The Top 7 Places to Eat If You’re New to Gainesville

Despite others’ opinions, Gainesville and its surrounding areas offer a variety of dining experiences. Freshmen can feel overwhelmed as they drive down Archer Road and witness the rows of restaurants and shopping plazas. Her Campus UFL talked to some UF students who offered their opinions about the top places to eat if you’re new to the 352. 

Viva la pizza

Mod Pizza, located in Midtown, prides itself on being “the original superfast pizza experience – a pioneering fast-casual concept that puts you in the driver’s seat.” Whitney Herd, an applied physiology and kinesiology freshman, walks to the pizzeria once every other week. The restaurant offers build your own style pizzas, which allows for endless combinations. 

“I love Mod because I love pizza,” Herd said.  “You can switch up what you get every time you go. It’s also a great location which makes it a good spot to meet up with friends, and it has a really social atmosphere.” 

Berry good times

Camille McNairy, a health science sophomore, prefers a lighter option and rides her scooter to her favorite restaurants. If she’s not eating meals at the Phi Mu house, McNairy chooses to eat at The Good Berry Acai Bowls. According to the company's Facebook page, the eatery holds the placement of 4.9 stars out of a possible five. 

“My favorite place to eat is Good Berry,” McNairy said. “It’s a small build-your-own acai bowl place. I love going because it’s a super cute spot to unwind on a hot day after classes.” 

From bowls to boxes

Maddie Egan, a business administration freshman, eats at Bento Asian Kitchen + Sushi when she’s in the mood for a twist on Americanized Asian food. More widely known as simply “Bento,” the business remains a popular spot for University of Florida students because of the three accessible locations near the school. Egan usually walks to the Midtown restaurant and orders the Hawaiian poke bowl.

“I love to eat at Bento because they have so many yummy and relatively healthy options – from the sushi to the poke bowls,” Egan said. “Also, if you go when it’s not busy, the food is ready fast.”

Mix it up

Bolay is a chain restaurant based primarily in South and Central Florida. The Gainesville location is located in Butler Plaza. According to their website, Chris Gannon, CEO and co-founder, and his father aimed to innovate the food industry by creating the “oldest, freshest brand in the fast-casual dining market.” Meghan Bronner, a journalism freshman, eats at Bolay every couple of weeks and orders a bowl with barbecue chicken, rice and cauliflower. 

“Bolay is my favorite place to eat in Gainesville because it has healthy food options, but is still really good,” Bronner said. 

Patty cake, patty cake

Mackenzie Kline, a telecommunications junior, opts for a warmer atmosphere and drives to Patticakes. Specializing in the production of coffee and cupcakes, Patticakes’ website promotes their breakfast and lunch. 

“Patticakes in the Village is the cutest coffee shop and has a sweet, family vibe,” Kline said.

In the same light, Mary Grace Paris, an advertising junior, spends time in Haile Plantation exploring both the farmer’s market and local eats. 

“My favorite place to go in Gainesville is Haile Plantation,” Paris said. “There is a farmer’s market in Haile every Saturday, and it’s nice to get away from campus and go there. They also have a Patticakes in Haile which has some of my favorite coffee in Gainesville.”

Like a big pizza pie

Piesanos owns six locations in Florida – three of which are in Gainesville. Located on Archer Road, Millhopper Road and University Avenue, Piesanos Stone Fired Pizza offers pizza and other Italian dishes. Gabriella Calixto, a marketing senior, recommends this restaurant to newcomers of the area. 

“Their garlic knots are absolutely incredible,” Calixto said. “I went there [Piesanos] with my family after freshman Preview, and now it’s a tradition to go every time they are in town. 

The good karma

Abby Quigley, a health science freshman, meets up with her sorority sisters at Karma Cream. The shop sells vegan sweet treats such as baked goods and ice cream, coffee and food. “Karma Cream is my favorite dessert shop because it’s a cute atmosphere, and has great sweets that are actually healthy,” Quigley said. “I go about once a week and usually order the vegan chocolate peanut butter ice cream.”

Gainesville hosts a variety of restaurants that may spark your interest if you’re new to the area. Whether you prefer a sit-down experience or quick service, you’ll be sure to find something to cure those cravings.