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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

New seafood restaurant to open at Celebration Pointe

Gainesville will be getting a taste of Key West this summer.

The Keys, a locally-owned seafood restaurant, bar and music venue, will come to Celebration Pointe, just west of Interstate-75, by late this summer, said Celebration Pointe spokesperson Phillip Bergman.

The restaurant will be about 5,000 square feet, with inside and outside seating and will be co-owned by three local business owners, Bergman said.

It is the latest announcement to come to the Celebration Pointe mixed-use center. Other recent announcements include a Dave and Busters, which will open next year.

The project is a partnership of Tony Espetia, the former owner of Rum Runners and Fat Tuesday in Gainesville; Brad Heron, the owner of Rockeys Dueling Piano Bar; and Diego Ibanez, one of the owners of Emiliano’s Cafe, Bergman said.

“I’m looking forward to bringing a different vibe that I don’t think another Gainesville restaurant delivers,” Espetia said.

The restaurant will feature a fresh seafood menu including crab fondue, conch ceviche and Florida lobster cakes. Espetia said the restaurant will offer a variety of oysters and signature drinks like daiquiris and margaritas.

The menu is not finalized, but customers can expect sandwich prices to range from about $10 to $13 and entrees from about $17 to $25.

Most restaurants in Key West have live entertainment and outdoor seating to enjoy the weather, Espetia said.

“We wanted to bring that to Gainesville,” Espetia said.

Opening the restaurant in Celebration Pointe allows for a more central location for people living in West Gainesville, Espetia said.

He said people who live in areas like Haile Plantation have to drive far to go downtown for good entertainment.

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Joel Garland, 31, who is from Gainesville, said he is a big seafood fan and plans on visiting the new restaurant. He works in Celebration Pointe and hopes to see it grow as businesses fill the open spaces.

“It’s a nice place to spend a few hours after work,” Garland said. “I’d love to see more stuff come in here and have this become more of a downtown scene.”

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