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PHOTO COURTESY MICHAEL BENEDICT SOMETHING SIMILAR — The Jimmy Hula’s in DeLand will look similar to this sister outlet in Port Orange, although that location isn’t really two floors high, which the DeLand eatery will be. Jimmy Hula’s in DeLand is expected to open late next year or early the following year.

The sign has been up for months. Now we know when a Jimmy Hula’s restaurant will open on North Woodland Boulevard.

Michael Benedict, one of the three co-owners of the eatery, said it could be late next year when diners will first be served at 235 N. Woodland Blvd., between the Cobb Cole law offices and Bee Realty Corp’s Downtown office, which recently underwent an expansion.

“We hope to be open at the end of 2022 or early 2023,” Benedict told The Beacon.

Benedict, Jose Cifuentes and Bobby Zitzka bought the property and are equal partners in the business, which owns one Jimmy Hula’s each in Port Orange and Ormond Beach and has another one planned for New Smyrna Beach.

Cifuentes is the “primary operating partner,” while the other two are “background partners,” Benedict said.

And while progress on the DeLand site has been slow and not very evident, a lot has been done since the property was purchased, he said, while admitting there is still a lot left to do.

 

PHOTO COURTESY MICHAEL BENEDICT
YUM, YUM! — Jimmy Hula’s menu includes turf tacos, like the “Kingston Taco” at the right and fish tacos like the “VooDoo Taco” on the left.

First up was tearing down an old, ramshackle building on the lot, which required a permit from the City of DeLand that took a while to get.

Then the COVID pandemic brought everything to a screeching halt, Benedict said. It has only been recently that the partners have been lining up the team to design and build the restaurant — architects, engineers and contractors.

Now, Benedict said, initial designs could be ready next month, with any modifications and approvals coming in the following months.

“We hope to break ground in early 2022,” he said.

The hardest part is the actual construction, Benedict said.

“The supply chain, material costs and labor supply are all problems,” he said. “We think we’ll be moving forward faster now.”

The DeLand restaurant will be a two-story affair, with indoor and outdoor seating on both levels for a combined 150 or so patrons. Full liquor bars will be on both floors, Benedict said.

PHOTO COURTESY MICHAEL BENEDICT
HANDS-ON PARTNER — Jose Cifuentes will be the operating partner running things at the four Jimmy Hula’s restaurants planned in Volusia County, including the one coming to DeLand. He is shown with Michael Benedict’s daughter, Calla Benedict, who is working at the Port Orange restaurant for her first summer job.

“This will be the first two-story Jimmy Hula’s,” he said.

Jimmy Hula’s is a small regional chain based in metro Orlando with just 10 outlets — not counting DeLand and New Smyrna Beach — at this point stretching up to Jacksonville. When the restaurants in DeLand and New Smyrna Beach are built, Benedict and his partners will have all four franchised locations in Volusia County.

According to the chain’s website, the menu at Jimmy Hula’s includes fish tacos, “turf” tacos, burgers, signature dishes, bowls, salads and munchies. There also are a brunch menu and a children’s menu. All the menu items are made fresh from scratch daily, using no preservatives.

And Benedict is looking forward to being a part of DeLand.

“The City of DeLand has been great to work with, and our neighbors and everybody else have been, too,” said Benedict, who actually grew up in the city. “I can’t say enough good things about DeLand.”

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