When choosing a rental community, the area that you'll be living in can be as important as the prospective apartment itself. Any district is like plain bread without the authentic establishments that provide the flavor to the area.
Residents of Gainesville, Florida are lucky enough to find cuisine gems on every corner. Stretching from Archer Road to midtown, and downtown to Micanopy, the Gator Nation has countless restaurants. No matter which rental community you reside in, good food is never more than a stone's throw away. The issue is that wining and dining can be pricey. Fortunately, with such a large college population, there are a ton of restaurants in the Gainesville area that provide a big bang for your buck. You may be living in a cheap apartment but are you really saving money if you're spending a fortune on food? Get a comprehensive look at what you'll be spending while at UF with our cost of living guide that covers everything from food to entertainment. Holding true to the university student mantra, balling on a budget, we are happy to share some of the best Gainesville food deals that the Swamp has to offer. Regardless of your taste buds or budget, these meals are sure to satisfy and fill you up without draining your bank account
Asian Food Deals for $15 - or less
Everyone knows that Dragonfly, located in downtown Gainesville, is the premier mecca for sushi around UF. The food is out of this world! However, at roughly $10-$15 per sushi roll, this is the kind of establishment that you take your girlfriend to on an anniversary dinner… not whenever you're craving some spicy tuna. When your budget is tight and you're in need of an Asian-fix, check out these local Gainesville food deals.
For all the sushi lovers out there who can easily devour five California rolls and still crave more, Sushi-2-Go is the place for you. Their signature daily deal features 3 rolls for $14.95 or 2 rolls for $11.21. That's an unbelievable serving of 24 pieces of sushi for under $15.
What Sushi-2-Go lacks for in quality, it makes up for in value ten-fold. With 2 Gainesville locations on both University Avenue just across the street from Matherly Hall (in the Target Copy building) and Tower Road, just past The Oaks Mall on Newberry Road, residents of almost every apartment community have their own respective store. Try it out for yourself, and see what you're missing.
This restaurant may seem small and quaint, but Crane Ramen has generated huge buzz for its mighty flavors and signature special.
As Gainesville's first craft ramen restaurant, this downtown eatery is well-known for ten dollar Tuesdays. This weekly event that serves delicious ramen bowls at a discounted rate of $10 is one of the most esteemed Gainesville food deals in the area. With each dish made from scratch using fresh ingredients from local farms and produce markets, Crane Ramen is beyond worth every penny.
TexMex Food Deals for under $10
Even gators can't resist the charm of Tijuana Flats – a popular chain founded by a University of Central Florida graduate. Whether you're drawn in by the trippy mural designs, the fully stacked hot sauce bar, or the fast service, you'll certainly stay for the Taco Tuesday specials
On Tijuana Tuesdays, you can purchase their signature "dos tacos" served with chips and a drink for only $7.99. Just like Sushi-2-Go, Tijuana Flats has two restaurants in Gainesville located in Midtown and on Archer Road, giving apartment residents easy access to cheap Mexican cuisine anytime the craving strikes.
Moe's Southwest Grill
Moe's offers a variety of different build-your-own options that are sure to please all hungry Gators. Pop on over for Moe's Monday every week to enjoy several deals starting at just $5.99 for a burrito served with chips and salsa. Buffet-style dining gives you the ability to customize your bowl, burrito, and more according to your every flavorful desire.
With three locations in Gainesville aside from the temporarily closed on-campus location, Moe's is likely a short drive from your newest apartment complex. Check out Moe's on SW Archer, West Newberry, and even Newberry Crossings.
Italian food deals that will make you say, "mamma mia"
Blaze Pizza is yet another centrally located and affordable Gainesville dining option. Serving mouthwatering meals in the style of pizzas, salads, and sides, this restaurant is both affordable and addicting. Blaze offers a unique customizable pizza experience at extremely low prices, where you can choose whatever you want on your pizza.
For just $9.45, you can build your own pizza with unlimited toppings. Blaze cycles through a variety of seasonal vegetable toppings that are sure to keep you on your toes, and there's nothing that completes a long school day like a delicious pizza that is built for and all for you. For a moment, you may even forget you're in Gainesville and find yourself teleported to the wondrous streets of Italy.
Sporting a youthful and vibrant aesthetic, Satchel's Pizza opened in the Gainesville area in 2003 and has been a beloved local favorite ever since. Enjoy the quaintness of a local restaurant paired with delicious and customizable food options, and you'll find yourself enamored with the cozy and unique presence that Satchel's offers.
Satchel's offers several menu options unique to only them - including homemade sodas such as the infamous "Stevie Z" with free refills for only $3. Satchel's also offers toppings that will fit any customer's desires - including vegan cheese, zucchini, and pretty much anything you can imagine. A food special that should be on all Gainesville foodies' radar is Satchel's everyday lunch special - offered between 11am-4pm everyday. Enjoy a delicious salad and one topping pizza slice for only $8!
Bar and Grill Deals
Gainesville may still be mourning the loss of the Copper Monkey in midtown, a classic dive bar that served some of the best burgers in the community for only $3 on Mondays. However, as we allow our long-esteemed metallic primate to rest in peace, we are in no short supply of similar specials in the area.
Cry Baby's, located right near Dragonfly Sushi on Main Ave, is a popular relaxed and modern bar near campus that serves a variety of daily specials on food and beverages.
While you can get any delicious sandwich on the menu for only $9 after 9pm on Monday's, you can also head on over for for a date night with your friends or significant other on Wednesday night to enjoy Cry Baby's notorious "Chicken Bucket night" - complete with a chicken bucket for two and a bottle of wine for only $25.
Whether you're looking for a classy spot to watch the Met Gala or looking for some cheap munchies to accompany a good old brew, Cry Baby's is the place to be. Cry Baby's offers a chic yet casual environment perfect for spending quality time with others, or for good old-fashioned treating yourself. Offering a variety of drinks and traditional and vegan food options, Cry Baby's has something for everyone.
Known for serving some of the best darn burgers in all of Gainesville, Loosey's is the place to go when you're craving those American classics. Located near downtown Gainesville, Loosey's offers top-notch recipes for cheap.
On Burger Wednesdays, chow down on a beef burger, veggie burger, or cucumber salad and fries for only $7 (dine-in only) – a real steal when you consider the quality of these satisfying and juicy patties.
No matter which location you decide to visit, expect to have some amazing times at Loosey's. With daily events that feature live music, the laidback atmosphere promotes an entertaining culture. Featuring a plethora of funky tunes and awesome interactions, Loosey's takes the average wining and dining experience way up a notch.
Bountiful Brunch Deals
Brunch is the quintessential Sunday morning activity, and arguably the best meal of the day. In Gainesville, there are so many places to get amazing brunch meals, but these two Gainesville food deals arguably pack the biggest punch when it comes to brunch.
Bagels and Noodles
One of Gainesville's most underrated food joints, Bagels and Noodles is certainly unique. The shop on West University Avenue is a brunch spot by day and a Vietnamese restaurant by afternoon/night. Yes, you heard us right – talk about versatility!
While the two food genres at Bagels and Noodles are equally enticing, the brunches are simply charming. Everything from omelets to traditional breakfast platters are delicious and entirely affordable, with most coming in between $10-15. Pair your meal with some of their delicious coffee, and prepare to have your world changed.
Flying Biscuit Cafe
At Flying Biscuit Cafe, you can enjoy almost any breakfast or brunch option that your heart desires - with a variety of vegan and traditional options being offered all morning and afternoon. Enjoy homey meals and a southern environment complete with in-house traditions such as decorating contests and more.
You can enjoy a delicious breakfast or brunch meal at the cafe for typically between $5-15 depending on how extravagant your morning self feels. Treat yourself with notorious "fantastic favorites" such as the Florida Sunshine Waffle Breakfast, or student favorites like the vegan tofu scramble.
Local Gainesville Favorites
Gainesville is well known for its out of the box, one-of-a-kind food culture. Besides the wide assortment of funky restaurants around UF, residents are privy to all kinds of feast-like gatherings that hold their foundations in the gator nation. These events unite those who live in the area, allowing people to connect to others while they consume flavors completely authentic to the Gainesville community.
Krishna Lunch is arguably one of the coolest and quirkiest traditions on the UF campus. Since 1971, people have enjoyed the famous Hare Krishna vegetarian lunches at the Plaza of the Americas. Following a weekly menu on Monday through Friday in the afternoons, the Gainesville Krishna community serves unbelievable vegetarian food for only $5.
Lunch options include different daily combinations of starchy rice or noodles, the most popular being the Krishna mac and cheese, along with vegetarian or vegan main dishes, including innovative delicacies such as meatless chili. On the side, you receive a salad with magical creamy almond dressing as well as a traditional desert called Halva that changes flavors daily.
Krishna Lunch typically offers unlimited servings (you can come back for as much as you want!), but due to the pandemic at the moment your best option to maximize the deliciousness is to fill a plate as well as your own to-go container to save extras for later. You'll certainly want to keep returning for more because Krishna lunch is so delicious and one of a kind.
Every Gainesville local has frequented The Top more times than they can count. Located in an ideal location downtown and surrounded by plenty of entertainment and further dining options, The Top offers the perfect atmosphere for students and locals alike.
Enjoy a plethora of food options - including rare and unique delicacies such as pecan tofu and black bean cakes, or typical favorites like burgers and fries at great deals for the charming sit-down dining experience you'll enjoy. Arrive early and with friends, as The Top is almost always bustling with hungry Gators!
You get the 'deal?'
Of course, there are always discount applications like ‘Tastebud' and ‘Hooked' that grant you daily discounts on restaurants in any zipcode. However, there is something to be said for non-chain restaurants and food traditions that are completely unique to where you live. Often, these kinds of small details can be the fine line that distinguishes a town from a true community.
While this isn't a comprehensive list of Gainesville food deals, we would require a legitimate encyclopedia to entirely cover the area's amazing dining options. Even so, one thing is for certain - home is where the heart is, but the heart is where the good food and great deals are. Gainesville is a unique town with so many authentically original restaurants, and apartment residents are extremely lucky to have them so close by.