Fresco, Red Mango close, while MaeBelle's opens

Kitchen manager Kenneth Loper steps down from a ladder held by server Gianna Acquafredda after changing a sign outside the new MaeBelle's Country Cuisine restaurant on Southwest 13th Street in Gainesville, Fla., on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.

Joe Byrnes/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 5:02 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 5:02 p.m.

Fresco Neighborhood Italian closed this week at 3117 SW 34th St. and is preparing to move to a new location, said Mike Davis, one of the owners.

Davis said the restaurant is trying to choose between locations at Tower Road and Southwest 24th Street and Haile Plantation near Publix. The owners also own Limerock Road Neighborhood Grill in Haile Village.

Davis said they were leaving because of “landlord problems” after more than five years in the University Towne Center, including higher rent.

MaeBelle's Country Cuisine

MaeBelle's Country Cuisine opened Nov. 25 at 3610 SW 13th St. in the former Merlion restaurant, serving Southern cooking for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Catering and delivery are available.

MaeBelle's also hosts live entertainment Thursday through Saturday.

Red Mango

The Red Mango frozen yogurt near Fresco and another in the Target Copy Center on University Avenue closed just before Thanksgiving. The location in The Oaks Mall remains open.

Franchisee Terri Keogh said business was good but that she and her family tried to sell the three stores because they are focused on a new business venture.

Keogh is the daughter of Bernadette Castro. The family relaunched Castro Convertibles and its Ottoman sofa bed.

Taste Express

A sushi bar kiosk called Taste Express opened in The Oaks Mall on Nov. 14 in front of the Build-A-Bear Workshop.

The 10-foot-by-16-foot kiosk offers sushi rolls and bowls, miso soup and small appetizers such as spring rolls, crab wontons, dumplings and edamame.

Owner Hung Nguyen also operates Taste Sushi Bar & Asian Cuisine -- formerly Taste of Saigon -- at 4860 NW 39th Ave.

Mi Apa Latin Cafe

With nearly 10 years in Gainesville, Mi Apa Latin Cafe opened a second location Monday in Alachua.

The new location is at 15634 NW U.S. 441, next to Moe's and Domino's Pizza and across from Lowes. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

Mi Apa serves traditional Cuban food and drinks.

Panda Express, Pollo Tropical and Brass Tap

The City Plan Board on Monday approved plans for two restaurants with drive-throughs to be built on the site of existing buildings. Panda Express was approved for the existing Long John Silver's location at 710 NW 60th St. off of Newberry Road, and Pollo Tropical was approved for the former Atlanta Bread Company building at 3900 Archer Road in Butler Plaza.

In September, the board approved plans for the Brass Tap, a Tampa-based craft beer bar, for the former Sprint store at 3833 Archer Road.

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