NEW: Del Taco wants to join Wawa near Palm Beach International Airport


Del Taco seeks OK for drive-thru restaurant next to Wawa Market in West Palm Beach

The Wawa Market that opened to much fanfare near Palm Beach International Airport in 2017 will be joined by a Del Taco drive-thru, pending city approval of plans for the fast-growing fast-food chain.

The West Palm Beach City Commission is scheduled to vote Monday on a development master plan modification for the site, at the southeast corner of Belvedere Road and Australian Avenue.

The project is on one acre of a nearly 9-acre site, which also is slated to include a hotel and a five-story self-storage building, which is nearing construction.

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California-based Del Taco, founded in 1964, had 564 restaurants nationwide as of January 2018 and has been expanding rapidly in the Southeast.

The 76-seat, 2,420-square-foot West Palm restaurant, owned by JAF Restaurant Group LLC, will be housed in a one-story stucco building just east of the Wawa, which has proven a busy location for food and gas sales. The dining area includes 64 seats indoors and 12 outside and there’ll be 25 parking spaces.

The modification to the site master plan calls for a decrease in the proposed restaurant building size and in increase in the number of rooms to be built in the hotel planned just south of the Wawa, off Australian.

The existing plan would have allowed a 3,500-square-foot restaurant and limited the proposed hotel to 140 rooms. The change drops the restaurant size by 1,080 square feet but allows 164 hotel rooms.

City planning staff has recommended approval of the changes, so it is unlikely to meet resistance from the commission.

Much of the site served as a landfill from the 1920s through the 1960s.

Wawa and its hoagies have a devoted fan base, particularly among people from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, where the chain was founded in Pennsylvania, also in 1964. The West Palm restaurant and gas station, which opened June 15, 2017, was among the company’s first in Palm Beach County. Its Florida expansion continues, with openings planned this month in Fort Pierce, Melbourne and Palm Bay. The chain has more than 800 stores in six states and Washington, D.C.

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