The UTC Welcomes a Fleet of New Shops and Eateries for 2021

Hunting & Gathering


All the extravagent holiday lights and fixtures will likely be taken down from the University Town Center (UTC) soon, but new shopping and dining options are in store for us the rest of the year, and beyond. With the start of the new year, the UTC will be welcoming a dozen or so new businesses to the multi-use district and shopping/dining epicenter. 

Fresh and clean on the scene is Buff City Soap, an artisan soap shop that handcrafts each product on premises in an area called the Soap Makery. The shop will offer all-natural bath and body products that can be customized with fragrances and plant-based ingredients, like rosemary, lavender and mint. Buff City Soap will be adjacent to Norman Love in the West District at UTC. Wish Boutique is relocating from Main Street in Lakewood Ranch, to the roundabout section next to Rusty Bucket, along Cattlemen Dr. The apparel, accessories and lifestyle shop offers women’s and children’s clothing from top brands, including Joseph Ribkoff, Johnny Was, Clara SunWoo, Alembika and MacKenzie-Childs. Exercise equipment retailer Gym Source is opening another showroom in the new retail parcel along Desoto Road, adjacent to the Homewood Suites. Headquartered in New York City, Gym Source is America's oldest and largest distributor of fitness equipment for residential and commercial use. Playtri, the largest triathlon-focused retail chain, is opening next to Row House on the south end of the UTC district. The store will supply gear and support to people training for triathlons, marathons, swimming and all things endurance.

Last week, Bento Asian Kitchen + Sushi opened its doors along Cattlemen Dr. on the opposite side of Shake Shack. The quick-casual pan-Asian restaurant offers sushi, build your own poke, rice and noodle bowls, bento boxes and boba tea. In additional, nationally-acclaimed Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream will be opening this February next to Bento, and Hillview local favorite Origin Craft Beer & Pizza Café is coming soon to open its third location on Tourist Center Drive. Other new restaurants opening later this year include Georgie’s Garden Café, Bar George, Selva Grill, and Ford’s Garage. We're looking forward to much more than just spring weather now. 

Photo courtesy of Benderson Development

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