Grandy's heading out, Tebow-backed eatery coming in
Published: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 5:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 5:46 p.m.
Grandy’s was his first job.
Dave Miles was one of the original employees at the Southern-style restaurant’s first franchise store in Brunswick, Ga. It was 1977, and Miles was a junior in high school.
Today, Miles owns the Grandy’s at the corner of West University Avenue and 34th Street. The 28-year-old establishment is now slated to close by the end of summer. PDQ, a restaurant chain in which Tim Tebow is an investor, will replace it.
The past four years have been tough on Grandy’s, Miles said. The aging restaurant needs remodeling, and he doesn’t have the resources to do that.
“Being a small-business person, owning my own business is all I ever wanted to do,” he said. “It’s been a labor of love and something I’ve done for so many years. It’ll definitely be different waking up in the morning and not coming to Grandy’s.”
This is the last Grandy’s in Florida, but there are other stores in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
It was a tough decision for Miles, who started owning 5 percent of the local store and ended up with all of it. More than a lifelong career, Grandy’s has become a family relic.
It’s where Miles met his wife, Debbie. It’s where Beth, Kathy and Scott — Miles’ three children — had their first jobs.
For Bruce Simer, a recovery minister at the University City Church of Christ, Grandy’s is a piece of his everyday morning.
Simer eats the same meal every morning: scrambled eggs with a dash of salsa, a side of sausage patties and a cup of coffee. He’s been a regular since the restaurant’s opening.
“She (an employee) has it ready for me by the time I get to the cash register,” Simer said.
“We have a ton of regulars,” Miles said. “We know people by what they eat. A lot of them, we don’t know their names, but we know, ‘This is the country fried steak guy with mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese.’ ”
Dan Tampas, another regular, works at Lipham Music across the street. He grabs food at Grandy’s at least three times a week. “I’ve known them for a very long time,” Tampas said. “They’re part of the local culture.”
Miles said PDQ management is giving priority interviews to Grandy’s existing staff of about 40 employees.
PDQ spokesman Jeff Kamos confirmed this. He said Tebow is one of the investors bringing the restaurant to Gainesville, but he doesn’t know if Tebow will show up to the grand opening.
PDQ stands for “People Dedicated to Quality,” and the chain focuses on fresh fast-food options. Hand-breaded chicken tenders, hand-spun milkshakes and freshly squeezed lemonade are among their menu items. The Tampa-based chain has locations in Alabama, Florida and North Carolina.
Miles says PDQ will be a “real asset to the community.” Although he’ll leave with a heavy heart, he said he accepts the change with a tinge of excitement — it’s a chance to try something new.
“Gainesville has been really good to me and my family, and Grandy’s has, too,” he said.