“Chain restaurant with a local mission.”
Fuzzy’s Taco shop is coming to Lakeland.
Brothers Ian and Adam Lieberman opened their first Fuzzy’s Taco Shop in Brandon in 2016. About one year later, the Tampa Bay natives opened their second taco shop near the University of South Florida in Tampa, and now Lakeland will be their third location.
Allow me to pause for a second. Disclaimer: yes, I may be a little partial to my excitement for a Fuzzy’s in town — after all, I am a Texas native.
The first Fuzzy’s opened in Fort Worth, Texas in 2003.
“Fuzzy’s is a concept born and tested in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and is now expanding nationwide with a real focus on the things that are important to us — the next generation of consumers,” says Ian.
Fuzzy’s may not be a local restaurant, but the owners opened up about their Tampa Bay roots and their strategy to invest back into the community and city of Lakeland just like they have been with their Tampa location.
“There are a couple things that are important to us. First, we are a family business. We are laser-focused on being active participants and citizens, and we realize that there is no success without investing in your community. What we have done in our first two locations is take major stock from the chamber and organizations, partnering with local churches and local businesses. For example, the University of South Florida is our largest customer, among all of its students, staff, and faculty. We appreciate them, and at the same time we have gone above and beyond where we partner with every one of their athletics teams and donate to all of their fundraisers.
“I tell our customers: if it’s important to you, it’s important to me, and I truly mean that.”
“When you create a relationship and build a culture around something, it really becomes infectious, and we look forward to being a part of that in Lakeland. Our passion extends much further than just the universities. We look forward to meeting and getting to know all of the organizations that are important to the community. We are open to partnership with any local organization. I tell our customers: if it’s important to you, it’s important to me, and I truly mean that. We preach that to our staff every day. We believe that one of the differences in our restaurant is that we genuinely care. You can feel it in the way the staff cares and treats each other and the way we treat our customers. You can ultimately taste that in the food as well,” says Ian.
The Fuzzy’s brand concept promises to be a value-focused, approachable, and family-oriented environment.
“We are a family restaurant with a full liquor bar, but we are always a restaurant first. The food is from scratch, and it is real food. We are not precooking anything; it is slow-cooked food full of bold flavor. Flavor is really important to us. We are constantly prepping our fresh guacamole and pico de gallo. The integrity of ingredients and integrity of food at a price point that is approachable is our model.
“Fuzzy’s will have live music from time to time, and the bar will be a really nice indoor-outdoor bar that will be open up to the patio. We are dog-friendly and look forward to our daily ‘yappy hour’ special.”
Fuzzy’s is slated to open in October at 3930 S. Florida Avenue.