Sunday, June 29, 2003

Two restaurants plan locations in Florence



By Brenna R. Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Two restaurants are coming to Florence. One is new to town, the other is a new twist on an old standby.

The first Tristate location of a new kind of LaRosa's restaurant will be built on Merchant Street near Houston Road.

The restaurant features an expanded menu and a casual dining area with a full bar while keeping the traditional pizzeria dining room, said Pete Buscani, executive vice president of marketing for the Cincinnati-based chain.

"All the things everybody loves about LaRosa's are still there," Buscani said.

LaRosa's opened a similar restaurant in Centerville, Ohio, last fall, but Florence will be the only one in Greater Cincinnati, he said.

The casual zone will feature televisions and a bar, while the traditional dining room will be kid-friendly, Buscani said. It also features an expanded pasta section and desserts. The design of the restaurant is based partly on the chain's original store on Boudinot Avenue in Cincinnati.

LaRosa's and franchise owner Tarik Daoud decided to open the new 5,834- square-foot restaurant in Florence because they were coming to the end of a lease at the Mall Road location. The Mall Road store will close when the new restaurant opens sometime in December.

"Florence has been a good location for us for 20 years," said Daoud, who owns nine LaRosa's locations. Moving to the fast-growing Houston Road corridor will also give the restaurant a higher-profile location, Daoud said. The design of the new restaurant has been approved by the Boone Planning Commission, said Kevin Wall, director of zoning.

And just across Houston Road, a Hooters restaurant is planned on 1.5 acres on Houston just north of Ky. 18. The Boone County Planning Commission approved the design of the restaurant this week, Wall said. The Florence site will be the second Northern Kentucky location of the restaurant best known for wings and "Hooter's girls." The other location is in Newport.

The 4,800-square-foot restaurant will be next to the Kmart parking lot.

Hooters offers seafood, sandwiches, salads and chicken wings and has 330 locations worldwide.

E-mail bkelly@enquirer.com




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