Changes percolating at eateries


Published: Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 1:49 p.m.

Blue Water Bay

Blue Water Bay unveiled its new Gainesville location at 12 SE 2nd Ave. with a soft opening on Nov. 17 for dinner. It is not yet open for lunch, but the restaurant will be available to book large catering events or luncheons until it is later opened for general lunch-time meals, said Byron Terwillegar, who owns the Gainesville restaurant with Billy Scheel and Shawn Shepherd.

He said the menu changes each season. It focuses on Florida seafood and locally sustainable foods, and about 30 percent of the menu consists of daily specials, which depend on the availability of ingredients.

According to the owners, the location was built in 1910 as a livery stable. It was then used for automobile parking and storage until 1973 when it was turned into 12 East, a Creole-style restaurant. More recently, it was The Sovereign Restaurant for 30 years and then Ti Amo. Blue Water Bay underwent renovations to restore the building to its original appearance.

"It's just a great setting for a restaurant, especially being in the middle of downtown," Terwillegar said.

Smokehouse Gourmet Barbecue

The former Rue Bar has been remodeled into a restaurant.

Smokehouse Gourmet Barbecue at 104 S. Main St. is scheduled for a soft opening early this month. Michael Nabers, founder of Smokehouse Gourmet Barbecue and the previous owner of Rue Bar, wanted to find a better use for the location. Compared to a nightclub, a restaurant will serve a larger clientele and be open for more hours.

"I wanted to bring the property to its highest use, and I feel that Smokehouse is the highest and best use of the property," he said.

Its menu will include traditional barbecue and barbecue with a twist, such as the almond crusted mahi mahi with a rum orange beurre blanc sauce.

The restaurant will also showcase the location's history. The tables are made from 110-year-old wood taken from the attic and the interior is airbrushed with images of the intersection between 1880 and 1920. Nabers said he wanted to teach others about Gainesville's history.

"I realized how rich Gainesville's past was," he said.

Tony's Pizza

Tony's Pizza is now open at 4126 NW 6th St. serving pizza, pasta dishes, calzones, strombolis, subs, wings and salads.

Blue Sky Cafe

Blue Sky Cafe opened in the former Ben and Jerry's at 3773 Archer Road.

The restaurant serves sandwiches and wraps made with Boar's Head meats and cheeses, hand-tossed salads, flatbread pizzas and breakfast sandwiches, said owner Stan Given, who also owns four Moe's Southwest Grills, The Flying Biscuit Cafe, Heavenly Ham and a Planet Smoothie in Gainesville.

He said the market niche for quality sandwiches and salads was underserved. Also, he described Archer Road as "restaurant road," saying the area's traffic is good for restaurants.

13th Street Palace

The 13th Street Palace closed one month after its opening.

Richard Young, his girlfriend Shannon Holzer and his sister-in-law Shelley Carver had a disagreement on how to conduct the business. There also were arguments between Young and Holzer and the landlord, Jim Larsen, about who should handle repairs.

Holzer said the upfront costs for repairs were so high they were unable to get off the ground. They thought the landlord should have paid for these repairs.

Larsen said the responsibility of repairs was clearly stated in the lease.

According to a copy sent to The Sun by Carver, the landlord was responsible for the maintenance of the exterior wall, foundation, roof and buried conduits. The tenant was responsible for all other repairs and maintenance to the interior, windows, doors, storefront, heating, air and plumbing.

Larsen said he is looking to lease the building to another restaurant.

There is an interested party at the moment, but Larsen is in negotiations and could not disclose it.

Kickin' Devil Cafe

Kickin' Devil Cafe quit serving lunch in early November. Instead, the New Orleans-style restaurant at 2017 NE 27th Ave. will be renting its extra space to a hot dog stand for lunch and another vendor, which is still in negotiations, for breakfast.

It will still have its Cajun food and blues music for dinners Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and it also will continue lunch and dinner catering.

Mary Jane Brunel, the marketing director, said the restaurant's food isn't suited for lunch-time customers. They want something quick and easy, and the restaurant isn't willing to sacrifice quality for convenience. As an alternative, the carts will provide customers with "good home cooking but stuff that's going to be inexpensive and fast," she said.

The hot dog stand was scheduled to start on Tuesday, and the breakfast vendor will be starting shortly after.

Andrea Rumbaugh is a Gainesville Sun correspondent.

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