Daybreak Pleasant Street owners Michael and Patty Sneed made a difficult decision during the COVID-19 pandemic: putting the health and safety of their patrons before their restaurant.
Michael, who has been cooking for over 20 years, said the decision was made primarily for the community. Daybreak, located at 308 NW 5 Ave, closed due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns. The restaurant had a limited seating capacity of only 24 people, which would have made reopening dine-in opportunities nearly impossible.
Located in the Gainesville neighborhood Pleasant Street, Daybreak’s closing was a conscious decision to protect the families in the community, Michael said.
“People live 20 feet from the restaurant,” Michael said. “I didn’t want to encourage people to gather. I feel like that’s our responsibility, to not spread the virus.”
Daybreak celebrated its two-year anniversary in October 2019. The restaurant prided itself on using locally sourced ingredients from partners such as Ward’s Supermarket, Osteen Farms, Opus Coffee and Greenway Farms in its food.
Michael’s second concern with trying to keep Daybreak open was preserving the experience the restaurant had to offer. Michael was concerned takeout methods would diminish the quality of Daybreak’s food and customer service normally offered through sit-down dining.
“To just throw [food] in a box and say ‘Good luck with it’ just didn’t feel like what Daybreak was,” Michael said. “That’s not the experience that we created.”
In their post on Facebook and Instagram, Daybreak hinted that the restaurant “will reopen one day, but will be at a different location.” Michael said they wish to remain near their current neighborhood and a new building will help the restaurant with health concerns as well as serving their community overall.
“We turned away probably one third of the people who came in,” Michael said. “We were just so full all the time. We need more seats, we need a bigger kitchen, we need a more modern building.”
Until a potential reopening, Michael and Patty will be opening Daybreak’s current location as a takeout-friendly restaurant within the next month, but will not be branding this restaurant as a Daybreak affiliate, Michael said.
“It’ll be a whole new restaurant,” Michael said. “Because Daybreak is so special to us.”
Isabella Guttuso, a 23-year-old second-year graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in landscape architecture, said she is disappointed to see Daybreak remain closed, but she supports their decision to postpone reopening the restaurant.
“I feel sad, but understanding,” Guttuso said. “I think they are making a responsible choice, and I’m eager to support their business again once they are able to reopen at a different location.”
Daybreak Pleasant Street will remain closed indefinitely following their initial closure in March.