By Gina M. Capone
Wellington’s Architectural Review Board approved exterior modifications for the 6,000-square-foot Ford’s Garage restaurant site at the Mall at Wellington Green on Wednesday, April 17.
The burger and beer chain is slated to open on June 4, and the Wellington restaurant will be the first to open on the east coast of Florida.
Ford’s Garage was seeking board approval of a metal insulated canopy, railings, colors and modifications to the exterior elevations of the building. The Planning & Zoning Department received a justification statement from Sol Design LLC, the architect of record.
Representing Ford’s Garage was Stacy Cofield, joint venture partner for Ford’s Garage South Florida, as well as Carlos Molnar and Joseph Caiazza of Sol Design.
“This is our first meeting for the exterior canopy area and enclosures for the patios,” Molnar said before the meeting. “We have been under construction for a couple of months now at the Mall at Wellington Green for the interior work, and now we are working on bringing along the exterior.”
The restaurant will be located near the main entrance to the mall near the food court. The Wellington location is important to Ford’s Garage.
“We have roots here because of our past association with Outback Steakhouse,” Cofield said. “Tim Gannon, one of our original founders of Outback, resides in Palm Beach and has for some time. So, we are resource-rich here with past management and employees. We have a very rich relationship with Starwood Capital Group as well.”
Starwood Capital Group is the owner of the Mall at Wellington Green.
Cofield explained why Ford’s Garage is unique. “The restaurants are unique because all of the food is fresh. We don’t use any frozen products. There is a heightened awareness of the service. There is uniqueness in the brand. The menu is innovative. We are a family driven restaurant,” he said.
The original location of Ford’s Garage opened in the historic district of Fort Myers in 2012, close to the famed winter residence of Henry Ford. With 12 locations, Ford’s Garage at the Mall at Wellington Green will have a similar feel, with the ambiance of being in a service station in the 1920s with vintage Ford vehicles and gas pumps.
The menu has an assortment of gourmet burgers, chicken and vegetarian products with salads and light fare to please everyone. They also specialize in “comfort food” with the likes of homemade meatloaf, chili and macaroni and cheese.
American craft beer is the specialty of the restaurant, but they also offer wine and cocktails, as well as non-alcoholic beverages.
For the loyal customer, Ford’s Garage Motor Club gives patrons 25 percent off every fourth visit.
“The exterior elevations and materials leave the storefront windows intact along the north elevation, which encourages natural lighting,” Wellington Planner Branden Miller explained to the board. “Also, the existing architectural elements, such as brick pavers and tile, are to remain, as well as the existing trees and hedges that line the storefront. The proposed canopy will have colors that are black, red and yellow, which will be complemented by the dark bronze canopy in the columns. Our recommendation is that the staff recommends approval with the conditions listed in the staff report.”
The Architectural Review Board voted to approve the plans with the condition that the exhibited colors were the colors approved.
The site will be located at 10300 W. Forest Hill Blvd. in Suite 122. Learn more about the restaurant chain at www.fordsgarageusa.com.