Formerly known as Loosey’s in Haile Plantation, the establishment that is now called That Bar And Table (commonly referred to as TBT) is still located on 91st Street, in Haile Market Square. Last week, the Byppo team interviewed the new owners of the restaurant, Jay Hula and Pat Smith, to learn more about this change in ownership.
Jay and Pat became friends after having been introduced to each other by their wives. The pair were a part of an amateur softball team Jay and Pat had been regulars of the restaurant, as well as personal friends with the owners. Both of them have many years of experience in the bar and restaurant industry, as well as connections with many other restaurant and business owners in Gainesville.
The previous owners of Loosey’s in Haile had their hands full with other businesses and restaurants, including the other Loosey's location in downtown Gainesville, so they wanted to to focus their efforts on other ventures. Given their experience in the industry, connections in the Gainesville community, and their admiration for the Loosey’s brand, Jay and Pat were immediately intrigued by the opportunity of taking over the business. During the interview, Jay fondly remembered the moment he opened the doors for the first time, recalling the exact date and time as 4:00 PM, on January 1st, 2020.
The timing of the transfer however, was inconvenient to say the least. Only three months later, local businesses would be dealt a heavy blow by the COVID-19 shutdown in March. TBT managed to survive the initial chaotic months of the quarantine with an influx of takeout orders from loyal customers, and has been thriving in the Haile community ever since. Jay and Pat have pointed out that the regulars who used to eat at Loosey’s are still frequenting TBT. They’ve managed a smooth and successful transition, in large part due to the fact that the majority of the previous crew and kitchen staff, as well as the head chef, have remained with the establishment despite the change in ownership.
Along with keeping most of the staff from Loosey’s, Jay and Pat have also made limited adjustments to the previous menu for TBT. They recognized that Loosey’s in Haile had very loyal regulars who came for the celebrated burgers and wings, and ensured that the recipes would remain untouched. The few changes that they have made include adding popular menu items such as two-bite tacos, nachos, and the flat-iron steak. TBT has also overseen the addition of a lunch menu, as well as a weekend special that their head chef designs every week, which has been highly popular with diners.
Having lived in Gainesville for most of my life, I have been to most of the restaurants in town, and many of them here have excellent burgers. I had heard about Loosey’s several years ago and was told that they had some of the best burgers and wings in town. When I visited their location in Haile, the food absolutely lived up to the reputation. Now that I’ve revisited the establishment, the only thing that’s noticeably changed is its name. They’re still serving the same perfectly cooked burgers, prepared with high-quality ingredients. The wings are still sizable and juicy, with sauces that are balanced with just the right amount of heat.
The title change of Loosey’s in Haile to That Bar And Table (TBT) was understandably confusing for those who considered Loosey’s a household name. Although the restaurant is now under new management, this beloved joint is still very much the same great establishment as it was when it was called Loosey’s. The burgers and wings are still some of the best Gainesville has to offer, so be sure to stop by That Bar And Table if you’re on the west side of town, it won’t disappoint!