Bob Evans restaurant eyes Cortez Commons site

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BROOKSVILLE — First, it was Bonefish Grill. Now Bob Evans becomes the second restaurant to commit to the new Cortez Commons.

The Ohio-based chain submitted building plans to Hernando officials last week and intends to open its first county location at the new shopping center under construction at the southwest corner of State Road 50 and Mariner Boulevard.
The redesigned Wendy’s at 14339 Spring Hill Drive opened for business Wednesday. MICHAEL D. BATES/STAFF

Customers now must travel to U.S. 19 near the Gulf View Square Mall in Port Richey to reach the nearest Bob Evans.

Other tenants committed to the Cortez Commons shopping plaza are Hobby Lobby, Mattress Firm and Vitamin Shoppe.

The new 4,781-square-foot restaurant has seating for 131 people.

The building plans still must be reviewed by various county departments and must comply with code requirements.

County Commissioner Jim Adkins said the introduction of a new business to the area brings needed jobs and increases the tax base.

“It’s all good for the community,” Adkins said.

Adkins said intersection improvements will have to be done at Cortez Commons to alleviate traffic congestion. Any improvements likely will wait until the widening of State Road 50 is completed in the summer of next year, he said.

Dave Hamilton, operations manager with the Pasco-Hernando Workforce Board, said restaurant chains use market research to decide locations.

“They figured out there is a market for it and that there’s a customer flow that wants that particular type of food here,” Hamilton said. “With big chains like that, they don’t come in unless they know they’re going to make it.”

Bob Evans serves a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees. Like Bonefish Grill, it will occupy an outparcel at Cortez Commons.

The Bonefish Grill will have 6,898 square feet of space and 193 dining seats, 38 of which will be on an outdoor patio.

A Bob Evans corporate representative could not be reached for comment so there is no word how many employees would be needed. However, Daniel Foster, director of construction for Bonefish Grill, recently told Hernando Today that his new restaurant will employ 80 to 100 people when it opens sometime this year.

Like all the newer locations, the Brooksville Bonefish will be open for lunch.

Hobby Lobby, a crafts and home décor retailer, also plans to open this year, bringing about 35 to 50 jobs.

In related news:

♦ The Wendy’s restaurant at 14399 Spring Hill Drive, at the corner of Barclay Avenue, held its grand opening Wednesday after being closed several weeks for remodeling.

The Spring Hill location boasts the company’s new contemporary design, which includes lounge seating with fireplaces, flat-screen televisions, Wi-Fi and digital menu boards.