More than 13 months after Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa owner Thomas Ward signed the lease for a new location at the former home of Winter Park’s Bubbalou’s Bodacious Bar-B-Que, fans – and Ward – are waiting on an opening date.
“I’ve ordered all the restaurant equipment, air conditioning and exhaust system, so I’m ready in that sense,” Ward told the32789, adding that the permitting issues that stalled construction are nearing completion.
“The building hasn’t been renovated in 35 years, there were some issues that needed to be worked out,” he said. “It’s just taken more time than we expected and I know people are very anxious for that location to open, and so am I.”
A permit posted on the building, located at 1471 Lee Rd., specifies minor demolition to the interior. The bigger job, according to Ward, involves an expanded parking lot design that will add volume to the existing drive-thru configuration. The new lot, which must comply with Florida Department of Transportation guidelines and improved stormwater drainage, is part of the reason for the delay. But Ward believes it will be worth the wait.
“The interior will be completely for kitchen space and a new outdoor area will seat about 50 people,” said Ward. “We’ll have a longer lot with more parking spaces and the ability to hold a longer line for the drive-thru.”
In addition to being a focal point of the design, the drive-thru is also playing a part in designing the menu. The Lee Road location will include the platter options offered at the Mills Ave. location, but the bento boxes and urban tacos will stay behind to make way for a new concept.
“We will be doing rice or noodle bowls with a choice of four different proteins,” said Ward, referring to the new items as Wok Bowls.
“It’s a more versatile product that we can run through the drive-thru quicker,” he said. “We’ll have our different sauces so that people can choose what they would like, but it just facilitates the drive-thru. We want to make sure that we can execute correctly on that.”
Ward said he may be able to begin prepping the parking lot in January and is hopeful for a June opening date. He is expecting to take delivery on restaurant equipment by Jan. 19 with air conditioning and HVAC arriving in February. Ironically, the supply chain issues that would have caused construction setbacks are falling into the altered timeline of the permitting delays. However, staffing comes with another set of challenges.
“People have changed their habits in terms of wanting to come to work in the restaurant business,” said Ward, who is assembling the management team for the new location and will begin hiring the rest of the staff two months before opening. “I think there’s more accessibility to jobs where people can work from home and that’s made it tougher for us. So, we just have to relearn everything and try to understand a new way of doing businesses.”
Ward took to Instagram over the weekend to offer a brief update on the progress, and says updates will be posted on Pig Floyd’s social media pages.