The Columbus Park Crossing area of the city is landing another restaurant and it will be Fazoli’s, an Italian fast-casual concept that is locating at 6589 Whittlesey Blvd., across from the Academy Sports and Outdoors store now under construction.
“We are hoping to open sometime in the last two weeks in May. We are just starting the hiring phase and we’ll be looking to hire probably 60 people,” Greg Russ, director of operations for C&P Italian Company, the Macon, Ga.-based franchisee that will operate the Columbus Fazoli’s, said Thursday.
The 3,750-square-foot restaurant, which will seat 128 and have a drive-thru window, is going on one of three parcels of land being marketed by Columbus-based The Jordan Company across from the Academy Sports site. Pete Hart, a commercial broker and partner with the firm, said he is looking to nail down another food establishment, which would leave one final lot for the property that is adjacent to a Dairy Queen outlet.
“We’ve rough-graded the property and put in centralized retention,” Hart said of the land preparation that motorists have seen when passing by in recent months. “Then we put in one centralized curb cut. There’s going to be a traffic light there. It was a requirement for rezoning of Academy, for them to put it in.”
This will be the second time that Fazoli’s has been in the Columbus market. Its first location was at 6160 Bradley Park Drive, which was converted to a Hibachi Express following the departure of Fazoli’s sometime around 2005. Russ said he helped open that original one in Columbus, but it was eventually sold to another franchise operator who closed it. He also couldn’t say whether or not he thought the local market could support more than one Fazoli’s.
“There’s not another one planned, but you never know,” he said.
Lexington, Ky.-based Fazoli’s, which has about 220 restaurants companywide, features a menu that includes signature entrees such as Three-Cheese Tortellini Alfredo, Baked Ziti, Baked Spaghetti and “Ultimate” versions of fettuccine and spaghetti. It also serves Submarinos sandwiches, salads, pizza and, for those dining in, unlimited garlic breadsticks.
Fazoli’s executive management noted in a January press release that the chain underwent a “brand refresh” in 2017, remodeling some locations to include a modern design, upgraded plateware and wi-fi bars, as well menu improvements that include spicy penne with chicken and sausage, a Brownie Gelato Sundae dessert and tableside grated Parmesan cheese.
The release also mentioned new locations that include the one in Columbus, and others in San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Tampa, Fla. It also has agreements in place for three locations in three cities — Atlanta, Detroit and Portland, Ore. — and single locations in the Alabama cities of Prattville and Mobile.