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Outback Steakhouse co-founder and son open Bolay Fresh Bold Kitchen in St. Pete

Veronica Brezina

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Outback Steakhouse Founder Tim Gannon (left) and his son Chris Gannon (right) inside Bolay. Photo provided by Saturday PR.

Chris Gannon grew up watching his father Tim Gannon, co-founder of the Outback Steakhouse chain, open restaurants throughout the county and become involved in local communities – a mission he strives to continue with growing a new concept. 

Six years ago, Chris and Tim created Bolay Fresh Bold Kitchen, as Chris was inspired to bring colorful, healthy dishes across different regions. Today, with the Nov. 11 opening of the newest location at 1330 4th Street North in St. Petersburg, there are 20 restaurants. 

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Bolay Fresh Bold Kitchen location in St. Petersburg. Photo provided by Saturday PR.

“The concept happened on a whim. I was running another restaurant franchise and after seeing concepts out there especially in California, I wanted to bring Bol to life,” Chris told the St. Pete Catalyst, recalling the inspiration. “I told my dad I have an itch to open this concept and he was an entrepreneur. It takes a lot of courage to put this on the line [in creating a new concept] but we used our knowledge and my dad’s expertise. California has this bleeding-edge culinary scene in the better-for-you-healthier-for-you category. They are very progressive and we thought we could take some of those attributes.”

The 2,411-square-foot restaurant allows guests to build their bowls starting with bases such as rice, kale salad and cilantro noodles and top it with veggies (based on seasonality) like herb-roasted potatoes, Tuscan zucchini and ginger broccoli along with mojo pulled pork, miso-glazed tofu and lemon chicken. 

Chris consulted with industry leaders such as Chef Martin Oswald, a Wolfgang Puck protégé, to design the menu. 

Tim said he was excited to see the fast-casual brand introduction in St. Petersburg. The duo was eyeing St. Pete for years waiting for the ideal site to become available.  

“Outback Steakhouse was on such fertile ground. and we have a Bonefish Grill on 4th Street. St. Petersburg is a fertile ground and we have such great memories in the area,” Tim said.

“Chris grew up seeing our restaurants and how to create them – this is in his lifeblood. He was listening to me over the years and now when I listen to him, he’s got his own twist on everything. I was flat broke at 40 years old so it was an incredible journey for me.” 

He added how his son is starting his career earlier and has remained humble in the success the restaurant franchise has experienced in the short six years. 

One of the bowls at Bolay.

The first Bolay opened in Brandon earlier this year. A a drive-thru location is planned for Tampa. 

The Gannons are considering opening additional locations in Clearwater, Bradenton and Sarasota.

“The more we grow this brand, we can collect more funds that we can use for charitable giving. When you combine all the locations, you can have a bigger impact,” Chris said. “Outback has given back to the community and we want to honor that tradition.” 

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Christy Milliken

    November 16, 2021at9:52 am

    My son was one of the first 100 people on the official grand opening. He loved your food. Then he came up that evening with me. Your food is delicious and gives us it a healthy alternative. It is a bit of a drive from our home in Largo. Hopefully you have a Clearwater location and it will be closer. The food is also reasonably priced and healthy. Thank you so very much!

  2. Avatar

    Marie E

    November 16, 2021at11:12 pm

    Sounds like Fresh Kitchen to me.

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