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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Mom’s OG stays true to its roots

The Irish sports bar, formerly Mother’s Pub and Grill, has opened with a consistent but improved energy under new management

<p>The restaurant temporarily closed its University Avenue doors Apr. 30 to begin renovations and changes under new management. </p><p><br/></p>

The restaurant temporarily closed its University Avenue doors Apr. 30 to begin renovations and changes under new management. 

The walls of Mom’s OG, previously adorned with tongue-in-cheek signs and dollar bills during its days as Mother’s Pub and Grill, have been stripped bare. The newly painted black walls signify a fresh foundation as the new ownership behind Mom’s OG begins its own legacy.

Longtime Gainesville favorite Mother’s Pub and Grill reopened as Mom’s OG May 23, staying true to its Irish sports bar roots and dedicated customers. The restaurant temporarily closed its University Avenue doors Apr. 30 to begin renovations and changes under new management. 

Bartenders Robby Latner, Cory Hudacko, Rachel Hickey and Tim Ratliff manage and own Mom’s OG — the “OG” a play on the word original. Latner bartended at Mother’s for two years and Hudacko for seven. Hickey and Ratliff were bartenders elsewhere but longtime lovers of Mother’s. 

The four assumed ownership after Patrick Schaller, who  — ready for a change — shifted his focus to his Mother’s north and Mother’s Newberry locations.

“The offer was on the table and I always wanted to be a part of that,” Latner, 32, said. “It just felt like a good fit.”

New management seeks to rejuvenate, rather than change, the establishment. Changes include cleaner floors, an expanded menu and more seating. Menu changes include the addition of onion rings, more wings sauces like “Mom’s Revenge” and “Bangin’ Mango,” cheesesteaks, corn nuggets and desserts. 

The newly furnished patio and additional seating comes after Latner said he noticed patrons often stood. The change reflects the new management’s style of simply improving what they could.

“We didn’t want that original idea to die at this location,” Latner said. “It just needed a little love.”

The restaurant’s regulars said new management still maintains the energy of its predecessor.

“It feels about the same,” Ben Tillson, a 40-year-old UF counseling and wellness center training program assistant, said. He said he noticed many small changes, such as cleaning and painting.

Valentina Veloza, a 20-year-old server manager at Mom’s OG, said the new management created a cleaner environment and a more positive atmosphere.

“I think it’s the best thing that has ever happened to this building, ” Veloza said. 

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But not all patrons feel that way.

Jack Spoone, a 22-year-old UF political science senior, said he thinks Mom’s OG is not as authentic as the former Mother’s Pub and Grill. But he still looks forward to attending the restaurant to see what the new management has in store

“I'm definitely open to the change,” Spoon said. “I come here regardless.”

Despite the changes in environment, the restaurant maintains a close-hearted reverence for the establishment’s history. Even the new name is a tribute to the restaurant’s original title.

“We already called it Mom’s,” Latner said. “We were just like, ‘Let’s just keep calling it what we’ve been calling it and keep the original idea.’”

That original idea is one of community — something Latner experienced firsthand. During breaks in his Albany State baseball days, he stayed at a friend’s house across from Mom’s OG when it was still Mother’s, taking the short walk to the restaurant to party. 

He said Mother’s was how the current owners made their livelihood and fed themselves. It was where they celebrated and spent time with friends and family. 

Mom’s OG is their thanks to that community.

Contact Anna Ward at Follow her Twitter @AnnaWard_.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that one of the bartenders is named "Robert Latner," not "Robert Wagner" as The Alligator previously reported.

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