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Universal CityWalk's new tenants include Cowfish, Hot Dog Hall of Fame

Eight eateries — including one that touts sushi and beef — will be introduced or revamped at Universal CityWalk by June, officials said Thursday.

"The basic idea was simple; hard to execute but simple: Create the best-in-category of everything you can imagine," said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative.

The most visible change at this point is Antojitos, a Mexican restaurant that has a façade under construction at the former location of the Latin Quarter restaurant. CityWalk's other incoming establishments include:

•Cowfish, which mixes western and eastern cultures, will be upstairs, basically occupying Starbucks' current space.

"It may the first time you've heard the term 'burgushi,' but it won't be the last," Woodbury said.

This restaurant will have an entrance on CityWalk's ground level.

"You go into that ground floor, and you're like in the tank of the cowfish," Woodbury said. "When you get to the top, it's just this visual giant explosion of a restaurant."

Think east meets west, cowboy meets sumo wrestler, he said.

"It's such a different experience. It actually blends very well together, and I think people are surprised," said Alan Springate, one of the owners of the restaurant, which has two locations in North Carolina.

•Hot Dog Hall of Fame, an outdoor quick-service offering, will wedge between Emeril's and Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville.

"We have everything from your basic dog to Chicago dog, New York dog, deli dog — which will have pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese — two footlong versions and then barbecue dogs," said Jeff Bornmann, vice president of development for the restaurant. "The goal is to feature dogs that are iconic dogs from every region of the country."

•A Menchie's yogurt outlet and Bread Box, a new sandwich store will be in the area that Universal refers to as "Lombard Street," a winding way that leads up from NASCAR Café. Leaving will be Cigarz and a candy store.

•Starbucks will move to a lower-level location near the escalators and have 130 seats. It will be twice the size of its current CityWalk location. Cold Stone Creamery ice-cream shop will be next door. The Endangered Species Store in that area closed this fall.

•Pranzo Italian will take over the Pastamore space on the ground level. It will be adjacent to Red Oven Pizza Bakery, which opened last month.

In addition, the Universal Studios Store will receive a makeover.

The work will be completed in phases, although Antojitos is almost finished, Woodbury said.

"It's like playing three-dimensional chess," he said. "We are currently moving things around, and we try to do it as invisibly as possible."

The CityWalk additions come at a time when Universal is working on its Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion. Scenes from London and Diagon Alley are expected to open to Universal Studios theme park guests sometime this summer.

Universal Studios theme park has opened two attractions this year. Transformers: The Ride — 3D, a simulator from the film franchise of the same name, opened in the center of the park; and Springfield, an area dedicated to scenes from "The Simpsons" animated TV show, took over part of the World Expo area.

dbevil@tribune.com or 407-420-5477

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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