Two U.S. Navy Veterans open new restaurant in Downtown Gainesville

Foc'sle is open for customers to come in and order globally inspired food for lunch or dinner.
Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 7:02 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - While some restaurants in North Central Florida have closed due to fewer customers, two U.S. Navy Veterans are trying to make their dreams come true by opening up Foc’sle, a new restaurant in Downtown Gainesville. 

A foc’sle is known as the gathering place of a Navy ship.

“I think this pandemic kinda shows a little bit that time is against you. If you have a dream, if you have something you want to do, you have to find the discipline the motivation to get out there and make it become a reality,” Foc’sle Owner Phillip Wynkoop said.

Phillip Wynkoop and Glen Pangelinan met while being deployed in Afghanistan together, later they returned to the U.S and lived in Washington D.C. for a few years. When Wynkoop moved back to his hometown of Gainesville, Pangelinan opened up his own fine dining restaurant in North Carolina. 

“So I was living here and I was missing my buddy and was trying to convince him to come to Gainesville and open something up here. Just knowing the market here and being from this area, I thought it was a good fit for us,” Wynkoop said. 

Plans to start Foc’sle began in September of 2019, the restaurant opened up as of last week.

“I think we bring a different take on foods that are around the world that we’ve experienced. We’ve embedded with folks as we’ve trained them overseas and we learn through food about people’s cultures,” Foc’sle Owner Glen Pangelinan said.

On their menu, you will see some of their favorite dishes, like tacos, sandwiches, and gazpacho. 

“We’re trying to keep the history of the food and make it our own,” Pangelinan said. 

When you walk into Foc'sle, you will see several frames on the walls that help tell their story. 

“We’re just paying homage to our history and sharing that with people. Trying to bring patriotism and our flag and what it means to us. We have a couple flags that came with us on deployments and that’s really special to us,” Pangelinan said. 

Foc’sle is also working to help others, by having 100% of their t-shirt and bottle opener sales go toward The Reliance Project, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting human trafficking. A percentage of food sales will also be donated to the charity.

”Trafficking doesn’t stop, business shouldn’t stop, economy shouldn’t stop,” Pangelinan said.

Wynkoop and Pangelinan said they are glad they took a chance to open, because if they didn’t they would have never known what could have happened. 

“We both have friends that were in the Navy that have passed, and the way we talked about is they don’t get to realize their dreams anymore and so what’s the excuse? so here we are,” Pangelinan said.

Foc’sle is open Wednesday-Saturday 11am-9pm and Sunday 2pm-9pm. 

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