This is not a drill. It is done and I’m happy to be the first to bring you the official news. We are getting a Cheesecake Factory in Butler Town Center. With this announcement, I’d like to also address a few rumors that have been swirling around for some time now because there has been a slew of misinformation out there. While it’s not a restaurant I’m particularly attached to, I know a lot of you have been clamoring for it, and I’m excited that their choosing Gainesville for a location continues to legitimize our city in the eyes of excellent restaurants around the state of Florida and beyond to look at us for future locations. Butler has made the announcement official as well, and with that…here’s a few Rumor/Fact points:
Rumor Patient Zero: I will admit I contributed when I made a fake announcement they were opening as my April Fool's joke in 2017—it has been a downward “fake news” spiral ever since.
Rumor: You son of a biscuit! You just made a post squashing this at the end of January saying it wasn't coming!
Fact: Yes I did, because nothing was signed at the time and things were still very much up in the air. Yet people were talking about it like it was definitively opening, and these deals fall through all the time. I can tell you for a fact that nothing was signed until this past Monday, March 11th 2019. The rumor at the time also said it was going next to PF Chang's, which it is not. It's going closer to Whole Foods at the Town Center entrance off Archer Road, behind Grub Burger. Go back and read the post again, but this time read between the lines!
Rumor: Cheesecake Factory was definitely coming when PF Chang's was announced, they always open together.
Fact: They had no interest in the Gainesville market, and was not planning on coming when PF Chang's signed on (Feb 16 2017). It wasn't until they saw the reception to Whole Foods opening here (May 9, 2018 with 2,000 people in line) that they began to reach out to Butler Enterprises, but even then it was very early on and nothing was even close to concrete. And that was only May of last year, so this has happened relatively quickly.
Rumor: I heard from my friend's neighbor's friend's mom who knows this person in the know who knew what was going on from another person's friend's dad's brother's uncle that Cheesecake Factory was coming for like 3 years now. This is old news!!!
Fact: See comment above, Gainesville wasn't even a blip on their radar until Whole Foods opened in May of 2018, but nothing was set in stone. People have been claiming direct knowledge of this for years now when nothing was even set in motion until 10 months ago. Rumors have been swirling about opening in various locations around town, but I'm told Cheesecake Factory wanted direct visibility from Archer Road and it was non-negotiable.
I can tell you now that the lease is signed and plans are submitted as of today to the City of Gainesville. The restaurant will be over 8,000 square feet with a giant outdoor bar and patio. This build-out will happen very quickly as the exterior shell building is already there, and the plan is to be open by football season this year.