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Pollo Tropical, Five Below mark newest store openings at North Lake Square
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Jeremy Hicks of Athens looks at the menu before ordering Wednesday at Pollo Tropical in the North Lake Square shopping center in Gainesville. Pollo Tropical opened Wednesday and is having a grand opening Saturday. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Pollo Tropical

Where: 1198 Dawsonville Highway, Gainesville

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to midnight daily


Five Below

Where: 1154 Dawsonville Highway, Gainesville

Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

Phone number: 770-718-0965

Paulette Forrester had been regularly driving by the Pollo Tropical restaurant on Dawsonville Highway to see when it would open.

On Wednesday, the Gainesville resident finally got her wish as the newest restaurant at the North Lake Square shopping center opened its doors for the first time.

“I go to the one in Buford all the time,” Forrester said. “I love this place.”

The restaurant with bright colors and a “saucing island,” where customers can choose condiments and salsas for their foods, specializes in grilled chicken and slow-roasted mojo pork. It also has Buford, Cumming and Lawrenceville locations and will be up to 16 metro Atlanta locations by September.

It is hosting a beach party-themed grand opening on Saturday, with opportunities to win free chicken for a year — in the form of 52 “Be Our Guest” cards. Drawings will also be held at different times during the day for Visa gift cards of $300, $200 and $100. A live DJ will play music from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a Caribbean steel drum band performing from 4-7 p.m. Prizes, face painting and balloon twisting will be part of the event.

The first 100 guests Saturday at Pollo Tropical, which opens at 10:30 a.m., will receive a free 1/4 chicken with rice and beans.

Another store in North Lake Square is opening this week, as well. Five Below, which sells items for $5 or cheaper, geared toward teens, pre-teens and parents, will hold a grand opening party at 9 a.m. Friday and will be open Thursday, as well.

As part of Five Below’s grand opening weekend, it will sell hot dogs for 5 cents from 3-6 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Customers can also get a free Five Below T-shirt with a purchase. Music, games, prizes and other activities will be part of the festivities, as well.

Tim Knight, developer of North Lake Square, said the building for clothing store Burlington, which is beside Five Below, has been turned over to the company and should be open Sept. 23.

An upscale bedding company will fill out the building housing Chipotle and Jersey Mike’s at the front of the shopping center.

Burlington, Five Below and HomeGoods are in the back of the shopping center, an area that also includes Hobby Lobby, which opened in October, and Academy Sports + Outdoors, which opened in November. HomeGoods and Jersey Mike’s opened in late June.

Regional events