Tampa, FL, September 29, 2006 --(PR.com
)-- A new casual dining concept inspired by the signature sandwich introduced 70 years ago by a beloved comic strip character will be launched in the Tampa Bay area this fall.
The first of hundreds of Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes LLC already under contract is scheduled to open by early November at the Coral Landing’s Shopping Center in Palm Harbor, Fla., located near the restaurant franchise company’s headquarters in Clearwater, Fla. Based on the favorite food of Dagwood Bumstead, a leading character featured in the long-running, world-renowned comic strip “Blondie,” sandwiches will be the centerpieces of this new enterprise.
In addition to a specialty sandwich dubbed the “Dagwood,” diners may select from a variety of signature sandwiches including a Cuban sandwich, New Orleans Po-Boy and Chicken Curry Swirl and a variety of wraps, salads, soups and desserts. Sandwich prices at the Palm Harbor restaurant will be competitive within the local market. Operating hours will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
With his comic book alter ego as his inspiration, cartoonist Young has dreamed of opening a sandwich shop for more than 30 years. The son of Blondie originator, the late Chic Young, Dean became the creative force behind the strip in 1973. Young creates Blondie at his 3,500-square-foot Clearwater Beach, Fla., bungalow that serves as a historical shrine, memorabilia museum and a full service art studio dedicated to the most successful comic strip on earth.
“For 70 years, fans of the comic strip could only imagine how great those wonderful sandwiches Dagwood erected might taste,” said Dean Young, the cartoon strip’s creator and co-founder of Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes. “Now sandwich lovers all over the world will be able to discover for themselves how exceptionally delicious Dagwood’s sandwiches can be.”
Like Dagwood, Young has a great fondness for food and has amassed an amazing collection of recipes that represent thousands of different dishes. With readership of the comic at an all-time high - 2,300 newspapers that reach an estimated 280 million readers worldwide each day – the time seemed right for moving the skyscraper sandwiches out of the funny papers and onto a plate.
Young maintains a hands-on role helping to develop the menu and store design for Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes. The restaurants will feature familiar faces from the comic strip projected onto giant plasma screens as well as merchandise inspired by those iconic characters. The soon-to-open 1,500-square-foot store at 33135 U.S. Highway 19 N. in Palm Harbor will serve as the prototype for future national and international franchises.
Additional Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes will quickly spread across the globe as investors continue to select locations and secure additional franchise agreements in their respective markets. Company officials announced plans were in place for more than 400 additional Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes in the United States.
“The response to Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes has been astounding,” said Lamar Berry, CEO and co-founder, Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes. “I don’t recall any new restaurant concept attracting this kind of interest so early in its inception. Months before our first restaurant even opens it doors, investors began staking their territories and securing their rights to own, operate and franchise Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes exclusively in their markets.”
To date, 356 Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes are slated to open in: Alexandria, La.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Mobile, Ala. (includes Florida Panhandle); Naples/Sarasota, Fla.; New Orleans; Orlando, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; and West Palm Beach, Fla. Berry, a renowned consumer brand franchising and marketing executive and author, expects to open approximately two Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes restaurant per week in 2007.
The company offers an exclusive corporate training program, led by former Disney University Vice President Valerie Oberle, to help “Market Partners” and franchisees launch their new ventures. Market Partners, also known as territory developers, acquire the rights to open and sell Dagwood’s franchises in geographic territories. Franchise owners acquire and operate individual restaurants.
Oberle conducts the two-week training at both the administrative headquarters in Clearwater and its state-of-the-art “Dagwood’s Top Secret Test Kitchen” in New Orleans. At the test kitchen, Emeril Lagasse-trained executive chef Geoffrey Rhode tests and perfects 30-plus menu items that will be featured at each restaurant. The first graduates of Dagwood’s training program will be recognized during a special ceremony hosted by Young on October 6 in Clearwater.
About Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes, LLC
Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes, LLC, a privately owned restaurant franchise company headquartered in Clearwater, Fla. and New Orleans, is the brainchild of “Blondie” comic strip creator Dean Young and longtime restaurant franchise executive and author Lamar Berry. Organized in 2006, it sells exclusive market partner territories representing 40 – 75 individual restaurant franchise units.
Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes have the fun, entertaining and universal appeal of the comic strip and, like the strip, they will offer guests the opportunity to suspend disbelief and step into a fun, wholesome, comic strip world. Dagwood’s will feature more than 30 delicious sandwiches on the menu including Dagwood’s Signature Sandwiches – plus soups and salads – made from the world’s tastiest meats, unique breads and distinctive condiments.
Additional information about Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes is available by visiting www.dagwoods.us.com.