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University of Florida launches location in student union for NCFL restaurants

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Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 5:48 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Gator Dining Services at the University of Florida launched a foodservice location on Monday for local restaurants to have their food featured on campus.

The ribbon-cutting for Local Restaurant Row was held at 11 a.m. on campus in front of the new location in the Rietz Union, located at 686 Museum Rd. The first five restaurants that are featured at the location are Fat G’s Barbecue, Mi Apa Latin Cafe, The Little Sombrero, Bz Gelati and Big Island Bowls. Those restaurant celebrated the opening by giving out free samples of al of their different types of food. For right now, Local Restaurant Row will only be open for lunch, but Serena Sakkal, the sustainability manager for Gator Dining, says they are open to having more time slots to have the location running.

“So, right now we’re keeping it a lunch, about 11 to 3 every day, if we have vendors who are willing and wanting to do dinner or a late night snack kind of thing, or breakfast we’re open to it. The space is here and it’s ready to be filled up by local restaurants,” said Sakkal.

Brendan Schneck is the owner of Big Island Bowls, he feels that operating in the Rietz Union is a great opportunity to expand his appeal with students at the university.

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“Oh it’s huge for us. Just the access to students, being able to get our name and brand on campus. Just the exposure is great,” said Schneck.

The restaurants will be sharing the location and it will be occupied by a different restaurant each day of the week. Sakkal says finding the right fits for the spot has been one of her main priorities.

“A big part of my job lately has really still been going out to restaurants meeting owners talking to the managers and giving them the whole concept. A lot of the times people will ask me what’s the catch, like what am I missing out on, and its really is just that simple,” said Sakkal.

If any Gainesville or Alachua County restaurants are interested in feeding students on campus at UF they can contact Gator Dining at this link.

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