Gainesville residents will be seeing an influx of chicken wings and Asian cuisine this year while they say their second goodbye to another local burger joint. As classes begin and vacations conclude, find out which restaurants have recently opened or shut their doors.
Naga Tea manager Spencer Yang, 28, is hopeful that the company’s third location will thrive in Gainesville.
The cafe, located at 21 SW Second St., opened Wednesday and offers a menu consisting of fruit- and milk-based tea drinks ranging from $4-6.
Naga Tea has a flagship store in Tampa and a second one in Jacksonville, Yang said. Due to its popularity among college-aged customers, the tea stop decided to open a location in Gainesville, Yang said.
The store is offering 20 percent off all drinks until Thursday, Yang said. When the promotion ends, the cafe will hold a “buy-one-get-one tea” for three days starting Thursday.
“We use traditional Taiwanese techniques and fresh fruit for our teas,” Yang said. “It’s what sets us apart from the other places around here.”
UF biology freshman Parmida Shojaee found it refreshing to eat fish that did not leave her ill with regret.
“I’ve been to poke places that had bad fish, and it was a traumatizing experience,” the 19-year-old said.
On Jan. 7, PokéBowl Station opened its first Florida location at 1800 W. University Ave., said Tony Chen, the restaurant’s manager.
With three locations in New York, the company thought cold poke bowls, a rice-based dish with raw fish and vegetables, would be ideal in a warmer, southern climate, the 28-year-old said.
Poke bowls are priced from $10-14, Chen said. Teas are priced at $4-6.
“It’s kind of like a salad bar,” he said. “We have a lot to offer, and I hope the students like it.”
Hooters will be making a comeback in Gainesville in March.
The restaurant will be taking over Square 1’s previous spot at 3105 SW 34th St., according to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation records. They have already applied for permits for interior redesign and signs.
Hooters was previously located at 3265 SW 34th St. in 2011 and closed due to unmet licensing agreements.
Al Mayor, a 21-year-old UF psychology senior, said he won’t be eating at Hooters because he disagrees with the required uniforms and lack of respect toward the waitresses there.
“I don’t think it would have great success with some of the student population,” he said. “I just want to eat and not have to stare at girls.”
Nine months after reopening, the Copper Monkey restaurant has closed a second time.
Its second location, at 3501 SW Second Ave., displayed signs on the doors saying the location was “closed temporarily for reorganization.”
The business ran for 37 years before taking a break in 2017, and it reopened last April. Owners Rob and Ashlea Zeller could not be reached for comment.