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Old Bennigans comes down, Glory Days Grill to go up

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Remember eating at Bennigan’s on North Fourth Street? No? That’s probably because it closed seven years ago.

But not until Friday did the building actually come down.

According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, heavy machinery tore through the old Irish-themed restaurant to make way for Glory Days Grill.

Glory Days Grill, “the official food of hometown sports,” serves typical American sports bar food. The chain’s Florida menu contains specialties like Hellfire chicken served topped with chipotle BBQ sauce, jalepeno bacon and Pepper Jack cheese, buffalo chicken mac ‘n cheese and three different rice bowls made with chicken, teriyaki chicken or steak.

The restaurant will also feature a full-service bar with late-night drink specials and a $5 menu to attract a younger crowd.

For the kids there’s ABITA craft root beer on tap and a kids’ menu that includes grilled cheese, mac & cheese, burger, chicken fingers, shrimp, chicken, ribs or steak.

The Glory Days Grill brand is owned by MVP Holdings, a group comprised of ex-Outback Steakhouse guys including PDQ founders Nick Reader and Bob Basham as well as Carmel Café founder Chris Sullivan.

There are two other Glory Days locations in New Tampa and Palm Harbor.

The 3.7-acre plot of land is also home to the shuttered MJ’s restaurant. According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal. That building is also destined for the wrecking ball and is slated for retail space.

One of the reasons the Bennigan’s building has sat vacant for so long is its location. Restaurateurs shuttered at the idea of opening shop in the space considered too far north on Fourth Street.

But not everyone agrees with that sentiment.

“We knew it was just a matter of time before someone recognized how great a spot that is,” said landowner Patrick Walsh, who will be leasing the space to MVP. “People forget that 20 years ago, Bennigans did massive business there.”

And the partners over at MVP are likely banking on business from neighboring apartment complexes now heavily lining North Fourth Street and Ninth Street. The restaurant boom along Fourth Street hasn’t made it that far north yet, but that’s not stopping the group from opening.

According to TBBJ, owners plan to open before football season. That starts in September.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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