As a college student with a full schedule and a not-so-full wallet, my hunt for quick, affordable, and delicious food spots never ceases. After a long-awaited opening in September of this year, Newk’s Eatery, located in Butler Plaza, provides quality, fresh food at an affordable price for UF students and the Gainesville community.
From the outside, it may just seem like the next newest chain restaurant opening up in town, but Newk’s Eatery is anything but. Upon walking into the restaurant, I was greeted by the restaurant owner himself, Brian Tucker. He greeted me with a warm smile and immediately made me feel welcome in the friendly environment of Newk’s.
“We try to create this home feeling. We want to know you by name and know what you eat”
That “home feeling” did not go unnoticed, as I immediately felt comfortable with both the people and the place. It was evident that both customers and employees enjoyed their time at Newk’s. There was more to the restaurant than an extension of a popular chain- Newk’s Eatery here in Gainesville felt like it’s very own.
With around 120 locations in the U.S., Tucker’s decision to open a Newk’s in Gainesville was not a matter of chance. He says they aren’t simply aiming to open another Newk’s in Gainesville, but to open Gainesville’s personal Newk’s. Tucker’s primary focus is on becoming a part of the Gainesville community, hoping to serve people from all backgrounds and age groups.
“We create an environment where everybody in the family or group can get what they want, the way they want it, and they know they’re eating the best quality possible.”
Providing a diverse menu full of sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and more, Newk’s has a dish fit for everyone who visits. Their fresh ingredients are something they pride themselves on, and it’s clear from their flavorful fresh meals that they deliver on this promise. During my visit, I tried some of the most popular dishes.
Their thin crust pizza packed a crunch with every bite. The savory flavors of mozzarella cheese layered with freshly cooked pepperoni will leave your mouth craving more and more. With one bite following another, you’ll accidentally lose yourself and finish the pizza before you even notice. Not to mention, Newk’s offers cauliflower crust on their pizzas for those who prefer something more carb-friendly or simply want to try out something new!
Newk’s Favorite salad is a polarizing dish blended with their homemade vinaigrette dressing. The sauce catches you off guard in a friendly, familiar way. Its sweetness, its touch of sour and gentle seasoning meshes together to saturate your taste buds with ubiquitous flavor!
The Newk’s Q, packed with all-natural grilled in-house chicken, swiss cheese, white barbecue sauce, and bacon, was a personal favorite. If you’ve never had white barbecue sauce, now’s the time. The sandwich, along with the pizza, salad, and macaroni, formed the perfect comfort meal. To top it all off, I tried some of their famous desserts, and you can never go wrong with having a homemade brownie… or two.
Currently, Newk’s has a slightly modified menu and dining area due to COVID guidelines, but, according to Tucker, they’ve been taking precautions since their opening day to make customers feel safe and comfortable.
Along with many deep-cleaning procedures and the temporary removal of their famous condiment table, Newk’s customers can dine in or take out with ease knowing that safety is a top concern for Newk’s. With an open kitchen visible from the dining area, there’s no doubt that your order is being prepared with care and caution.
Customers can now also order Newk’s quickly and easily online through Byppo. Using an online ordering system allows your food to arrive quicker and safer than ever before. Launching just this week, Newk’s partnership with Byppo will give customers the chance to try this new spot in town and have their meal ready at the click of a button.
Next time you’re craving some tasty comfort food, make a quick stop at Gainesville’s new Newk’s Eatery for a fresh take on dishes we all know and love.