Ken Eats Gainesville

Gainesville is very much a growing city right now, a town that is growing up and doesn’t quite know what it is just yet. Much of that growth is centered around the Archer Road area, with concurrent developments in Celebration Pointe, Butler Plaza North, and the renovated section of the existing Butler Plaza that will become the Butler Town Center.

Of course, with that grow comes a wealth of new restaurants and food concepts. We’re already starting to see it happen, even as far back as when Maple Street Biscuit Company opened up this time last year. If you haven’t tasted their delicious biscuits and coffee yet, you’re seriously missing out.

More recently, the Midwest’s favorite burgers and shakes chain, Culver’s, just opened off Clark Butler Boulevard. A renovated Olive Garden and a brand new Longhorn Steakhouse opened their doors the same day, and there are plans to bring in Keke’s (a popular breakfast café) and PF Chang’s Asian Bistro in the fold, as well. I haven’t even gotten to the new Whole Foods concept or the planned food hall that will occupy the Butler Town Center.

With Chef Bert Gill at the helm, the food hall will be very much in the same vein as the popular Krog Street Market in Atlanta or Chelsea Market in New York. The idea is to have small affordable spaces available to up-and-coming chefs, artisans, and other vendors to showcase their food and products. It’s a concept that has seen tremendous success in major cities, but has surprisingly yet to make its way to Florida. The planned Butler Food Hall will be the first of its kind in the state.

Having had some conversations with the folks involved with both developments, there’s plenty of other good news to come. What else do you think is on the horizon?


by Ken Peng

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