More chicken restaurants are looking to hatch on the Treasure Coast.
The fast food restaurants, many still in the planning stages, include three Popeyes, two Chick-fil-A restaurants and two Zaxby’s locations.
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen could open new locations in each county, including its first restaurant in Martin County.
The proposed fried chicken restaurant could open this spring next to the RaceTrac, which opened in August at 6840 S. Kanner Highway just north of Gaines Avenue, said franchisee Marawan Raafat in an email to Treasure Coast Newspapers.
“We have been collaborating closely with the hard-working staff of Martin County to ensure all of our development standards meet and exceed the local codes,” Raafat wrote in the email. “We are excited about bringing the Popeyes brand to the local community soon.”
The fast food chain, which started in New Orleans in 1972, is headquartered in Atlanta and has more than 2,500 restaurants. Popeyes’ menu features fried chicken, spicy chicken, chicken tenders and fried shrimp, as well as jambalaya, Cajun rice and biscuits.
The first Indian River County freestanding Popeyes could open near the new Wawa on U.S. 1 near 12th Street. There’s a location on State Road 60 in the truck center near Interstate 95.
Sun Holdings, Inc. bought the nearly one acre site on the former Vatland auto dealership site for $735,000 and plans to build a Popeyes at the southern end, according to a news release from G&C Holland Vero Investors LLC, an affiliate of real estate investment group Grover Corlew.
Plans for a Popeyes in Port St. Lucie on Port St. Lucie Boulevard between Airoso and Bayshore boulevards was approved by the city commission in late 2015. City officials said they think construction will be starting soon. There already are two Fort Pierce Popeyes.
St. Lucie County could get its first Chick-fil-A restaurant.
Although plans for locations in Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie haven’t been filed yet, city officials have been talking to company representatives.
In Fort Pierce, Chick-fil-A has been looking on Okeechobee Road near the interstate, Fort Pierce Planning Director Rebecca Grohall said in an email.
Port St. Lucie announced the possibility of a Chick-fil-A opening in St. Lucie West on its Facebook page Jan. 6.
City spokeswoman Sarah Prohaska said in an email there’s a proposal for a Chick-fil-A to be located on the north side of St. Lucie West Boulevard between California Boulevard and Country Club Drive.
But some Port St. Lucie residents, including Kristofer Maki, think a location in Tradition would be a better fit than St. Lucie West for the chicken chain.
Maki started a Change.org petition on Jan. 4 to bring Chick-fil-A to Tradition, which had 250 signatures after 18 hours and more than 850 signatures Tuesday afternoon.
There are two Chick-fil-A restaurants in Martin County and two in Indian River County.
Port St. Lucie residents could get a Zaxby’s on the southeast corner of Gatlin and Savona boulevards, according to plans submitted to the city.
The fast-casual chain has more than 700 locations in 16 states, including Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Popular items include hand-breaded Chicken Fingerz and traditional or boneless wings, smothered in a choice of nine sauces with names like Wimpy, Tongue Torch, Nuclear and Insane. The menu also has salads that are called “Zalads,” and “Zappetizers” such as tater chips, spicy fried mushrooms and fried white cheddar bites.
The first Treasure Coast Zaxby’s opened in March in Jensen Beach.
Jeremiah Baron, owner and president of Jeremiah Baron & Co. Commercial Real Estate, is developing Baron Shoppes, where he said Martin County’s second Zaxby’s will open.
Baron said Metro Diner, Firehouse Subs, Freshii and Moe’s Southwest Grill also are planned for the plaza, which is redeveloping the former Wallace Chevrolet on U.S. 1 near Monterey Road in Stuart.
“We’re working with multiple, other national brands,” Baron said. “We expect it to be open by late 2017.”