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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Donuts, bubble tea and burgers: The Gainesville restaurants opening in 2019


From American classics to treats served around the world, Gainesville is expanding its food scene while saying goodbye to a bar known for trivia nights. As 2019 begins, find out which restaurants have set up shop, closed their doors or opening soon.

Recently Opened:

Dick Mondell’s Burgers and Fries

What started out as a project for a course in culinary school is now Gainesville’s newest burger restaurant. With menu items ranging from $5 to $10, Dick Mondell’s is open for people of varying dietary preferences, said co-owner Connor Castelli.

Dick Mondell’s Burgers and Fries, at 412 SW 4th Ave., opened Dec. 6, Castelli said. Castelli and co-owner Chris Leckerling painted the burger joint with vintage orange and blue, trying to bring the novelty of a ‘60s-style drive-thru to current-day Gainesville.

“We’re serious about the food,” Castelli said. “But we don’t want people to take it too seriously where it’s not any fun.”

The drive-thru serves different types of burgers, including a double-patty melt called “‘The Original’ Big Dick,” and the vegan “Impossible Burger,” a plant-based alternative to a beef burger, Castelli said. The restaurant also sells milkshakes made with homemade ice cream, including vanilla, chocolate, coffee and orange creamsicle blends.

Dick Mondell’s locally sources many of the ingredients from other establishments in the north Florida area, such as Village Bread in Jacksonville, where it gets its buns, Castelli said.

Bubbles and Bites

Rachel Tsou’s favorite snack growing up was a Hong Kong waffle. The 19-year-old remembers eating it while on vacation in Hong Kong and during strolls through Chinatown in Manhattan, New York, where she used to live.

“It’s something we wanted to bring to Florida,” Tsou said.

Bubble and Bites, a family-run bubble tea shop in Oaks Mall, opened Nov. 16, said Tsou, the owner’s daughter and a server at the shop. The restaurant serves “bubble tea,” a sweet milky tea-based drink with boba, or soft, chewy tapioca balls, at the bottom.

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The shop sells yogurt drinks, coffee and fruit teas with flavors like strawberry, peach and mango. Most items are about $5.


The Brass Tap

It’s closing time for The Brass Tap on Archer Road, which means the end of the restaurant’s nearly five-year span and bi-weekly trivia nights.

The Gainesville location of this regional bar chain closed Dec. 14., said The Brass Tap marketing manager, Jessica Buchta.

The decision to close was made by the bar’s owner, Harvey Allen Hessell, she said. Hessell could not immediately be reached for comment.

Coming Soon:

Newk’s Eatery

With dozens of locations around the nation’s southeast, Newk’s Eatery will open its first store in Gainesville at Butler North in January 2019, Mary Reichardt, director of marketing for Butler Enterprises, wrote in an email.

The restaurant serves salads, sandwiches, pizza and mac and cheese, according to its online menu.

The official opening of Newk’s Eatery, which will be located at 4041 Plaza Blvd., will be announced soon on ShopatButler social media pages, Reichardt said.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Gainesville residents will have a new drive-thru location for morning pastries and coffee, with a new Dunkin’ Donuts opening in 2019.

The restaurant will be located near the intersection of Waldo Road and University Avenue, according to city planning records from a Nov. 26 meeting. This will be the national chain’s ninth shop in Gainesville.

Contact Kelly Hayes at and follow her on Twitter @kellyrhayes.

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