Fresh Kitchen, a Tampa-based build-your-own-bowl restaurant chain, will open its first Lakeland location next to the new Aldi store, which is set to open in late 2022 on South Florida Avenue at Alamo Drive .
The restaurant has received a preliminary approval of the site plan from the city for a 2,706-square-foot restaurant on a 1.07-acre “pad-ready” parcel at 4520 S. Florida Ave.
Fresh Kitchen President Steven Lanza said Wednesday that he was unsure exactly when the project would break ground beyond “eventually” in 2022.
“It’s hard to give an exact timeline right now when it will open. We are looking at the beginning of next year,” he said, noting that Fresh Kitchen will open a new restaurant in February with plans to build three others this year .
“Gainesville (opens) in February and then Winter Garden, then downtown Miami and then Lakeland,” Lanza said. “Depending on the timing, Lakeland will likely be our 14th.” restaurant.
Fresh Kitchen’s menu gives customers a variety of options to make their own meals in a single bowl. Popular offers are “four bowls” (under $ 9), which include two bases, one vegetable, one protein and one sauce, while “six bowl” (under $ 11) includes two bases, two vegetables, two proteins and one sauce.
The bases, all of which are gluten-free, “non-fennel-friendly” and “vegan-friendly” with no added processed sugar, include – depending on the availability of the season – brown rice, spinach salad, kale slaw, citrus rice, power rice, coconut ginger rice, sweet potato noodles, cauliflower potato mash and baby kale Caesar.
The roasted vegetables include parmesan broccoli, basil mushrooms, green sesame beans, golden spice chickpeas and maple sweet potatoes.
Proteins include grilled citrus chicken, bbq chicken, chilled Caprese tofu, herbal grilled steak, roasted salmon and almond baked chicken
Sauces include creamy white ginger, herbal balsamic vinaigrette, coconut riracha, holy kale with a variety of additions.
Since Fresh Kitchen opened its first restaurant in South Tampa in late 2014, its “health-friendly, customizable grab-and-go bowls” have proven popular beyond urban areas such as South Tampa and St. Louis. Petersburg.
But would it fly in Lakeland? City officials in site plan reviews questioned whether a more suburban location would produce the same amount of “walk-in / sit-down customers” that Fresh Kitchen projects.
“We are not dealing with a different demographic in Lakeland” than elsewhere, Lanza said. “Not really. We’re in Winter Garden, Lake Mary, different suburbs. And Lakeland is huge. I do not think Lakeland is any different from our other markets. We work with a similar demographic in Lakeland – people want to eat healthy, and there are not many healthy options. “
The plot, which is currently vacant, previously housed a used car lot. It is located between the Action Gator Tire and a Golden Corral restaurant that is closed and will be demolished to make way for the Aldi supermarket.