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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Spurrier's Gridiron Grille has officially kicked off

The dream restaurant dedicated to the legendary 'Head Ball Coach' is now open to the public

<p>Legendary Gator football coach Steve Spurrier gathered with family and staff to celebrate the opening of Spurrier&#x27;s Gridiron Grille. The restaurant, located at 4860 SW 31st Place, opened Aug. 11. </p>

Legendary Gator football coach Steve Spurrier gathered with family and staff to celebrate the opening of Spurrier's Gridiron Grille. The restaurant, located at 4860 SW 31st Place, opened Aug. 11.

The wait is over for Gator and football enthusiasts: Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille has officially kicked off. 

After years of planning and months of test trials for family and friends, the restaurant held its grand opening on Aug. 11.  The opening drew loyal and excited Gator fans ready to indulge in the long-awaited dining experience.  

Matthew Cormia, the architect of Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille, has been involved in designing the restaurant for two and a half years. He started the design with “napkin sketches,” brainstorming ideas for every inch of the restaurant with Freddie Wehbe, the managing partner.

Cormia said it was important for  Spurrier to distinguish his restaurant from a typical sports bar, with burgers, fries, wings and rows of TVs. 

Instead, Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille is an upscale restaurant with the finest ingredients, the restaurant’s head chef Mark Heigl said. 

The restaurant was a collaborative effort among their highly experienced staff, down to the most meticulous details, to create a unique and classy environment showcasing Spurrier’s accomplishments. 

Finding the right employees to execute the high standards for Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille took some time, but now, Head Ball Coach Steve Spurrier feels they have a great staff.

Spurrier said the staff is what will make the restaurant a success. 

“They all have a good smile,” he said. “They’re polite, and they show a lot of enthusiasm in their job, so that’s what we have to have and expect that all the way, as long as we're open here.” 

Gator fans and alumni have eagerly awaited the grand opening of Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille. 

Jennifer Woodson, a UF alumna, has been looking forward to the opening since it was announced and booked her reservation months in advance. 

Woodson and her husband drove three and a half hours from Georgia just to be one of the first to experience the new restaurant. 

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“It’s school spirit. We got to support our Florida business folks,” she said. 

Woodson said the customer service was excellent. “It's a great atmosphere. Everybody's just so nice,” she said. 

Jennifer’s husband, Damon Woodson, said he liked the museum portion of the restaurant while he was waiting for his food. 

“All the memorabilia on the wall makes it nice because while you’re waiting for your food, it gives you something to look at,” he said. “I think it would be a really good game day spot.” 

The Woodsons were delighted by Heigl’s food. 

“The steaks were worth the three-and-a-half hour drive right off the bat,” Jennifer said. “That and the bread pudding, both of those were wonderful.” Jennifer said.

As for Spurrier’s pick, he said it’s personal preference, but he’s “more of a fish guy.”

“I can go with scallops or the mahi. There's a small fillet that everybody finds very good here also. Also, there's pastas, Italian or Mexican dishes. So, there's a nice combination. And Chef Mark again, I think he's the best,” he said.

Another Gator fan and alumnus Michael Boulez, has long awaited the opening. He said he wanted to see if ‘Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille’ could be a place to come to during away games on Saturdays.

“The food was great, the service was good,” Boulez said. “I started off with the cheese bread, which I suggest to everybody and the chili was good. But then I ordered their bacon burger. And it was awesome,” he said. 

After dining there, Boulez said, “I'd say it's my new place to come to in Gainesville. I’ll be a regular customer.” 

Amber Shelton-Robinson, another Gator fan, ordered appetizers, the crab cake, orange and blue shrimp and calamari.

“I love that the shrimp was local, that all their food was sourced locally. It was really, really good. It was served hot. It was served quickly,” she said. 

Shelton-Robinson was pleased with her experience and said, “I'm excited for Gainesville to get something this upscale and this nice.”

Contact Alexis at a.carson@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @Alexis_Carson99.


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Alexis Carson

Alexis Carson is a third-year journalism major and staff writer with the Avenue. In her free time, she loves watching horror movies and going to concerts.


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