Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille, a new polished-casual restaurant concept founded by Heisman Trophy-winning University of Florida football player and legendary coach, Hall of Famer, Steve Spurrier, will open in fall 2020. The beloved ‘Head Ball Coach’ has also selected an experienced restaurant industry professional to operate the restaurant at Celebration Pointe in Gainesville, FL.
The 16,700-square-foot space includes three indoor-outdoor bars and a 5,500-square-foot rooftop lounge named “Visors” overlooking the Celebration Pointe Promenade and outdoor entertainment venue. The restaurant will include a nearly 600-square-foot sports memorabilia exhibit with Coach Spurrier’s 1966 Heisman Trophy as the centerpiece. The exhibit will include more memorabilia from his decades as a player and coach in college and professional football, and additional items will be displayed throughout the restaurant. This includes a display of his visor collection, which are closely associated with Coach Spurrier.
Spurrier’s will provide guests with a mid-century modern atmosphere and an array of seating options from bar-top tables to oversized couches and booths. The restaurant will have three private dining options; the largest of which will seat up to 50 in a private dining room, which can be divided into two spaces, and adjoins the memorabilia museum. With three bars serving both indoor and outdoor guests, a radio booth for live shows and podcasts, and the unique rooftop lounge, Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille will offer a dining experience unlike anything in the region.
Spurrier’s will serve a variety of polished American-casual menu items with innovative twists; healthy options; and some of Coach Spurrier’s favorite foods, such as avocado-topped burgers, grilled chicken, seafood, steak, pasta, salads and more. The menu also includes desserts inspired by Jerri Spurrier’s recipes, Coach Spurrier’s wife—recipes like pecan pie a la mode and homemade chocolate chip cookies, that have been longtime favorites of former Florida players like Danny Wuerffel and James Bates.
“Our draft to select an Operating Partner for Spurrier’s resulted in inquiries from all over the country,” said Coach Spurrier. “We’ve selected a first-round draft pick in Andrew Johnstone, who has more than three decades of restaurant experience, including in Gainesville. Andrew shares my vision of creating a first-class dining and social experience in the North Florida region.”
Mr. Johnstone’s extensive restaurant industry experience includes the most recent position as Director of Operations for patriotic-themed Mission BBQ, with restaurants in 16 states. In this role, Mr. Johnstone was responsible for supporting real estate site selection, marketing the brand and all levels of location operations for the Florida Panhandle. He was also a past Managing Partner of Outback Steakhouse in Gainesville 2002-2014.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of developing a truly one-of-a-kind restaurant with Coach Spurrier,” said Andrew Johnstone. “Celebration Pointe is an exceptional location for Spurrier’s and I know that Gators fans and all of our guests are going to really enjoy the experience.”
Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille is further supported by founding partner of Ganbaru Consultancy, Giselle Mastrosanti, who has developed several restaurants into world-renowned venues, including Urban Grill Ghana, ROKA Macau, Santoku, Coco Lounge and Carbon. Mastrosanti and her team will provide deep experience in all areas of hospitality from creating concepts to operations, including staffing, increasing productivity and financial profitability.
Celebration Pointe is the ideal location for this new restaurant given the development’s official designation of ‘Where Gators Come to Celebrate’ and because of Celebration Pointe’s existing relationship with IMG and the University of Florida Athletic Association. This includes hosting the football and basketball coaches’ radio shows, and the highly-attended Chomp the Block rallies the week of UF football games. Celebration Pointe has direct access to I-75 and Archer Road and the 115,000 daily motorists passing daily.