Gainesville restaurants fall victim to COVID-19 changes

A local food blogger says speed, convenience and digital transitions could help surmount COVID -19 challenges.
Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 12:28 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - A few Gainesville restaurants have fallen victim to COVID-19 and permanently closed. A local food blogger said, “Covid-19 is not the direct cause but it’s kind of the thing that kind of sends it over the edge.”

Some local restaurant closings include Leonardo’s 706, The Swamp and Civilization.

The latest victim, Francesca's Trattoria, served their last plate Saturday evening and said goodbye via Facebook. Their post now with hundreds of likes and comments, all sad to read the news.

Ken Peng, the founder of the food blog Ken Eats Gainesville said, “I think that the restaurants that are struggling the most are the ones that are fine dining and the ones whose experience is more about being in the restaurant than the actual food itself.”

Some restaurants have shut their doors but Peng says to stay positive because a number of new restaurants are getting their start around Gainesville.

"When one door closes, another door opens," Peng added.

The new in Gainesville includes a second Satchel's pizza location, the grand opening of a Cafe Bustelo chain and a new restaurant called The Leaning Pig in Downtown Gainesville.

“There’s new chefs and new concepts popping up left and right, right now,” Peng noted. “Because there’s people who may have lost their job and they’re looking to see the opportunity to branch out on their own. There’s tons of space available and I think that some landlords are actually probably more willing to negotiate at this point.”

Peng adds that restaurants that can adjust to delivery, digital ordering and fast meals may do better in the long run.

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