Skillets, a Naples-based breakfast and lunch restaurant, expects to open a new location in July at Peachland Promenade in Port Charlotte. The 4,200-square-foot restaurant is less than a week away from receiving its permits issued to begin construction at 24123 Peachland Blvd., Unit A10.
“We’re looking forward to being there because Port Charlotte is a different place than it was even five years ago,” said Skillets founder Ross Edlund. “It’s just incredible how it’s grown and we want to be part of the action.”
The plaza is anchored by Publix and Planet Fitness, with Skillets taking the place of the town’s Hallmark store, which closed in late January after 22 years.
The location has visibility right off Kings Highway, making it an ideal location for the restaurant, Edlund said. “It was a slam dunk,” he said. “We just saw the center and [said], ‘Yes, this is where we need to be, right here.’”
The restaurant is known to make everything from scratch, including homemade syrup, corned beef hash, French toast topped with fresh berries and hand-squeezed orange juice.
“It has to be good stuff, we don’t cut corners,” Edlund said. “We present our customers what we feel is a premier breakfast, top of the line.”
Skillets has been serving its customers premium ingredients such as thick-cut Smokehouse bacon, grade AA large eggs and locally sourced dairy products since its first Naples location opened in 1995. It has been on an expansion program for the last seven years, following a halt in expansion after the company’s fifth location opened.
“We got some investors involved and we changed the whole dynamic,” Edlund said. “Now we’re expanding rather aggressively.”
The company has a total of 14 stores, and expects to open three to four stores per year over the next few years. Until recently, expansion consisted of working its way up Florida’s west coast but is shifting gears to focus on expansion on the east coast. A location in Delray Beach is expected to open in less than a month, with another location in Wellington planned for later this year.
However, Skillets is not planning on franchising as each location is a company-owned store.
“As we grow on the other coast, we’ll be setting up different centers of district managers,” Edlund said. “But the main thing we want to stick to is we want these Skillets to be the same. They have the same quality and the same homey feel that we had with the very first restaurant in 1995.”
Skillets’ classic canvas prints of its food as decor will be a feature in the new location along with the same pine accents in its interior as others, as well as a Pioneer Room, a private room in each location that highlights pioneers in the area. Edlund’s wife, Skillets co-founder Noreen Edlund, is in charge of design of the Pioneer Room in each location. She travels to area historical societies for each location and prints and frames photos of pioneers.
The menu will be the same at the Port Charlotte location, offering both breakfast and lunch options. However, the new location will emphasize its patio seating.
“We’ve got a lot of plants outside that the plaza has supplied,” Edlund said. “ … We’re going to work the patio in and around what’s there right now. It’s set back enough and there’s enough vegetation that the patio is going to be a real feature of this restaurant.”
The restaurant will seat 180 patrons, including indoor and outdoor options.
“In Port Charlotte, I feel that we’re going to have a terrific audience there,” Edlund said. “We want it to feel like it’s your Skillets, it’s a neighborhood place, not part of a big chain. That’s our philosophy.”