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COVID-19 has hit small businesses hard, especially those in Gainesville. Local restaurants must compete with big chain restaurants that surround them. In the last few years, small restaurants have been fighting to stay afloat. The unique thing about Gainesville is the variety in culture greatly influences its food. With this in mind, here are some of the best local restaurants to support near your Gainesville apartment.
If you're a foodie like myself, you'll be glad to know of The Top. It is the most Gainesville themed restaurant in all of Alachua County. This local favorite was featured in Bon Appetit in 2018 (linked here) because of its food and charm. It is located on Main St., near downtown Gainesville. Every weekday features a menu special that is sure to keep you coming back. It specializes in typical bar comfort food such as burgers while offering vegan and vegetarian options. Perhaps you might run into Joaquin Phoenix drinking at the bar, as did the author of the Bon Appetit article. The Top's website is linked here for more information on the menu, specials, and hours of operation.
Daybreak Pleasant Street
Located a few minutes away from the Innovation District, Daybreak Pleasant Street is hidden in a small strip of stores. This quaint restaurant serves some of the best breakfast and brunch food in town. From their handmade bread to their homemade sweet tea, it is the perfect spot to enjoy the first meal of the day. Daybreak Pleasant Street prides itself on its customer service, and with only 24 seats, it feels warm and personal. The restaurant opens Monday to Saturday from 7 am to 2 pm. Due to COVID-19, the restaurant is temporarily closed, but make sure to keep up with updates on its website linked here.
Located in Newberry Road, Cilantro Tacos is the perfect place to find yourself easting a Taco al Pastor. The family-owned business offers homemade horchata, flan, and best of all, authentic Mexican tacos. Cilantro Tacos is entirely operational in the time of COVID-19 and have plenty of delivery partners to make sure those tacos arrive at the doorstep of your Gainesville apartment. They have plenty of options in terms of their tacos, quesadillas, and even nachos. Cilantro's Tacos website is linked here for more information on their menu and hours of operation.
Gainesville eccentric energy can only be experienced through its food. Gainesville is loaded with small mom and pop shops that offer that small-town feel from the moment you enter the restaurant or take your first bite of delicious food. While these are just a few local options, there are plenty more on Ken Eats Gainesville's blog linked here. Don't be afraid to stop by these restaurants, whether that be for take-out, delivery, or a post-COVID-19 sit-down. You are sure to fall in love with Gainesville a bit more - after all, the way to someone's heart is through their stomach.