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Zoning requests show Bento Café Asian Kitchen & Sushi might open at Park and Lomax streets in Five Points.
Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Aug. 24, 201612:00 PM EST

Bento Café Asian Kitchen & Sushi considering Five Points location


Zoning applications show Bento Café Asian Kitchen & Sushi is interested in leasing the Fans and Stove Antiques Mall site in Five Points.

It would be the third Bento restaurant in the area. The first opened in The Markets at Town Center and the second in the Tinseltown area.

Bento Group Senior Executive Jimmy Tung said Tuesday his group was not sure yet about the Five Points location, but would know in a couple of weeks.

Applications for a zoning exception and an administrative deviation show Bento would occupy a 6,000-square-foot building at Park and Lomax streets owned by Miami investor Jeff Morr.

The exception seeks approval for the retail sale and service of all alcoholic beverages and the deviation is to reduce the minimum number of required off-street parking spaces from 32 off-street spaces to 11 on-street spaces.

Bento would be a 160-seat restaurant.

The application shows the restaurant and 20 peak-hour employees would generate a requirement for 50 parking spaces.

The application explains the new use would receive credit for 18 spaces required under the original conforming use, which reduces the number of required parking spaces to 32.

The applicant would receive credit for 11 on-street parking spaces in the Park and Lomax streets right-of-way next to the building.

Morr did not respond to emails or phone calls. The agent is Rogers Towers lawyer Wyman Duggan, who did not return a call or email.

Bento Café opened its first restaurant in the summer of 2002 near the University of Florida. It has grown to seven locations in Gainesville, Jacksonville and Orlando with more to open in Tallahassee and Davie.

Jimmy Tung and his brother, Johnny Tung, were inspired by their father to open the business. He worked in Chinese restaurants in the 1980s in New York City.

District 14 City Council member Jim Love said Tuesday he was not familiar with Bento or its interest in the site but he knew the location would be a restaurant.

“It’s a thriving area,” he said, noting that parking is always an issue.

Love said the possible addition of another restaurant gives neighborhood businesses and supporters more reason to update Five Points.

A plan is being completed to do so, including altering the sidewalks and making the noted Five Points intersection “a little bit easier to understand," he said.

The five-way intersection can be confusing for drivers, especially those who are unfamiliar with it.

Love said he was trying to get first-phase funding into the 2017-18 city budget.

“Five Points is taking off just like San Marco is,” Love said. “We are moving forward with innovative businesses coming in and it is time for an upgrade.”

Caliber Collision considering Mayport

A zoning exception request is under review for Caliber Collision at 2079 Mayport Road.

Owner Atlantic Beach Professional Office Park LLC and agent Fred Atwill seek an exception to allow an auto service garage for major repairs.

Caliber Collision proposes a 16,900-square-foot center on 4.47 acres. The property is vacant.

The company, based in Lewisville, Texas, launched its Jacksonville presence this year and operates centers at 8318 Atlantic Blvd., 13051 Beach Blvd. and 8320 Dames Point Crossing Blvd.

It is developing another in the Timuquana Commerce Center near Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

A Caliber Collision vice president said in January the privately held company wanted to open six Jacksonville locations this year.

The company calls itself the largest collision-repair company in the country.

Chicken Salad Chick to open in Galleria Marketplace

Chicken Salad Chick of Jacksonville intends to open Tuesday at 6025 Butler Point Road in the Galleria Marketplace. It will be the 14th Chicken Salad Chick in Florida and the third in Jacksonville.

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