UNIVERSITY PARK -- Tampa's Ciccio Restaurant Group will bring two of its eateries to University Park next year in side-by-side units.
Ciccio Cali and Daily Eats will occupy 3,300-square-foot spaces in a building to be constructed at The Shoppes at University Town Center, off Cooper Creek Boulevard on the Manatee County line, said Matthew Lanza, restaurant partner for Ciccio Restaurant Group. The restaurants are expected to open in September 2015, notwithstanding construction delays, he said.
"We're super excited to be coming to Sarasota," Lanza told the Herald in a phone interview. "We think we can bring a lot to the area with fast-paced food. We really love the people there."
Cicco Restaurant Group contains six brands of restaurants in the Tampa-St.
Petersburg area and Daily Eats and Ciccio Cali represent the first step outside that market for the group, Lanza said.
"Daily Eats and Ciccio Cali are best suited right now for growth in terms of operations and strength and food quality," Lanza said. "We're going to roll out other brands as well and bring those to Sarasota as well."
The group's other restaurants include Green Lemon, The Lodge Restaurant & Bar, Ciccio's/Water and Fresh Kitchen. Overseeing the operation are business partners James Lanza, 54; his sons Matthew Lanza, 32; and Steven Lanza, 28; and business partner Jeff Gigante, 46.
The Shoppes project took two years to come together, Lanza said, and the group's research showed the existing locations for the restaurants had Sarasota-area diners stopping in to try out the food at Ciccio Cali in Brandon, St. Petersburg and Tampa Palms, plus Daily Eats in south Tampa.
So far, no deals are in place to bring the other eateries here, Lanza said, but having a relationship with Benderson Development will allow the group flexibility to find space to lease in one of the dozens of other centers the Manatee-based developer owns in the area.
Ciccio Cali and Daily Eats offer something distinctively different from one another, Lanza added.
Ciccio Cali bills itself as offering healthy quick-service food with bowls and wraps and indulgences such as pizzas. By the time Ciccio Cali comes to Sarasota, the stir-fry items probably won't be on the menu, he said. Overall, the restaurant is built on speed.
"Our lunches are quick service and you order at the counter," Lanza said. "We're still deciding, but probably going to do quick service at dinner."
Daily Eats is a modern diner that offers breakfast all day, plus lunch and dinner, still offering healthful items plus traditional diner favorites such as burgers and pancakes and hand-spun milkshakes.
"We definitely thought there was a void for a diner since you have a lot of northerners that come down there, especially during wintertime," he said.
Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.