Orlando-based Romacorp will start a complete remodeling of its flagship Tony Roma's restaurant on International Drive by mid-September, with up to $1 million put toward a new interior, expanded outdoor dining and potential outdoor bar, the company's COO told GrowthSpotter.
Located at 8560 International Dr. on the corner with Austrian Court, the I-Drive restaurant sits on the end of a small strip mall, partially blocked from street view by curb-side trees and landscaping.
"We've been working through this redesign for a year and a half, and want to make (that restaurant) pop more," said Brad Smith, COO and SVP of Romacorp. "I-Drive is beautifully landscaped with many trees, and we have to get more visibility through those."
The new design will include an outdoor patio with more seating, new façade and exterior colors. A potential outdoor bar and fireplace are also being considered, but final designs are still being confirmed with Orange County permitting staff.
"We're still working on the look outdoors. We want to make it cool and inviting," Smith said. The restaurant's interior will be stripped to its studs for a complete remodel and re-branding, he added, with a new interior bar to be built, and new finishes, furniture, tile and lighting added.
The property's current leasable space is 8,300 square feet, not including the current patio. That's set to expand with more outdoor seating area, and the restaurant's total number of seats (300-plus now) will go up, with a final tally determined after permitting.
The project budget, between $600,000 and $1 million, will be funded internally by Romacorp. Construction should start within 45 days, with the restaurant open to the public for all but a few weeks during the remodeling until early December, when it reopens before the holidays.
With more than 150 units for the chain across six continents, the I-Drive location is one of three Tony Roma's that Romacorp owns, with the other two based in Miami. The company will roll out the remodeling to those properties next, and on to franchisee units thereafter.
"We're really excited to get this going," Smith said. "We think this will fuel the re-brand of Tony Roma's across the world. That I-Drive location has sold a lot of franchise developments for us over the years."
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