Willy’s Mexicana on Archer closes; new Starbucks and Domirican Cuisine open

Willy's Mexicana Grill on Archer Road, shown in this Dec. 2, 2011 file photo, has closed.

Joe Byrnes/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 11:05 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 11:05 a.m.

Gainesville’s Willy’s Mexicana Grill, the first restaurant in the chain to open outside its hometown of Atlanta, closed May 30.

The restaurant didn’t perform as well as its owners hoped, said franchisee Carl Hoover. He said with competition from nearby Chipotle and Tijuana Flats, which are nationally recognized brands, Willy’s had a tough time drawing a crowd outside its hometown.

“I hated to do it,” Hoover said. “But it got to the point where it didn’t pick up like we wanted it to.”

He said the building at 3617 Archer Road is available for leasing.


A new Starbucks with a drive-thru opened in Butler Plaza May 30.

The new location offers additional parking and easy access to Archer Road, wrote marketing associate Kristin Mamula in an email. Butler Enterprises owns and operates the building, which is the second part of a new development dubbed “The Shoppes at Butler.” She said the company is always looking for retailers new to Gainesville and the surrounding region.

Included in the new development, which opened December 2013, are restaurants WhichWich, Gigi’s Cupcakes and BurgerFi.

Sonny’s BBQ

The Sonny’s BBQ at 3635 Archer Road is moving closer to the road within the same plot. The existing location will remain open during the six to eight months it will take to build the new Sonny’s.

The new location will come with a new look, said chief marketing officer Dominic Losacco. The smokers used to cook the barbecue overnight will be placed near the center of the restaurant for customers to see, along with new furniture and a different color scheme than the existing all-red building.

“What this building represents is the next 45 years for Sonny’s,” Losacco said.

The Sonny’s restaurant chain began in Gainesville in 1968 with its Waldo Road location. Now there are 120 Sonny’s across nine states.

Domirican Cuisine

Domirican Cuisine, a new restaurant featuring Puerto Rican and Dominican dishes, opened mid-April at 3807 E. University Ave. It moved into the old LL’s Bar-B-Que building.

The restaurant is owned and run by 41-year-old Freddie Remigio and his family. The menu offers items like grits, pancakes, sandwiches, sweet plantains, stewed pork, burritos and hamburgers.

Remigio said he found his love for cooking at 6 years old when he surprised his father with dinner when he came home. His father enjoyed it so much he thought his mother cooked it, and he said he’s been cooking ever since.

Hours of operation are 6 a.m.–7 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and 6 a.m.–10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.

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