Sugarfire Smoke House wants to open in early 2021

It's developing the former Panera Bread restaurant at 12959 Atlantic Blvd.

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The Jacksonville franchise owner of St. Louis-based Sugarfire Smoke House said Oct. 29 that he hopes to open in January, permits pending, at the former Panera Bread restaurant at 12959 Atlantic Blvd., east of Girvin Road.

Shy Patel, one of four members of the franchise ownership group, said he would know more after the project is approved and he can determine the start date for the construction, electrical, plumbing and related work.

He said his group had to redesign the hood system, which took two months after he first submitted for approval from the city.

Records show he applied for interior demolition in April and the permit was issued July 1.

An application was filed July 1 and resubmitted Oct. 20 for permits for interior kitchen exhaust hoods, equipment and interior painting.

“We have purchased all equipment, furniture and signage for the restaurant. All we need is permits,” he said.

“We cannot wait to finish the project and open.”

Patel anticipates his group will invest close to $750,000 in the Jacksonville build-out. The 4,365-square-foot space is in a corner unit at the strip center.

ACT Architects LLC of Jacksonville is the designer. 

Once Sugarfire opens, Patel expects to hire 10-15 employees and grow to 20 to 40. 

“If you need some ‘cue on the go, Sugarfire Smoke House will have dine-in, carry-out, and delivery options,” says the Sugarfire website, adding that it also offers off-site event catering, including event design and custom menu creation. 

Patel said previously his franchise group, BBQ Florida LLC, intends to open at least eight locations in Florida, including two in Jacksonville. 

Sugarfire’s menu includes smoked ribs, brisket, pulled pork, turkey and sausage links, salmon, burgers, specialty sandwiches, salads, sides, desserts, shakes and floats, a kid’s meal and more. Patel said Sugarfire would serve beer and wine.