Largo-based Ker's WingHouse will open its 22nd location in the Wesley Chapel space formerly occupied by Buffalo's Southwest Cafe.
The 4,900-square-foot building, which was built in 2007, has sat vacant since early 2009. WingHouse of Wesley Chapel LLC bought the property last December for $475,000. The franchise expects this restaurant to open in mid-March, according to a news release.
Spokeswoman Ashley Rodriguez said the new location should bring about 100 jobs to the area.
The fare includes — as its name suggests — chicken wings, as well as burgers, wraps, soups, salads, fries and more. The restaurant is adorned with sports memorabilia, has a full bar and large-screen televisions that air sports programming, including live pay-per-view boxing and mixed martial arts events.
Ker's Wesley Chapel location will be the company's second in Pasco County. The first opened in New Port Richey at 6515 U.S. 19 N.
The new eatery is among several the company hopes to open in 2013. As many as five restaurants are planned statewide this year.
The company's founder and CEO is Crawford Ker, a former NFL and University of Florida football player. The Dunedin native opened his first restaurant in 1994 in Largo. The business has since expanded as far north as Gainesville and down to Bradenton.
Before his foray into the restaurant industry, Ker was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1985 and played six seasons for the franchise. During his time with the Cowboys, he was voted team captain three consecutive years. He spent the 1991 season with the Denver Broncos before retiring in 1992.
The former college football All-American was a senior on the 1984 Florida team that won the program's first Southeastern Conference championship.
In January, the restaurant chain announced a 3 percent boost to its 2012 revenue. The company, in a news release, said the uptick was due in part to investments in technology, utilizing electronic menu boards, as well as upgrading menu items.