CRESTVIEW — A fast-food restaurant franchise with a popular chicken menu is coming to town.
If all goes well, Zaxby's, under construction on South Ferdon Boulevard, should open the third week of July, according to Steve Hay, who owns the Fort Walton Beach franchise.
The 3,195-square-foot restaurant — on the corner of South Ferdon and Hugo Lane — will have a 71-seat capacity.
The restaurant initially will have an estimated 40 employees; about half the staff — those suited for restaurant operations — will remain, Hay said. Hiring dates will be announced after the restaurant's electronic sign starts operating.
Hay, who lives in Navarre, said he wanted to build a restaurant closer to the Interstate 10 eastbound exit four years ago, but Crestview's traffic impact fees raised concerns.
"It just added too much substantial cost, so we went to Fort Walton Beach," he said.
Interest in a Crestview site returned when city officials put a moratorium on traffic impact fees.
Another key factor in his decision was the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) compound addition and the chance to be located near the interstate, Hay said.
Zaxby's first restaurant opened in 1990; currently, there are more than 600 locations throughout 15 states in the southeast region of the United States, according to a news release.
But the Crestview addition won't be just another number, Hay said, adding the restaurant will be involved with the community. Hay plans to join the Crestview Chamber of Commerce and take part in Hub City happenings.
"We plan to be a part of the Crestview community, just like we did in Fort Walton (Beach)," he said.