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Florida Restaurant Chains: Margaritaville, Burger King, and Outback Steakhouse

Made in Florida means greater than a sun tan or sand castle. The state has contributed to dining habits that stretch from South Jersey to Santa Monica. Some will surprise you and odds are you have visited not less than half of those restaurant chains born here.

Listed below are stories behind the more popular restaurants that originated in Florida.

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Key West (1985)
We’ll start with the sort of casual and his brand. Buffett, who died Sept. 1, left behind an empire that originated along with his marketing and includes his first restaurant: Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. The restaurants helped to construct the Margaritaville brand constructing. A Margaritaville store opened in Key West in 1985 and restaurants followed. These weren’t the primary themed restaurants anywhere but have change into among the hottest, with about 30 within the U.S. and more worldwide. Buffett’s Margaritaville spawned more ventures with a tropical vibe, reminiscent of Landshark Bar and Grill, Air Margaritaville (in airports) and 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar. Colourful décor adorns every Margaritaville restaurant, like a hurricane painted on the ceiling in Key West to a seaplane suspended from the one in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. And what’s not to like a couple of place that pumps Buffett’s many songs throughout the dining space, a temporary vacation from reality identical to certainly one of the American legend’s popular concert events crammed with Parrot Heads, his colourful fans.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, Brandon (1985)
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurants began spreading across the greater Tampa Bay region within the Nineteen Eighties and ’90s. This reporter fondly recalls feasting on hot wings and cold draft beers on the restaurant’s Northdale location, which continues to thrive three many years later, together with quite a few others across the country. Beef’s official bio notes that Jim Mellody conceived the concept of a neighborhood pub “where friends and families could gather to enjoy good food and sports in a fun, comfortable atmosphere.” Alongside his wife, Jeanette, they established the primary Beef ‘O’ Brady’s within the Brandon community positioned east of Tampa in 1985. Today, the “jumbo wings” remain the star of the menu and may be tossed in your alternative of varied dry rubs and sauces, reminiscent of the brilliant orange Beef’s Signature Buffalo sauce. Other popular menu items include The ‘O’ Brady Burger, in addition to newer additions just like the Loaded Fries. Beef’s also offers a kids’ menu and a full bar for the adults. In line with a press release issued in 2022, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s operates 140 locations in 21 states.

Burger King, Jacksonville (1953)
Two cities claim Burger King, but not less than each are in Florida. The fast-food burger franchise began in 1953 as Insta-Burger King on Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville. Later that decade, two Miami-based franchisees bought the financially struggling company and renamed it Burger King. The hamburger chain was on its way in 1957 when the Whopper was added to the menu. Burger King hit the national scene especially in the course of the Nineteen Seventies, when the chain advertised heavily on television with its “Have It Your Way” commercials that touted “hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us.” Children also enjoyed a visit to BK, receiving a paper crown that adjusted to their head size. And remember the funky maroon and orange uniforms (with a goofy-looking hat to match) employees wore within the Nineteen Seventies, definitely helping to construct its brand. However it was perhaps its offering of flame-grilled burgers that kept customers returning, together with its number of food offerings including thick french fries and the Hershey’s Sundae Pie dessert. In recent times, Burger King added the Unattainable Whopper featuring a plant-based, protein-filled patty and 4 versions of the Ch’King Sandwich. Burger King has greater than 18,000 outlets in 100 countries.

Tijuana Flats, Winter Park (1995)
Not every idea from a school student has panned out but one did for Brian Wheeler. The University of Central Florida student thought of starting a restaurant although he never worked in a single. “Problem was, like most college kids, Brian was broke,” the story read on the Tijuana Flats website. “Fortunately for Tex-Mex fans, Brian’s dad loaned him the cash to open the primary Tijuana Flats in Winter Park, Florida.” Since that first one opened in 1995, Tijuana Flats has expanded to greater than 135 locations. For individuals who have never been, Tijuana Flats offer a chill vibe with colourful murals. Customers order at a front counter and servers bring them their food when it’s ready. One other feature is the salsa station, where you possibly can load up in your favorite flavors and spices.

Sonny’s BBQ, Gainesville (1968)
Sonny’s BBQ is a Southeastern restaurant chain known for its slow smoke traditions, Southern hospitality, and “Random Acts of BBQ” initiative, where it throws surprise feasts for community members or organizations nominated for his or her good deeds. The tradition of giving dates back to 1968 when it was founded at 2700 NE Waldo Road, Gainesville, by Floyd “Sonny” Tillman and his wife, Lucille. Through the years, the local joint became a Florida favorite and expanded across the state and Southeastern U.S. Its first franchisee, John Kirkpatrick, opened an Ocala location in 1977, based on the restaurant’s online history. Lower than five years later, Sonny’s had 25 restaurants. And by the top of 1998, the barbecue staple had welcomed its a centesimal location and spread to seven other states: Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Kentucky. The BBQ bosses at Sonny’s boast Southern must-haves like fried okra and corn nuggets and signature pork, beef brisket, and sauce available through dine-in, takeout, delivery, and catering. When you’re still hankering after the meat of your meal, don’t worry. Sonny’s isn’t done yet. It offers banana pudding, chocolate chip cookies, and cinnamon sugar doughnut holes with sweet tea glaze to fill that extra room for dessert.

Red Lobster, Lakeland (1968)
Anyone who has made then savored Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits at home can thank this Florida original. Red Lobster opened in Lakeland in 1968 and General Mills two years later acquired the corporate. The chain expanded rapidly, especially within the Nineteen Eighties, and today has greater than 700 restaurants worldwide, including nearly every U.S. state and in countries including Japan, Mexico, China, and others. The famous biscuits — served in restaurants first in 1992 — became so popular that the biscuit mix hit food market shelves so consumers could bake them at home. Red Lobster for greater than half a century has specialized in after all lobster but additionally crab, shrimp, and other seafood, while also serving up chicken, pasta, steak, salads, dessert, and more.

Olive Garden, Orlando (1982)
The favored Italian restaurant chain opened as a unit of General Mills in Orlando. So Olive Garden was not a typical restaurant that began from an owner or two, as General Mills — a multinational manufacturer that markets branded consumer foods not based within the Sunshine State — solely intended to create a series from the get-go. Even so, Florida can claim the primary one at 8984 International Drive along Interstate 4 in Central Florida, which made sense with Disney World nearby. Olive Garden has change into known for its “limitless” soup, salad, and breadsticks, together with popular pasta dishes including shrimp alfredo, “Tour of Italy” (featuring three of Olive Garden’s hottest dishes: chicken parmigiana, lasagna, and fettuccine alfredo) and lasagna fritta. General Mills in 1995 spun off its restaurant chains to create Darden Restaurants Inc., which is headquartered in Orlando. The multi-brand restaurant operator, along with Olive Garden, owns Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, The Capital Grille, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, Yard House, and Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen.

Hooters, Clearwater (1983)
Sure, there are tons of of Hooters restaurants across the country, but there’s just one

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