Sweet Dreams heads east


Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 1:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 1:44 p.m.

Sweet Dreams is planning to open its second location in east Gainesville after all, possibly as soon as this week.

The homemade ice cream shop had planned to open last year in partnership with the Reichert House, employing boys from the after-school program. When they couldn't reach a contract agreement, the Reichert House opened an ice cream shop at 1040 E. University Ave. that sold DeConna ice cream, but it closed within weeks.

Sweet Dreams Eastside in the same location plans to have three boys from Reichert House as interns, owner Michael Manfredi said.

He said he had planned to open last week before finding out that Reichert House did not have a restaurant license to transfer to him, so he said he is applying for a plan review with the state Division of Hotels and Restaurants.

Sweet Dreams also has a location at 3437 W. University Ave.

Southern Soul

Southern Soul Restaurant & Lounge opened in mid-August in the former Club 51 at 15 NE 2nd Ave. in High Springs.

After selling garlic blue crabs at festivals, Jo Grandison opened the restaurant with her mother, Priscilla Darling.

Grandison described the jazz-themed menu as homestyle cooking with items such as Art Tatum's oxtails and yellow rice, Miles Davis liver and onions and Muddy Waters fresh mullet platter.

The lounge has live jazz and blues.

Piccadilly

The Piccadilly Cafeteria in Gainesville closed Sunday after business — having served generations of diners going back to its days as Morrison's Cafeteria.

The restaurant on NW 13th Street is one of eight that Piccadilly is closing as the company goes through Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. The only other Florida location to close is in St. Petersburg, a company spokeswoman said.

"When it comes to our team members and guests, closing a Piccadilly Restaurant is the last option that we want to consider," Frank Frantom, regional manager, said in a prepared statement. "However, it is necessary to ensure a continuation of the Piccadilly brand. We believe this restructuring creates an opportunity for the company to focus on successful operations and create future employment opportunities."

The company is working with affected employees to place them at other locations wherever possible, he said.

Baton Rouge-based Piccadilly filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 11 for the second time in 10 years.

CEO Thomas Sandeman said in the filing that hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters since 2005 temporarily closed 56 of its restaurants while a number were also affected by the Gulf oil spill in 2010. The recession also reduced customer spending, including from seniors on a fixed income who make up a large percentage of Piccadilly's customer base.

After the company was unable to reach an agreement on its debt, Wells Fargo in April sold its debt to Atalaya, referred to in the bankruptcy filing as a New York-based vulture fund. Atalaya filed a lawsuit Sept. 5 seeking $25.7 million in principal and interest it said Piccadilly owed.

The lawsuit put in motion a process that could shut Piccadilly operations down, the bankruptcy filing said. At the time of the filing, Piccadilly operated 86 restaurants in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

Piccadilly purchased Morrison's Cafeterias in 1998, giving the company 244 locations, including in The Oaks Mall and at 2620 NW 13th St. The Oaks Mall location closed in 2001.

Ivy House

The Ivy House has relocated its Southern restaurant from Alachua to Ocala. The Ivy House location in Williston remains open.

The restaurant closed its location in the Williams-LeRoy House in Alachua about 60 days ago. It is moving to the former 1890 House at 917 E. Silver Springs Blvd. near the Ocala downtown square.

The owner had not returned a call by late last Wednesday. An employee in Williston said the Ocala location would open in about a week and a half.

Ker's WingHouse

After months of preparation, Ker's WingHouse Bar & Grill opened last Friday evening in the former Shoney's and Michael's location at 3857 Archer Road.

The "breastaurant" that touts its "attractive and polite" WingHouse Girls is owned by Crawford Ker, a former Gator All-American and NFL player.

El Norteno

El Norteno Mexican Restaurant closed Sept. 1 after 10 years at 516 NW 75th St.

The location at 2445 SW 13th St. remains open.

Owner Jaime Lopez said the lease expired in May, and he decided not to renew because business was slow, competition had increased and it was too much work to operate two restaurants.

Garcia and a former partner had split the two restaurants. He took over the 13th Street location and reopened it about a year ago after his former partner shut it down. He said he has three years left on that lease.

Anthony Clark is the Gainesville Sun business editor.

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