Kobé Japanese Steak House, which has been located at the corner of Bruce B. Downs Blvd. and Pebble Creek Dr. since 2011, is moving down the road to the old Vuelo’s/Señor T’s/Romano’s Macaroni Grill site in front of New Tampa’s Home Depot.
According to Hien Nguyen, a spokesperson for the family-owned mini-chain, as soon as remodeling is completed on the former Vuelo’s, Kobé “will transition from our current location.”
Nguyen says the new location, “will be larger to accommodate our growing team and business. We aim to transition by the end of this year.”
The new site for Kobé is 7,000 square feet — giving the restaurant roughly 1,000 more square feet to accommodate a larger kitchen for it’s growing to-go business —and offers more parking.
The successful and highly-rated Japanese steak house, one of 12 located in Florida, is now going to try to succeed where others have not when it moves into the former Vuelo’s Mexican Restaurant location, which was previously Señor T’s and before that Macaroni Grill, which closed in 2013.
Señor T’s opened in November 2015 but was poorly received and scathingly reviewed by many. It failed to make it through even a year, closing its doors for good in July 2016.
The Mexican eatery was rebranded, redesigned and opened with a new, but still Mexican-based, menu as Vuelo’s a few months later, in November. But, whether it was the food or the location, Vuelo’s died out just over a year later and the restaurant has been empty since 2018.
Can another restaurant succeed in that seemingly cursed location, which can be difficult to get in and out of from BBD?
Probably, considering that Chili’s has had staying power right next door. Plus, Kobé has an established reputation and is popular in New Tampa (at least according to our annual Reader Surveys, which always give the restaurant high marks). And, according to 2,756 Google ratings, Kobé has a 4.7 out of 5 rating. Yelp reviewers give Kobé 4 out of 5 stars.
In addition, Kobé has been the most successful/longest lasting of all of the restaurants to have come and gone from its location in front of the Pebble Creek Collection.
The saga began when Tampa Bay media personality Jack Harris leant his name to (and co-owned) Harris & Co., the original restaurant in Kobé’s location, which opened to rave reviews in 1997 but closed in 2000. But, Harris & Co. would just be the first of five restaurants in the building, which also has been home to Durango Steak House (2000-02, 2003), the Durango-owned Sammy Frogs (2004) and Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse (2006-11) prior to Wasabi selling its spot to Kobé.