Some Restaurant Locations are Revolving Doors
GLOB Content Editor Lynn Dirk is presenting Table Scraps, an irregular column featuring ideas for disposal or salvage, scrap mettle worthy of reprocessing, small pieces of someone's mind -- crisp pieces of rendered thoughts related to restaurants and food.
Location, location, location! To understand that this real estate truism overemphasizes only one factor in business success, think "restaurant." If a restaurant has good food and a HALF-WAY decent location, we will come. There are some very interesting examples of this in Gainesville.
Believe it or not, the current location of Leonardo's by the Slice was once a revolving door location where hopeful restaurateurs would eventually become disappointed.
That all changed when Leonardo's moved there in the early 80's. Wow, 30 years. That's a long time. They clearly have a successful formula that includes a location within walking distance for captive university peeps, so that tiny little L-shaped parking lot is not a serious problem. Good food factors into the pizza-by-the-slice formula, but Leo's has also evolved – while keeping the essentials, over time they added new menu items and changed up the décor. I love that brushed metal counter! Leo's definitely now OWNS that spot. Can you imagine NOT having Leo's there? Can you imagine it anywhere else?
The importance of a specific building or location might be most critical for locally owned restaurants, whereas big box franchise restaurants rely on branding -- it doesn't matter where they go, they are always nearly identical. Some people like that consistent uniformity, even though it might result in mediocre food. But even chain restaurants can fail. When a chain restaurant fails - I mean the one restaurant, not the chain! - is it usually due to poor market research resulting in a bad location?
Here's some other Hogtown restaurant location scraps for your consideration:
> The corner of SW 13th St and 16th Ave hosted a restaurant for years and years, the last being a Guthrie's fried chicken. Since Guthrie's failed, that spot has been dormant for quite awhile. I kept wondering why–maybe because I drive by that corner every workday–until I recently learned the property was bought by Shands. So ends a location that for many years could never keep a restaurant going even though it has as good a location as the Steak and Shake directly across the street from it, which does so well it even created a whole new building for itself about 5 years ago.
> Is there even an address for that spot that will soon become Chuy's Mexican restaurant off of Archer Rd. and SW 34th St.? Nice building, good parking, LOTS of other businesses around it to bring people to that area. SOMETHING has just not been working there. Will Chuy's stop that revolving tenant door from turning? By the way, I looked up the address in the GLOB – it is 3410 Archer Rd. I don't think you can even see that building from Archer Rd. Wouldn't you like to know how addresses get assigned?
> The Jones Eastside has some great food and hard core fans, but that location . . . really? Admittedly, more and more restaurants seem to eke out workabke space in small strip malls. Despite such an iffy location and small dining area – or maybe BECAUSE it's small? – The Jones stays very busy. Where would YOU want The Jones to go if it relocated? Rumors are beginning to surface . . .
> GLOBers who live on the east side of town would NEVER want it to have the kind of chaos that occurs on Archer Road, but more good restaurants wouldn't hurt. Wait – there are actually a LOT of good restaurants on the east side already, including Satchel's Pizza, which, like The Jones, never seems big enough to hold all the people who want to eat there. Satchel has made it clear, though, he will NEVER move. Good for him, and soon he will have a new kitchen. That's probably a good thing: With the new eastside UF complex practically right across the street from him, his business may actually increase--if that is even possible. Speaking of Satchel's, make sure you check out the Satchblog to follow progress on the renovation.
Satch won't give an ETA on a reopening, but he is hoping for good news in the next six to eight weeks. It seems like construction projects are NEVER completed on time. Either way, Satchel has had some tribulations along the way. Check out his story about the air conditioning. Hang in there Satchel!
> Burrito Brothers Taco Co. was in the same 13th Street location FOREVER and was a very popular lunchtime Food on the Run spot until big business and big politics literally made everything on that corner disappear, maybe FOREVER. That's OK by me. There are too many buildings in cities, so I am enjoying that open space. Amd Burrito Bros did not disappear, it just moved. I haven't been there since they moved, but I hear it is in a better place where people can actually sit down and eat.
I have focused on some the revolving door restaurant locations mainly east of University Avenue because this is the part of town I know best. Is there a revolving door restaurant location that tickles your fancy or ticks you off in your part of town? Post a comment below to add your own Table Scraps.
Latest from Mike S. GLOB Master
jon roosenraad Wednesday, 30 May 2012 12:33 Comment Link
How about the new Tex-Mex place soon to open near Lowe's at Archer and 34th. Was Toojays, before that Rafferty's and originally a Bill Knapps back in the days.
Enjoyed your memories!
Don Beech Thursday, 24 May 2012 11:43 Comment Link
Lynn - the Pizza Palace on 13th by the the old Mother Earth seems to be another revolving door location. A few years ago the original mgr re-opened it as the "Original Pizza Palace" but a dispute with the landlord ended a great place to eat. Since then another restaurant has come and gone. Now empty