Bedrock Wings is moving one of its two locations to downtown Lakeland, taking over the recently vacated Pita Pit location at 127 S. Kentucky Ave. Owner Sam Joaquin, 36, of Lakeland, said he plans to close the Bedrock Wings restaurant on U.S. 92 East near Old Dixie Highway and move it to the downtown building, which he is purchasing.
“It was time for a change, (and) time to come to a better location. I love downtown Lakeland. I just really wanted to move my brand to a better location downtown where we can serve more people,” he said. “I know it will do significantly better.”
Joaquin expects to close the sale of the building that has housed Pita Pit and Dissent Craft Brewing next Monday. He hopes to open the restaurant there by November, but said that will all depend on the city’s permitting process and how quickly he can find a hood installation company to assist him with enlarging the current hood in the kitchen.
“I’m super excited. Nervous, but I’m super excited because I know (the restaurant) is going to crush it. I think it’s one of the missing food items downtown. They’re missing America’s food item: wings,” Joaquin said.
To set themselves apart, Joaquin hopes to keep his family-owned restaurant open later than most locales downtown. He hopes he can find the staffing to be able to be open until 1 or 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 9 or 10 p.m. Monday through Thursdays. He said his restaurants are always closed on Sundays, as he believes that day should be reserved for rest.
The new location will have a few indoor tables, and Joaquin would like to add some outside if the city allows. He plans to also offer delivery through services such as Doordash, GrubHub, and Uber Eats.
Joaquin said employees from the U.S. 92 location will move to the downtown store. And because of the longer hours, he wants to hire former Pita Pit employees who want to learn the wing business.
“I am more than willing to keep whatever employees there if they’re up to the challenge and meet our standards,” Joaquin said, adding he needs to hire cashiers and line cooks.
The Kathleen High School graduate, who moved to Lakeland from Massachusetts when he was 3 years old, said he is living his lifelong dream. Ever since he was child, Joaquin recalls being enamored of owning a restaurant.
The journey started for him around 2014, when he initially attempted to purchase the Bedrock Wings brand. The deal fell through when Joaquin said the owner backed out. Persistent, Joaquin said he continued to eat there and kept asking the owner to sell. The former owner sold him both locations – the other one is at 2064 E. Edgewood Drive – in January of 2021.
“I owned other businesses in Lakeland for 20 plus years and I’ve always been intrigued with the restaurant industry,” Joaquin said. “I always thought they had the best wings in town. I asked the owner for seven years to buy it.”
When he bought both locations, he also acquired the recipes, which includes 30 wing sauces, many of them homemade. He said the menu is extensive, with eight pages of options ranging from wings to burgers to Cuban sandwiches, salads and wraps.
“Our wings are always fresh. They’re delivered every week. We don’t freeze our wings,” Joaquin said.
Before owning Bedrock Wings, Joaquin ran ET Limos for 19 years; it was housed on U.S. 98 North until his landlord sold the property to Culver’s. After a year or two, Joaquin said he decided to cease operating ET limos and dive into the restaurant industry.
The downtown Bedrock Wings location represents the first time Joaquin will own the building where his restaurant is located, something else he’s excited about. “I don’t want to be at the mercy of a landlord anymore,” Joaquin said,
According to Polk County property records, the building last sold for $600,000 in 2018. Joaquin has not said how much he is paying for the property.
Joaquin credits his wife for much of his success and said it’s a team effort.
“As years went on, my wife, Brittany, really stepped up to the plate and gave up the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom to help me with the restaurants,” he said; the couple has two children.
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