When Trader Joe's officially debuted in Winter Park last week, it marked another national chain to open for business in Central Florida.
For years, residents here have been clamoring for the Two-Buck Chuck wine, the cookie butter and thousands of other low-cost, private label food items. A Facebook page created in 2010 called "Bring Trader Joe's to Orlando" has more than 4,000 fans.
And those fans showed up Friday. More than 300 waited outside the building before the official "lei-cutting". One woman arrived the night before, slept in her car and then secured her spot next to the door at 3:30 a.m.
Once open, the store was packed for hours.
Now that the wait for Trader Joe's is over, the question remains: What's next? What national chain will announce that it is expanding to Central Florida?
In the past few years, several national chains with locations in other parts of the country have opened in Central Florida. Cheddar's, the casual American cafe known for its baked Spasagna, opened in Sanford in 2013. Those who like to drink beer and play video games were blessed with a Dave & Buster's in 2011. And Yard House opened in April on International Drive.
What do you think we're missing here in Orlando? Below is my list of 7 stores and restaurants that I'd like to see open in Central Florida:
1. In-N-Out Burger - The California-based burger joint doesn't have any locations east of
Utah Texas, but a man can dream.
2. Earth Fare - Yes, it's another grocery store chain, but the Asheville-based has a strict policy against high-fructose corn syrup, artificial fats, artificial colors, artificial flavors and lots of other ingredients. And if Huntsville, Ala., can get one, why can't Orlando?
3. Tim Hortons - A dozen Timbits and a large double-double is heaven on earth. Plus, we love Canadians down here, eh?
4. Potbelly - While interning at a small paper in Metro Detroit, I spent many lunch breaks wolfing down sub sandwiches at Potbelly. There's something special about their hot peppers and oven-toasted subs.
5. White Castle - Chicken rings, 'nuff said.
6. Biscuitville- The name says it all: Biscuitville does Southern-inspired breakfast the right way by putting almost everything on a biscuit.
7. Texas Inn - I'm breaking ranks with this last one and listing the Lynchburg, Va.-based restaurant/late-night eating establishment. It's the only place in the world I've eaten a Cheesy Western, which is a cheeseburger topped with a hard-scrambled egg and relish. It is as amazing as it sounds and the restaurant should go national.