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Rezoning sought to allow Pollo Tropical in Johns Creek


Attorney says it won't stress area



Pollo_Tropical_Grilling
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A Pollo Tropical chef grills chickens whole. Dishes like this could come to Johns Creek if the restaurant gets the rezoning it requested for a State Bridge Road location. (click for larger version)
February 21, 2012
Johns Creek, Ga. — Residents seeking Caribbean food might be able to find it on State Bridge Road — if Pollo Tropical gets the rezoning to permit a restaurant there.

Vice President of Marketing and Communications Kim Miller said Pollo Tropical is based on the concept of fresh, never-frozen grilled chicken and other healthy grilled meats and made-from-scratch side dishes served at the speed of patrons' lives. To this end, the restaurant offers drive-thru, take-out and dine-in options.

"We do not have an executed contract for the site, but we are extremely interested in Johns Creek for a number of reasons," she said.

Johns Creek has a large number of families, and typically families are loyal customers. She attributed this to the restaurant's customizable family meals that can be expanded to feed three to eight people.

Johns Creek's demographics are also favorable to the restaurant. A typical Pollo Tropical customer is in his or her 30s, cares about eating healthily, is more affluent and seeks more value for their dollar. Johns Creek matches this demographic profile.

Furthermore, Pollo Tropical's operations are centered on lunch and dinner. Lunchtime is typically the domain of businesspeople, while dinnertime appeals to families.

Although no Pollo Tropical restaurant has had a brick exterior before, the current plan calls for the Johns Creek location to have one. Miller said this would be in keeping with other businesses in the area, and the company strives to fit in with the neighborhoods hosting their restaurants.

Garvis Sams Jr., a Marietta attorney, is representing the company, which seeks rezoning to permit their operations in Medlock Center at 5805 State Bridge Road.

"The shopping center was rezoned back in 1993 to C-1," he said. "There was a stipulation that excluded fast food and standalone restaurants."

He said things have changed since 1993 and there is already a Panera Bread across the street.

Furthermore, he described Pollo Tropical as "fast casual," rather than fast food. Although there is a drive-thru, based on how the Lawrenceville restaurant operates, 80 percent of the customers will be eating inside.

Sams made the case that allowing the restaurant would be consistent with the city's future land use program. Since the restaurant is slated for a commercial node, it shouldn't affect any residential areas. Furthermore, traffic studies have shown there will not be a negative effect on any nearby intersections.

According to the website of the Johns Creek Planning Commission, the issue is slated for discussion at the April 10 meeting.

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