PDQ restaurant partly owned by Tebow planned for SR 200 in Ocala
Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 2:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 2:54 p.m.
The building that housed the short-lived House of Japan sushi and Japanese steakhouse on Southwest College Road is giving way to chicken and turkey – and Tim Tebow.
According to a site proposal filed with the city of Ocala this week, a new quick service chain known as PDQ – short for “People Dedicated to Quality” – is coming to that spot at 3410 SW College Road.
Under the plan, the existing building that was a Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon until 2008 will be demolished with a gleaming new building taking its place. A late spring or early summer opening is expected.
Tebow, a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback for the University of Florida Gators and former NFL quarterback with the Denver Broncos and New York Jets, is one of the investors in this Ocala location, a spokesman for the chain confirmed Thursday. Tebow also is an investor in the Jacksonville unit.
Vinny Testaverde, a fellow Heisman Trophy-winner with the University of Miami Hurricanes and an NFL signal caller for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns and six other NFL teams, also is part of the ownership group with Tebow here and in Jacksonville.
Based in Tampa, PDQ was developed nearly four years ago by Outback Steakhouse co-founder Bob Basham and Nick Reader, a one-time executive with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It's considered one of the fastest growing quick-service chains by the food industry and business press. Basham and Reader opened the first PDQ on Oct. 30, 2011 near Plant High School in Tampa.
Gainesville also may be getting a PDQ in the foreseeable future.
In an email, PDQ Chief Marketing Officer Jeffrey Kamis wrote that currently the chain has 15 restaurants already open, with three more expected to open by the end of the year – one in Mobile, Ala., and the other two in North Carolina.
PDQ specializes in hand-breaded chicken tenders and sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, fresh cut French fries, salads and hand-spun milkshakes. There are no burgers or chicken wings on the menu. It's also already becoming known for dine-in and face-to-face drive-thru options. The typical check for a combo meal is under $7.
Also according to the food industry press, PDQ does not offer traditional franchising; instead, it partners with local investors. Some better-known partners include Tebow and Testaverde, along with former Tampa Bay Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks.
For years, Lone Star was a “Food Row” staple on College Road. But it was among 27 Florida outlets closed in early 2008 by the Kansas-based chain. The building there was built originally in 1986 and housed a Bill Knapp's restaurant. The site was sold to Lone Star in 1994, according to public records.
The building reopened as the House of Japan Japanese steakhouse and sushi bar in late 2011, closing about a year later; it's been vacant since.