It was a Midtown fairytale.
Ten years ago, two Gainesville bartenders fell in love.
Now Danny and Joy Hughes are the founders and co-owners of Loosey’s, a local dive bar named after the first thing they ever owned together: a lanky, golden-coat dog from Gainesville Pet Rescue.
Loosey’s downtown pub is now one of two Gainesville locations serving burgers off the cast iron grill and brews from around the country.
Joy, a UF alumna with a degree in finance, said she thought after graduating in 2008 she would work an office job from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“I guess it’s time to get a real job,” she said. “And I hated it.”
She said at that point, she and Danny had a combined 25 years experience in the restaurant industry.
“We talked a lot about the future as people who are in love do,” she said.
By 2010, they were engaged and the proud new owners of a bar.
Two days after Market Street Pub, a locally renowned downtown bar of 22 years, shut down, Danny and Joy signed the lease for it.
At first, she said, the kitchen was slow to open. But once it did, the menu evolved. Their half-pound burgers became a best-seller.
“I think now more than it used be we’re, like, half-and-half food versus booze,” she said.
Adding to the burger menu in January, Loosey’s is now the first venue in Gainesville to serve the Impossible Burger, a revolutionary vegan patty that tastes like real meat. The creation was crafted by Impossible Foods, a team of scientists, engineers, farmers and chefs with headquarters in California.
Danny said local customers are lovingly calling it the “science burger.”
They weren’t actively pursuing a vegetable-based alternative when it was brought to their attention by partner and co-worker Tim Hutchens, he said.
However, this patty is extraordinary.
“For us to be bringing it in, it kind of already has a tall mountain to climb because we have a really good burger, and we have a really good veggie burger,” Danny said. “And it’s still holding its own.”
In fact, he said, he has been surprised by the number of return customers for the Impossible Burger so far.
“I expected it to be a novelty flash,” Danny said. “I figured it would hold on, but it’s definitely done better than I anticipated.”
Danny thinks there’s a handful of people he could hand the burger to and they would never know it wasn’t real meat.
Joy said she encourages any meat-lover like herself to have an open mind and come out to try it.
Confident that they have mastered the diner-style burger with the impossible patty, the young couple said they are now playing with the idea of using it in other applications like lasagna or shepherd’s pie.
For more information on the Impossible Burger, including its environmental benefits, check out https://www.impossiblefoods.com/burger/.