NEW: Popular diner chain plans location in Royal Palm Beach

A busy Royal Palm Beach shopping plaza is requesting a change that would bring a popular restaurant chain and a new dental office to the area.

Southern Palm Crossing — the home of Costco, HomeGoods, Marshalls, Bru’s Room and more — requested a site plan modification to allow the combined-use building on what now is a grassy space just east of the BB&T bank outparcel and west of the plaza’s entrance on Southern Boulevard.

The restaurant would be a new location for Metro Diner, a chain serving home-cooked meals with locally sourced ingredients. According to its website, Metro Diner started in Jacksonville and now has locations in several states. This would be the first Metro Diner in Palm Beach County.

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The existing Southern Palm Crossing site plan allows for a 7,250-square-foot restaurant. The modification would change that to at 3,529-square-foot restaurant and 3,000-square-foot dental practice, said Royal Palm Beach Planning and Zoning Director Bradford O’Brien.

A representative for the plaza’s owner, ShopCore Properties, did not return a request for comment Thursday. A Metro Diner spokesman confirmed the restaurant plans to open in Southern Palm Crossing in early 2019.

“The Royal Palm Beach area continues to grow and there is continued development plans for the area which makes it a great city for us to bring our version of Serious Diner Food,” Crafton Bryant IV said via email.

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Metro Diner’s original Jacksonville restaurant was featured in 2010 on the hit Food Network TV series “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” starring Guy Fieri. In the episode, owner-chef Mark Divoli prepares the restaurant’s “Yo Halla” challah bread French toast for Fieri. A banana-cream cheese mixture is sandwiched between two thick slices of bread, then dipped in an egg wash, fried and smothered in a blueberry-and-strawberry compote with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

As Fieri takes his first bite, he groans happily. “Oh dude,” he says to Divoli. “That’s more French toast than I’ve eaten in the last 10 years.”

The site plan modification will need to pass through Royal Palm Beach’s Technical Staff Review before proceeding first to the village’s Planning and Zoning Board and then to the village council for final approval.

California-based ShopCore Properties operates shopping centers throughout the U.S., including Downtown at the Gardens in Palm Beach Gardens. The company purchased Southern Palm Crossing in early 2016 for $78.5 million.

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