Since Satchel Raye and co-owner Mark Rodriguez announced six months ago that they would be opening a second pizza location, their time has been filled with construction, permits and testing out new recipes for the restaurant, Raye said.
“We had just gotten started in mid-March when we just applied for our permits and everything with the city,” Raye said.“When the county shut down with the pandemic, we had to make a call.”
Despite the risks, Raye and Rodriguez decided to continue their plans with the new restaurant.
Satchel Raye opened his first restaurant, Satchel’s Pizza, in 2003, and has been serving pizza and entertaining live music to Gainesville ever since. Customers dine by colorful stained glass windows, and even inside of a decorated van. Raye said Satchel’s Pizza business dropped more than 50% at the beginning of the pandemic, but has since recovered due to regular takeout orders and people coming in again.
Now, Satch2 has officially opened its doors today.
Located at the 4th Avenue food park in downtown Gainesville, Satch2 sells yeast waffles and Detroit-style pizzas seven days a week, three meals a day. The restaurant also offers gluten-free options for waffles and pizza, as well as vegan cheese toppings for pizza.
“I feel like we have this great new style of pizza that's kind of popping up around the country that they don't really have in Gainesville,” Rodriguez said.
The waffles start at $2, a gluten-free waffle only 50 cents more. Sides include bacon and maple syrup. Add on a glass of milk, or enjoy Raye’s homemade sodas or a variety of beer and wine.
The Gainesville community has been very supportive of the new restaurant, Raye said. Raye posted a photo of the restaurant front on Twitter and immediately received positive feedback with more than 400 likes. The restaurant’s instagram, SatchSquared, has over 1,000 followers.
Robb Eggleston, a 49-year-old broadcaster, said he and his daughter thought the pizza was tasty, and comes with enough for leftovers.
“I got a vegan pizza with mushrooms and basil; my daughter got a pepperoni pizza,” he said. “Unique Detroit style and delicious pizzas, plus waffles? What's not to love.”
Satch2 will be taking health precautions to ensure the safety of its staff, Raye said. Masks are required for employees and customers inside the restaurant. The restaurant will also be frequently sanitizing their indoor bar seating and door handles, Raye said.
The food park is designed for open-air seating and takeout style, Rodriguez said.
“We're utilizing the food park, which is all outdoor seating and socially distanced tables,” he said.
The new location will also be accepting credit card payments, and having a special program called Round Up for Charity (RUFC). Their first charity will be Community Spring Direct, which is a program at Community Spring that gives cash directly to people in need, Raye said.
Satch2 started from one idea, from one concept of a unique pizza alien to Gainesville, but has now evolved into a full fledged restaurant at the 4th Avenue Food Park.
“We came into a basically blank canvas, and we had to imagine how we wanted things,” Rodriguez said. “It's been a pretty interesting experience.”
Satchel's Pizza's second location Satch2 officially opens today.
Michelle Holder is a second-year journalism student at UF minoring in entrepreneurship and a Metro reporter at The Alligator. She is from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. In her free time she enjoys going to coffee shops and reading.