Fazoli’s will prosper as well.