A couple of months ago we reported that SoFresh, a small, health-oriented restaurant chain was about to expand to Lakeland. We now have a location: the spot at Lake Miriam Plaza that was occupied by Little Greek Fresh Grill until last week.

SoFresh currently has six locations in the Tampa Bay area and two in Pittsburgh; its website lists three more sites, including Lakeland, as coming soon. The company’s fast-casual restaurants offer hot bowls, salads, wraps, broth bowls, smoothies and juices.

The new Lakeland site is at 4756 S. Florida Ave. The franchise owner is Kareem Mustafa, according to Tampa Bay Business Journal in an article available to subscribers.

Kareem’s Mustafa Management owns Dunkin Donut franchises, according to a LinkedIn profile and several online job listings. He is new to SoFresh but a fan of the brand, according to QSR magazine, which follows quick-service and fast-casual restaurants.

“My family and I have always admired the food and atmosphere of the restaurant,” the magazine quoted him saying. “We are excited to be the ones to bring it to our community. We look forward to encouraging and offering food that both is delicious and makes you feel good.”

With the coronavirus forcing many small businesses to close shop, SoFresh has been able to expand by taking over existing leases, and that’s the case with the Lakeland location, we reported in July.

At the time, we said on Facebook that SoFresh was said to be going into a Lakeland shopping center anchored by a Publix store and asked for thoughts on where it might be going.

We got 80 comments, and at least seven mentioned Lake Miriam, but the commenter who nailed it was David Brandt, who said: “I think it is going into the Little Greek Fresh Grill space in Lake Miriam Plaza. (Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner).”

Looks like you were the winner of that game, David. I don’t see chicken dinner on the menu, but you can add a couple of chicken items to their warm bowls.

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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