Franchise owner opened first location in Fernandina Beach, one set for Gainesville.
Another pizza place is on the way – 1000 Degrees Pizza.
1000 Degrees Pizza-Salad-Wings is coming to 9846 Old Baymeadows Road, the former Lemongrass Thai Bistro in Deerwood Village Mall. Lemongrass moved to Flagler Center.
Prakash Patel, who owns the franchise with his brother Anil Patel, said he expects it will open by midsummer.
A site plan for Deerwood Village Mall, represented by The Shopping Center Group, shows 1000 Degrees in 3,500 square feet of space.
A pending building permit shows Trigon Construction LLC as the contractor for the $60,000 build-out.
1000 Degrees Pizza, founded in 2014 in Galloway, New Jersey, operates about 40 restaurants in 18 states, including Florida.
The company says the gas-fired rotating deck in the oven cooks pizza in 2 minutes.
The Patels opened their first area 1000 Degrees Pizza in August at 1480 Sadler Road in Fernandina Beach. Prakash Patel said a Gainesville location will open in a few weeks.
“We’re being very cautious on locations. We want to be in the right markets and the timing is based on what’s available, so in certain areas, we have to wait,” he said.
The Patels are looking at the Downtown and Riverside area, Jacksonville Beach and St. Augustine. Their territory is Northeast Florida.
The restaurant business is relatively new to them, but not customer service.
The Patels worked in the hospitality industry, including owning two Wingate Inns in Jacksonville and a Holiday Inn Express and Best Western in Kingsland, Georgia.
After selling the Wingate Inns in 2005, they managed hotels in Florida, Georgia and Alabama until 2015. They sold their Georgia hotels that year, too.
A hotel they managed in Alabama had a restaurant and sports bar. They enjoyed it.
“It was refreshing,” Patel said. “We thought it would be difficult but it’s very similar to hotels where you are dealing with guests and you have to have customer service skills.”
Patel said that they understood customer service and hospitality.
“Based on that, we started looking at the fast-casual pizza concept because that was the new style of restaurants,” Patel said.
They decided to try a different concept and chose 1000 Degrees based on the quality, the Neapolitan style of pizza that specifies a type of dough and the 2-minute bake time, the fresh ingredients, the baked wings and the build-your-own salads.
The Patels also are installing a self-serve “Pour Your Own Beer and Wine” wall, which includes 18 or 24 taps of beer and four taps of wine, depending on the location.
Beer and wine will be priced by the ounce. The system allows customers to pour their own selection and pay only for what they pour.
“It’s a learning curve for the majority of the patrons but once they figure it out they have a really good time,” Patel said.
The wine taps comprise two each of red and white.
That allows customers to taste the beers or wines to see which they like before pouring more. Some mix their beers to create their own brew.
The taps comprise four to five national beers and the remainder are local crafts and a few nationally known craft beers.
The Fernandina Beach hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. The Jacksonville and Gainesville hours will be based on demand.