The line started early at Pollo Tropical’s grand opening in the Carrollwood-Northdale area of Tampa. Richard Coley and his mother, Peggy were the first in line at 4 a.m. Friday at the new restaurant located at 15298 N. Dale Mabry, the former site of a Burger King. The Coleys from St. Petersburg came prepared with their lawn chairs and umbrella to wait for the doors to open at 10:30 a.m. Fans of Pollo Tropical came early to be among the first 100 people to get a free chicken dinner coupon at this location to use another time, not for today’s grand opening. The family-friendly restaurant also gave away one year’s worth of free chicken dinners to a lucky customer this morning.
As customers lined up, Magic 94.9 FM radio’s Ann Kelly and others were on hand for the grand opening. Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan cut the ribbon. Hagan said he visited the Pollo Tropical when it opened in Miami in 1990 or 1991. During the day, hundreds of customers streamed into the fast-food restaurant. The street party with music and free give-a-ways continues until 7 p.m. today.