Selmon’s To Become An Outback? – New Tampa residents were stunned to see the closing of Lee Roy Selmon’s on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd., one of the more popular restaurants and bars in the New Tampa area.

Rumors are running rampant about what will happen with Selmon’s, but here’s the best information we have — although none of this had been confirmed by sources at either Mvp Holdings Tampa, Inc., the company started by former Outback honchos Bob Basham, Chris Sullivan and Nicholas Reader, which owns Lee Roy Selmon’s, the new PDQ chain and Carmel Café, or by OSI Restaurant Partners LLC, which owns the land upon which the New Tampa Selmon’s sits.

The initial reports and notices on the restaurant itself indicated that Selmon’s was closing temporarily for renovations and a possible name/format change, but that either changed or never was the plan. Instead, an unnamed source with Mvp Holdings said that the bottom line was that Selmon’s lease expired and that OSI was seeking a huge increase in rent for the freestanding building which does not have direct access to BBD.

We also heard that Selmon’s might become a Carrabba’s Italian Grill, despite the fact that there already is a Carrabba’s on N. 56th St. in Temple Terrace. There also is an Outback Steakhouse next to Carrabba’s in Temple Terrace, but unnamed employees at the Temple Terrace Outback say they were told that the New Tampa Selmon’s would become an Outback. OSI apparently isn’t as concerned about a New Tampa-based Outback cannibalizing its Temple Terrace location as they are about Carrabba’s doing the same.

In the meantime, Dave Rathbun, the managing partner at Stonewood Grill & Tavern, located only about a mile from the shuttered Selmon’s, says he is sorry to see it go, even though his bar and restaurant business already had seen an uptick since Selmon’s closed.

“I never want to see a place go that helped bring people from other areas to New Tampa. Selmon’s is a known name and I really like their food and going there to watch games. We’re not a sports bar, so we don’t offer the number of TVs they do.”

We’ll keep you posted as details about Selmon’s become clearer.

Authentic Colombian Cuisine at La Pollera Colorada – Meanwhile, we hope you’ll check out another eatery, located at 8904 N. 56th St. in Temple Terrace. La Pollera Colorada, owned by longtime local restaurateur Carlos Villegas, is open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers authentic Colombian cuisine and Carlos says his is the best homemade sangria in town.

For more info, call La Pollera Colorada at 988-3030.

Wiregrass Rumor Mill: Panera & Pandora In; Cheesecake Factory…? – To update a previous item in this space, the smell of bread baking will soon be an everyday scent for shoppers. However, at this point, we cannot confirm or deny whether or not there will be cheesecake at the Shops at Wiregrass. The mall will soon be home to a new jewelry store, as well.

Along S.R. 56, a sign boasting the phrase, “Baking Soon,” has appeared, letting drivers passing by know that they will soon have a brand new Panera Bread bakery-café, where they can grab a bread bowl, sandwich, salad and a wide variety of baked goods.

According to the press release, Panera will be built on the outparcel closest to GrillSmith and S.R. 56, and is expected to be open for business sometime in November, just in time for holiday shopping.

“Our concept has been embraced by many local communities, and we look forward to sharing our signature Panera warmth in the Wesley Chapel and New Tampa area,” says Kevin Ricci, operating partner of Covelli Family Limited Partnership, a Panera franchisee that operates more than 200 Paneras across the country, 26 in the Tampa Bay area, including the location on Highwoods Preserve Dr. off Bruce B. Downs Blvd. (BBD) near I-75.

We have no further info at this time about what will replace the recently shuttered Aja. A spokesperson for the mall says that The Cheesecake Factory moving in is still just a rumor.

In addition to Panera, the Shops at Wiregrass will also soon be welcoming a Pandora Jewelry, which will move in between Chico’s and Dillard’s.

The store, which is expected to open in mid to late October, will be about 1,000 sq. ft. and will carry the entire line of sterling silver and 14-karat-gold Pandora Jewelry.

“We are offering the Wiregrass mall the entire Pandora shopping experience,” says Heidi Hardman, of Polkadotz, the franchisee. “People can create their completely custom look from our extensive line of charms to represent their own unforgettable moments, important people, pets and events.”

Burger 21 Opens Sept. 10 – Meanwhile, New Tampa’s burger battle will become even more heated on Monday, September 10.

That’s when Burger 21® (Burger, a fast-casual “beyond the better burger” franchise concept founded by the owners of The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc., will celebrate the Grand Opening of its New Tampa location, the fourth company-owned Burger 21 location in the Tampa Bay area. The restaurant will be the first tenant in the new Trout Creek Commons plaza, next to the new Auto Zone store, at 20304 Trout Creek Dr. at BBD Blvd.

“Our concept’s success in Westchase, Carrollwood and Lakeland has exceeded expectations,” says Mark Johnston, Burger 21 president and chief concept officer and president of Front Burner Brands, restaurant management company for Burger 21. We’re excited to bring our crafted burgers and shakes to New Tampa as we expand in the Bay area and beyond.”

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