A familiar treat to some and a new treat to others, Jeremiah’s Italian Ice is finding its way into the Gainesville community.
Butler Plaza announced Wednesday the new franchise will be located at 3232 SW 35th Blvd., right next to McAlister’s Deli in Butler Esplanade. It is slated to open by June.
Butler Plaza’s director of marketing, John Dickerson, 34, said he’s “thrilled” Gainesville is continuing to grow despite the troubles from the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the announcement on social media, Dickerson said there has already been positive feedback.
“I was really happy to see that with the name like Jeremiah's, it looks like a lot of people have visited them in other cities,” he said. “It looks like they're excited that they're coming here to Gainesville.”
Jeremiah’s Italian Ice is most known for its gelati, which is Italian ice layered with soft serve ice cream. Flavors range from the basics, such as chocolate and strawberry, to unique flavors like cookie butter, passion fruit and “scoop froggy frog,” also known as mint chocolate chip.
Evan Waldt, the co-owner of the upcoming Jeremiah’s, said after his business partner first tried Jeremiah’s 10 years ago, they knew they wanted to be the ones to operate a Gainesville franchise.
“We just kind of knew that Gainesville needed something that was what Jeremiah’s is,” he said, “like the coolest and kind of vibrant colors and the unique flavors and lots of choices.”
Waldt said Jeremiah’s is a business that stems from core values like creating a fun and enjoyable experience.
“That's what frozen dessert is all about,” he said. “That kind of moment of bliss, where you bite in, and the ice cream may not melt away, but maybe some of your troubles will melt away and an atmosphere where you're greeted as a friend.”
Sara Florio, a UF elementary education sophomore from Fort Lauderdale, said she was excited when Butler Plaza announced on Instagram that Jeremiah’s would be coming to Gainesville.
The 20-year-old said Jeremiah’s is a “home favorite,” where she has made great memories with her friends.
“I think that Gainesville will actually love Jeremiah’s because it’s different than anything I feel like we have,” she said. “Also, a lot of UF students come from Orlando and South Florida where there are Jeremiah's locations.”
Florio said she is most looking forward to getting her cookies and cream gelati with vanilla ice cream.
Waldt said Jeremiah’s will not only provide a quick and easy way to get a dessert, but it will also provide jobs to students who want to work in a positive environment.
“You know, there's a lot of folks that assume that just because it's a franchisors thing, that it's not a locally owned business, and that's just not always the case,” he said. “In Butler, I think you have a real opportunity to be kind of at the core center of not just Gainesville, but a lot of all North Florida.”
Waldt said he is looking forward to working in a place where everyone's goal is to make Gainesville great.
“We're just honored that the Gainesville community is as excited as we are to have some rocking flavors,” he said. “And who doesn't like a scoop froggy frog? I mean, come on.”
Contact Kristin Bausch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @BauschKristin.
Kristin Bausch is a third-year journalism major at the University of Florida and a staff writer with the Avenue. Giving people an opportunity to share their story is one of her favorite things about writing. When not writing, she’s probably dancing.