Sports bar restaurant that doesn’t serve fried food is renovating the former TGI Fridays space in Southside.
Island Wing Co. plans to take over the former TGI Fridays restaurant in the Tinseltown area of Deerwood Park and open it by football season, if not before.
It will be a new concept for a sports bar restaurant.
The wings, fries and all the traditional sports-bar fare is baked or grilled – not fried. “It is much healthier,” said franchisee Shane Powers, who said he plans several more locations in Northeast Florida.
Island Wing’s menu includes chicken wings, tenders, burgers, tacos, chopped salads, sandwiches, appetizers, vegetarian nuggets and more. And the motto is “Get Baked,” meaning there are no fried foods.
It includes a full-service bar, crafts on tap and dozens of TVs.
Construction Solutions LLC of Tallahassee is the contractor for the alterations of the existing shell building at 4409 Southside Blvd.
The restaurant, built in 1999, comprises about 7,700 square feet of interior space as well as unenclosed space.
While the permit application indicates a $450,000 interior renovation cost, contractor Bill Moore with Construction Solutions said it would be more than that because he found the kitchen interior needs to be demolished and rebuilt.
According to loopnet.com, the property offers 284 seats in the restaurant and a bar that seats 85.
Moore, also Island Wing’s planning and construction director, estimated the restaurant would take at least five months to open. He said TGI Fridays closed last summer.
Island Wing Co. says on islandwing.com that its Jacksonville location is coming soon, in the second quarter.
TGI Fridays leased the building from the property owner and Island Wing will lease the site. Powers said he intends to build the next two locations, anticipated in Bartram Market and Beachwalk in St. Johns County.
The first Island Wing opened in August 2012 in Auburn, Alabama, by a husband-and-wife team. The franchise company is based in Destin.
Its website shows restaurants in Gulf Shores and Mobile, Alabama, and in Destin and Tallahassee. Stores are “coming soon” in Jacksonville, Tallahassee and three in Orlando.
Powers said his restaurants employ 100 to 125, mostly part-time.
He said the Tinseltown project will be about $2 million while the Bartram Market and Beachwalk locations would cost at least $3.5 million to $4 million.
Powers said he is the area developer and franchisee for Duval, St. Johns, Nassau and Clay counties.
He said the first prototype store is in Tallahassee and that some customers doubt the food isn’t fried.
“We’ve taken people in the back in the Tallahassee store to show there is no fryer,” he said.
The Tallahassee menu shows appetizers; quesadillas; flatbreads; tacos; sandwiches; burgers; greens, macaroni and cheese varieties; sides; a kid’s menu; entrees that include chicken, shrimp scampi, tilapia and “no fry stir fry,”; and, of course, wings and tenders with sauces and dips, with the hottest sauce called “scorpion