COVID-19 Updates *As of March 17th*

Alright, we’ve got some things to talk about here amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a fine line between personal safety, “flattening the curve”, and helping keep our local restaurants (and economy!) doing as best as it can given the circumstances. So please just use this post as information, but obviously abide by any and all CDC recommendations and local government advisories.

That said, there are a couple big things of note right now. The City of Gainesville has declared a state of emergency. With it, all restaurants, bars, and retail establishments may only open between 6 AM and 9 PM effective tomorrow (Tuesday, March 17th). Groceries, pharmacies, gas stations, and emergency services are an exception. Although Publix will continue to close at 8 PM.

The other big news right now is Newk’s Eatery is going to temporarily close because a worker tested positive for COVID-19, and all employees who worked with the employee will all self-quarantine. The restaurant will be closed for 14 days, and is deep-cleaning. If you have eaten there in the past week, please be mindful of your health.

Here are a few other food/drink related items of note happening around town right now:

-Swamp Head Brewery has temporarily closed its tasting room, but will offer to-go can sales between Noon and 8 PM starting tomorrow, March 17th. First Magnitude will follow suit, closing their tap room, and offering to-go can sales from Noon to 7 PM.

-Effective tomorrow, March 17th, Whole Foods Market will be temporarily closing their dining area and hot bar.

- Prior to the 9 PM curfew announcement, Bangkok Square announced shortened hours to both locations closing at 9 PM on Fridays and Saturdays, and closing at 8:30 PM on Sundays through Thursdays.

-Cilantro Tacos will also be shifting to curb-side pickup, to-go, and online ordering beginning next week.

- BENTO asian kitchen + sushi is offering 15% off take-out orders if you mention "CALLAHEAD15" and is also available for free delivery through Uber Eats.

-Both BiteSquad and 352 Delivery are now offering contactless delivery, where the driver will bypass signature and leave your delivered food at your doorstep. Uber Eats has waived all delivery fees.

-As of right now, Embers’ Wine Dinner Series as part of the 2020 Wine & Food Festival will continue with its announced dates of March 20th-21st and March 27th-28th. More information can be found at

- Chick-fil-A at Archer Road will be operating only with drive-thru, mobile order, and curbside pickup. Zaxby's, Pollo Tropical, and Mi Apa Latin Cafe are also limited to drive-thru only. Mi Apa is also offering delivery and contact-free take out at both Gainesville and Alachua locations.

- Headwaters in High Springs will be take-out only, but serving the full menu. Tomorrow, March 17th - they will be open from Noon to 8 PM and all food will be 10% off.

- Daybreak Pleasant Street has announced they will be closed until next Monday, March 23rd. At which point, they will reopen with takeout options.

- Crane Ramen has also announced they are going take-out and delivery only effective immediately. Dining room is closed.

- Big Lou's NY Style Pizzeria is remaining open Mondays to Fridays from 11 AM to 9 PM, and 4 PM to 9 PM on Saturdays/Sundays. They will not be seating at the bar or seating parties of 6 or more.

- Madrina's will be temporarily closed until further notice.

- Uppercrust continues to remain open and observing the City's policy, but only 6 guests will be allowed in at a time, and curbside delivery is also available. They will assign one employee to be constantly sanitizing.

- 4 Rivers Smokehouse (Gainesville, FL) is offering curbside pickup until 8 PM. Call 352-444-9901 or email to place orders. They will be lowering their delivery minimum to $75 and any order of $75+ within 20 miles of the Smokehouse is free delivery.

- Dragonfly Sushi & Sake Company will continue to open their dining room and seat until 8 PM, recommending reservations if you want to dine. They will offer curbside order pickup until 9 PM. Cleaning protocols have been ramped up and distance has been increased between tables.

- Dick Mondell's will have limited outdoor seating from 11 AM to 9 PM, with the drive-thru and walk-up operating on to-go basis until 11 PM. Their First Responder Uniform Discount will be extended to all hospital and medical staff.

- the TOP is temporarily closing its dining room until March 23rd. Take-out only begins March 19th and they are working on an online delivery service to launch March 20th. The restaurant team will reassess after the 23rd.

- Loosey's - Downtown Gainesville will be serving food from 11 AM to 9 PM with limited seating. They are working on partnership with 352 Delivery - Local Gainesville Restaurant Delivery so you can order from home. $6 Burger Night is still a thing, and will be extended for to-go orders as well.

There will be more changes/closures coming very quickly. I’ll do my best to update this post as I hear about them. Stay safe, be courteous, and use your best judgment.

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© 2021 by Ken Peng & Ken Eats, LLC. Title image courtesy of Jesse Adrian Scanlon Media.

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