Gainesville FL

Where the Locals Eat

Thanks to the diversity of its visitors and the University of Florida’s students, faculty and families, Gainesville is making its mark on the food scene. Hear about local flavors from 5 restaurant chefs.

Taylor Dukes | Great Outdoors Restaurant

What local restaurants do you enjoy?

Crane Ramen in Gainesville is the city’s first craft ramen restaurant, and I love the fact that they use locally sourced ingredients. I also enjoy Sabore in Newberry.

What is it about Great Outdoors that keeps customers coming back? Is it the location? The atmosphere? The service? The menu?

All of the above. We have top-notch service, amazing food and if you join us on the patio on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, you can listen to live bands as you dine. People love it.

Bert Gill | Mildred’s Big City Food

Aside from Mildred’s, is there a restaurant that you frequent?

Well, my favorite is Blue Gill—which [my wife] Tara and I own.

How do you explain the appeal of Mildred’s?

We use locally sourced ingredients and we’ll actually change our dinner menu nearly every day based on what our farmers bring us—and whatever inspires me that day. Our regular guests keep coming back because they’ll always find something new. On top of that, we do weekly cooking demonstrations and host themed bar dinners. Those have become very popular.

Satchel Raye | Satchel’s Pizza

What local eateries would you recommend to friends?

I love Gyro Plus. And Steamers, too. My tastes are simple. I’m not a fancy dinner sort of guy.

What is it about your restaurant that brings customers back? For some places it’s the location. For others, the atmosphere or service or menu or special event or…

I hope it’s all those things. I am always working on so many things at once; the decor, the music, the cleanliness, consistency and service. First and foremost, everyone loves pizza so we’ve got that going for us. But we also want to make a comfortable environment for kids, and for celebrations and for community gatherings. I talk to the employees all the time about the importance of getting repeat customers and how we must offer something special. I hope that something special is good food and service in a bright and colorful surrounding.

Jeff Allen | Dragonfly Sushi & Sake Company

What local restaurants do you enjoy?

I think the Gainesville food scene is really underrated. There are quite a few true gems in and around town that I love: V’s Pizza, Adam’s Rib Company, Paramount and Reggae Shack to name just a few!

What can you tell us about a dish your customers enjoy most?

People always think about sushi when you mention Dragonfly, but I think—I hope—everyone who comes in is blown away by what my team is able to do across the board. The simplicity of the tuna tataki, the sweetness of the wontons, the umami of the miso black cod and the inventiveness of our omakase specials. Everything we send out of the kitchen has a backstory, and they’re all so interesting.

Mike Manfredi | Sweet Dreams

When you’re not eating ice cream, where do you go to dine?

Four of my favorites are Mildred’s Big City Café, Satchel’s Pizza, Leonardo’s 706 and Las Margaritas.

Your ice cream flavors are nearly unlimited. What are some of your favorites?

A triple scoop. Chocolate, Turkish Delight and Hazelnut.


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