Fast casual Italian chain Fazoli’s opens its first Tampa location next week

Loosen your belts and mark your calendars for Feb. 8, because Fazoli’s is back, baby.

click to enlarge Fazoli's / Facebook
Fazoli's / Facebook
Back in 2019, Fazoli’s CEO Carl Howard announced plans to bring five locations of the beloved Italian chain to Tampa Bay, and next week marks the beginning of the official Fazoli’s invasion when its Busch Gardens-adjacent location opens on Tuesday, Feb. 8.

The upcoming Tampa location at 4011 E Busch Blvd. will celebrate its grand opening next week, although it is unclear what time Fazoli’s will open. Most locations open at 10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m., but you can follow @FazolisBuschGardens on Facebook for the latest updates.

The fast casual chain is best known for classic baked pastas like the chicken carbonara or loaded baked spaghetti, as well as “fan favorites” (which has its own section on the menu), including chicken fettuccine alfredo, lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs. Pizza and wings occupy the non-pasta section of the Fazoli’s dinner menu.
The Fazoli’s menu is consistent across its dozens of locations, with new appetizers like fried mozzarella skewers and baked meatballs, and desserts like brownies, cookies, and Cheesecake Factory cheesecake slices. And if you’re on diet, there’s also an extensive and (probably lonely) selection of salads to choose from too.

Whether it's child-like nostalgia or a serious yearning for endless breadsticks, there’s no doubt that Fazoli’s has a loyal Tampa Bay fan base. By the looks of Fazoli’s Facebook comments, you’d think the casual Italian chain was a popular band by the way hundreds of fans beg them to open a location in their city.

Plant City’s Fazoli’s will also celebrate its highly-anticipated grand re-opening on Feb. 22. That location opened in 2017 but has been temporarily closed due to renovations.

According to restaurantnews.com, 25-30 Fazoli’s franchises throughout the country will open this year. There are roughly 200 Fazoli’s locations open currently, with only a few in Florida, including restaurants in Mary Esther, Pensacola and Clermont in addition to Tampa and Plant City.

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