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Sugar Factory American Brasserie renovating the closed Brio at $2.5 million
The city issued a permit March 9 for Blue Dolphin Construction LLC to renovate the closed Brio Tuscan Grille in The Markets at Town Center for the Sugar Factory American Brasserie at a cost of $2.5 million.
The building is at 4910 Big Island Drive. Blue Dolphin is based in Cooper City, near Fort Lauderdale.
Las Vegas-based Sugar Factory said Oct. 29 it expects to open in The Markets at Town Center in late spring 2022, although that time frame appears to be later considering the permit was just issued.
“Sugar Factory has brought its high-energy dining experience to guests at locations throughout Florida – including Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Aventura – so Jacksonville was a natural choice for our next destination,” the company said in an emailed statement Oct. 29.
It said it looks forward to bringing “a sweet escape for guests of all ages to the Jacksonville community.”
The Big Island Drive restaurant was built in 2012 for lease to Brio, which closed in January 2020.
Sugar Factory will lease the 8,535-foot-square building, which also has outdoor areas.
It said it will have 179 seats in the main dining area, 20 bar stool seats and 107 outdoor patio seats. That totals 306 seats.
“We’ve already begun transforming the space into our next Sugar Factory location,” the restaurant company said.
Renderings show an open, light-filled restaurant with a video wall in the main dining area; a retail candy store to the left of the entrance and a Candy Heart Wall to the right; the bar; outdoor patio dining; and two Instagram flower walls.
Hours will be 11 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-midnight Sunday.
It did not disclose the lease terms.
Sugar Factory did not say how people it will hire and directs candidates to watch sugarfactory.com for information.
It said it looked forward to becoming a part of the Jacksonville community and hiring “fun-loving and hard-working employees.”
Sugar Factory is known for its couture lollipops, celebrity sightings and tropical cocktails up to almost $40.
Sugar Factory’s LinkedIn site says the company made confections part of the popular culture and turned its Couture Pops into a designer accessory, with stars such as Britney Spears, Drake, Kim Kardashian, Eva Longoria and others photographed with the sparkly lollipops.
The company said that from the moment guests step into Sugar Factory, “they’ll be immersed in Instagrammable moments.”
It offers an Instagram feature cafe in the front; indoor-outdoor dining and a bar with operable doors to a large outdoor patio with a trellis and lighting; and a large video wall. There will be a flower and candy wall.
Plans show the entrance will open to the dining area, with a retail store to the former private dining to the left and the Candy Heart Lounge to the right.
As with Brio, there are outdoor dining and lounge areas. The bar remains a central feature in the back part of the property.
“I think it will be super successful,” said Kelly Pulignano, vice president of The Shopping Center Group, in April.
She and The Shopping Center Group partner and Senior Vice President Stephanie McCullough represented the former landlord, Hines, in the lease deal.
The sugarfactory.com website lists 24 U.S. locations and several internationally.
Its six Florida locations are listed as four in Miami and at ICON Park in Orlando; and the Tampa Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
The online menu for the Tampa location shows appetizers, soups and sides, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, pancakes and waffles and grilled entrees.
Prices include a $14 grilled cheese, $14 Caesar salad, $18 club sandwich, $18 signature burger, $19 penne marinara, $26 chicken and waffles, $32 pan-roasted salmon and a $48 filet.
Sides are $8.
There also are milkshakes that start at $12, sundaes and other desserts.
The “World Famous Sugar Factory King Kong Sundae” is $99 and serves 12.
An extensive specialty cocktail menu online includes $37 drinks, such as a strawberry lemonade smash, tropical fruit punch and a lollipop passion, and others including a $17 coconut chocolate bar and a $16 Grape Crush.
Sugar Factory hosts parties, weddings and other events, as well.