PDQ chicken chain coming to Bradenton area

Tampa fast-casual restaurant known for chicken sandwiches

cschelle@bradenton.comDecember 3, 2013 

EAST MANATEE -- Chic, casual chicken-chain PDQ is coming to East Manatee -- as long as it can manage to avoid disrupting a bald eagle nest.

Administrative review for the restaurant's plans is ongoing for the 4,369-square-foot restaurant at 5474 and 5484 Lena Road, off State Route 70 in East Manatee.

PDQ, which stands for People Dedicated for Quality, is a Tampa-based chain part of MVP Holdings.

MVP Holdings brands also include Lee Roy Selmon's and Carmel Café & Wine Bar, and it recently acquired the Florida franchise rights for Virginia-based Glory Days Grill. MVP Holdings includes Outback Steakhouse co-founders Bob Basham and Chris Sullivan, with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Chief Financial Officer Nick Reader.

Before the application was filed, MVP purchased about 10 acres on Lena Road in July as Chicken Dinner LLC for $670,000, then transferred the land to MVP Lakewood Ranch, LLC for $1.475 million Nov. 19, according to property records.

While known for its fresh chicken salads and sandwiches, PDQ has some other birds to keep them company at the new location. An active bald eagle's nest is located on the property, and drawings show the restaurant will be within 320 feet of the nest.

Construction is not allowed within a 100-feet radius of an eagle nest. But a zoning ordinance required a 100-foot setback from SR 70 and a 50-foot setback from a Florida Power and Light easement to accommodate the Rosedale Golf & Country Club expansion, according to county documents. County staff OK'd the building's location within that highway easement to avoid construction near the eagle's nest.

The construction company for the project, Blackrock Development Holdings, was warned by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for starting work before the company had a permit in hand, but was found to be complying with the bald eagle management plans, the Herald has reported.

This would be the first PDQ in Manatee County, and the second in the Bradenton-Sarasota market. PDQ opened a Sarasota restaurant in September at 5164 S. Tamiami Trail. The chain's first location opened in October 2011 across from Plant High School in Tampa, and it now has 11 Florida locations plus sites in North Carolina, South Carolina and coming soon in Alabama, Texas and Philadelphia.

In addition to its chicken sandwiches and shakes, the restaurant is also known for its drive-thru where instead of a speaker box, customers talk face-to-face with a real person to place their order.

A PDQ spokesman did not return calls for comment.

While PDQ is coming to Bradenton, it looks like another MVP property can be ruled out for now in the Lakewood Ranch area.

Glory Days co-owner Jeff Newman said the only confirmed location for that restaurant in Florida is in New Tampa, he said. Glory Days at 17508 Dona Michelle Drive is expected to open during the first quarter of 2014. The restaurant group is also owned by Robert Garner and Richard Danker. Danker also shares a charitable organization with Basham from MVP.

Glory Days is a family sports bar and grill featuring award-winning burgers, chili and ribs, large TVs around the restaurant including small flat-screens at booths accompanied by a remote speaker box to tune into the audio feed of the TV you want to hear. The chain started in 1996 in Fairfax, Va., just south of the Washington beltway, and has 18 corporate locations throughout Northern Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland and two franchise locations in Richmond, Va.

The restaurant explored coming to Florida in 2004 after filing as a corporation in the state, but the market crashed and no Glory Days opened, leading to the limited liability corporation Glory Days Ventures to withdraw in 2009.

Sam Tancredi, president of MVP GDG LLC, the group that oversees new Glory Days locations for MVP, said the company is looking at locations in Lakeland, and that a Glory Days in the Lakewood Ranch area might not work because it could compete against MVP's other sports bar brand: Lee Roy Selmon's, located off of University Parkway and Cooper Creek Boulevard.

Charles Schelle, business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.

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