Nine Spices Fondue is now gearing up for their grand opening this Saturday. They already had a soft opening May 11 and had a positive reception from the Gainesville community, according to co-owner Julie Ou.
The restaurant is co-owned by husband Zhaoxiong Zheng, who goes by Jimmy, and his wife Julie. Nine Spices Fondue is a Chinese hotpot restaurant located at 3333 SW 34th St.
Since 2000, the couple has been running restaurants out of Atlanta, GA, but in 2017 they moved to Florida and opened Nine Spices Hotpot in Orlando. Nine Spices Hotpot is a chain restaurant with other locations in Florida, but the only locations Zheng and Ou own are in Orlando and Gainesville.
The couple came to Gainesville because of its diversity and the student population.
“The people are really nice, and I haven’t had any problems,” Ou said.
Hotpot is a common style of cuisine in many Asian countries. It is a place where customers have a burner on the table and cook their own food, adding it to a premade soup broth of their choice.
At Nine Spices Fondue, there is a conveyor belt where different vegetables and meat can be chosen and then taken back to the table to be cooked.
There are two ways to make a hotpot at the restaurant: the buffet version, which costs $26.95, and a single portion version, which ranges from $13.95 to $19.95, depending on what meat you want.
For the buffet version, customers can pick their broth and add as much meat and vegetables as they desire for two hours.
My Le, 22, is the student manager of the restaurant and planning the grand opening. She said there will be two deals offered this Saturday. The first deal is 10 percent off the buffet meal, which is currently offered. The second deal allows a free meal to one of your guests; if you bring in six people the sixth eats for free.
Although all the soups are originally beef- and pork-based, if a customer asks, the kitchen staff can make a broth for both vegans and vegetarians.
“The kitchen staff are very sterile, and they know that if it’s vegan they would change gloves and use standard precaution needed,” Le said.
There is also a bar section of the restaurant, which sells liquor as well as milk teas, fresh squeezed fruit juice and fruit tea.
Le mentioned that she hopes people who come to the restaurant will share a meal and bring them closer to one another.
“[In Asian culture,] we don’t really express love out loud, we do it through our actions,” Le said. “When Chinese families are cooking and sharing food that is how we say we love you.”