Five years after his retirement from coaching, “Head Ball Coach” Steve Spurrier once again returns to the gridiron. Or more specifically, to Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille.
The 16,700-square-foot restaurant will open in fall 2020 in Celebration Pointe, according to a press release. Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille will include three indoor-outdoor bars with a radio booth for live shows and podcasts. “Visors,” a 5,500-square-foot rooftop lounge, will overlook the entertainment venue.
A nearly 600-square-foot sports memorabilia exhibit will showcase Spurrier’s extensive accomplishments, with his Heisman trophy in the center. Other items, such as his visor collection, will be on display throughout the restaurant, according to the press release.
Spurrier played for the Florida Gators football team from 1963 to 1966 and won the Heisman Trophy his senior year as quarterback. In 1990, he became the head coach of the team.
He formed the concept of the restaurant and chose Andrew Johnstone as the operating partner for Spurrier’s. Johnston was director of operations for Mission BBQ, which has restaurants in 16 states, and a managing partner at Outback Steakhouse in Gainesville.
“We’ve selected a first-round draft pick in Andrew Johnstone, who has more than three decades of restaurant experience, including in Gainesville,” Spurrier said in the press release. “Andrew shares my vision of creating a first-class dining and social experience in the North Florida region.”
The press release describes the menu as “polished American-casual...with innovative twists.” The food includes some of Spurrier’s favorites like avocado-topped burgers, grilled chicken, seafood, steak, pasta and salads, as well as desserts inspired by his wife Jerri Spurrier’s homemade recipes.
Celebration Pointe was deemed the best place for the location because of its designation as a place “Where the Gators come to Celebrate” and its connection to the University of Florida Athletic Association (UAA).
Allison Forrest, a coordinator of career development for student athletes in the UAA, said that she will go to Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille to watch football games and eat.
“Coach Spurrier has such good ties to the city and means so much to this city, so I think having him have an establishment here and a restaurant that people can go to, [allows them to] see his accomplishments and celebrate him and UF,” she said.
Brad Heron, a 38-year-old partner at The Keys Grill & Piano Bar in Celebration Pointe and third-generation gator, has admired Spurrier’s football achievements since he was a child.
“In general, we’re excited to have Spurrier's,” he said. “It sounds like they have a good team with them and as a Gator fan and Gator grad it's pretty neat that Spurrier’s is going to be right next door to my restaurant.”
Having an open atmosphere, Celebration Pointe’s businesses support one another, Heron said. And he plans to do the same with Spurrier’s.
“Everyone is kind of a team at Celebration Pointe so we all root for each other’s success and help out any way we can,” he said. “I think that they'll help us, but we’re actively looking to support them and their success as well.”
Contact Katie Delk at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @katie_delk.