Kay Bros. BBQ may have closed at the beginning of December, but starting Saturday, Gainesville residents can visit a new restaurant in the same location.
The Coop is opening under the same ownership as Kay Bros. but with a different menu, featuring chicken tenders and wings, as well as shakes and homemade sauces.
The Coop, located next to the Florida Bookstore, will be more affordable than the old restaurant, said co-owner Darren Kay.
“The biggest thing for us is to offer college students a price they are willing to pay more frequently,” Darren Kay said.
The restaurant will also offer ice cream milkshakes and delivery with Gainesville2Go to “extend beyond the roots,” said Steven Kay, Darren Kay’s brother and co-owner.
The Coop will be incorporating the same mac ‘n cheese from Kay Bros. into its menu, as well as its original ingredients for sauces.
“It’s a different menu but the same quality food,” Steven Kay said.
Everything made at The Coop is fresh, he said. Guests can also see the cooks making their meals through the open kitchen window.
Along with the renovation, the brothers used recycled wood pallets and license plates to decorate the restaurant.
“Our goal is to serve the students and staff at UF and the surrounding Gainesville community,” Steven Kay said.
After the initial opening Saturday, The Coop will host an opening celebration Tuesday, in which they will give away raffle prizes and free chicken tenders from 4 to 7 p.m.
Sara Schuster, a 20-year-old UF math and computer science junior, said she thinks The Coop will attract more students because of the lower prices.
“I had heard that Kay Bros. was good but too expensive,” Schuster said.
Kevin Doan, a UF business administration freshman and self-proclaimed “sauce guy,” said he likes the fact that the restaurant concocts unique sauce recipes.
Doan, 18, said he plans to attend the event Tuesday to try out the new restaurant.
“I am more enamored by the discounted menu to keep in mind the college students who are a little bit more strapped for money,” he said.
A version of this story ran on page 1 on 1/10/2014 under the headline "The Coop to open Saturday in former Kay Bros. location"
A new restaurant will replace Kay Bros. BBQ at 1620 W. University Ave. The Coop is set to open on Saturday and will feature a Southern-inspired menu.