You've probably heard of The Lucky Dill restaurant. For nearly three decades they’ve been serving up super- sized sandwiches and decadent deserts in Palm Harbor.
Well, If you've gone past The Lucky Dill's new Tampa location at Westshore and Boy Scout Boulevard, and wondered why the famous deli hasn't opened already, we have finally got your answer.
The signs are up at the location near Tampa's International Plaza. Tables set. Bar stools and big screens are ready to go. But the Lucky Dill Westshore location hasn't been so lucky - when it comes to deli delays.
“The public wants it, and they want it now. And believe me, I want it to,” said the restaurant’s owner, Joey Rosati, “We're doing everything we can to get open.”
Rosati says they're on their third contractor and been through close to a dozen subcontractors. Building and design issues have put them nearly two years behind.
“And if anyone has any knowledge of construction and how it goes, it never goes according to plan,” said Rosati.
Meanwhile, Lucky Dill’s legion of die-hard diners has grown increasingly frustrated. It’s not uncommon, said Rosati, for about 50 people a day to drive up to the palace asking if they're open yet.
“I totally get it - I totally understand it,” said Rosati.
In fact, they recently decided to take down the Westshore location’s Facebook page because comments reflecting impatience for those carnivorous creations were getting increasingly nasty.
At the flagship location in Palm Harbor, customers rave about the New York style food and huge portions.
“You get the tongue, the pastrami, the corned beef,” said customer Libby Scheck.
There’s also a drool-inducing bounty of fresh-baked goods.
“You get a lot of fake stuff at places, but you get the real stuff here,” said customer Buddy Rawls.
Folks just want that gastronomic goodness on the east side of the bay. And being told “it’s coming, be patient” since 2015, has some wondering “what’s the delay?”
Rosati sees the frustration as a blessing and a curse.
“What would a restaurant owner rather have? A restaurant on the street where no one cares they're not open, or one with the public asking a series of questions, which are very reasonable questions? I choose the latter,” said Rosati.
Part of the delay has also been the vastness and ambitious of the project which is a departure from the original. It’s an 18,000-square foot location with three concepts under the same roof.
The Lucky Dill Delicatessen and Bakery will be joined by NYKL an acronym for New York Kitchen and Lounge. NYKL offer a higher-end menu in a New York subway vibe. It will also have a live concert venue with the longest bar in the region (130 taps). Next door, concept three is a high-end speakeasy called The Stash House, offering craft cocktails late into the early morning hours.
“We've gone through a series of different plans and iterations, designs, to make this place perfect. And again, without getting into the nitty-gritty, that takes time,” said Rosati.
That said, the latest grand opening target date for the Westshore location is now sometime in the first quarter of 2018, around March or April. There’s a third location also in the works in Seminole.
“We are not going to open the doors until this place is perfect,” said Rosati. “And at the moment, it's not there yet. We're getting there.”
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