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High-end Italian cuisine coming to the Gainesville square
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Construction crews continue to work Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, on the nearly completed exterior of the Gainesville Renaissance. The $22.4 million mixed-use development is expected to be completed in June. - photo by Scott Rogers

Downtown Gainesville is due for high-end Italian fare as the newest Gainesville Renaissance tenant prepares to move in this fall.

A project of Fork U Concepts owned by Scott and Alexis Kinsey, the couple slated to bring Taqueria Tsunami to the area this summer, the Italian restaurant and pizzeria is a joint venture between the Kinseys and restaurateur Raffaele Crispino. 

Crispino, according to a press release, is a native of Naples, Italy, whose culinary resume includes family restaurants in Capri, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Darden Restaurants and Crispina Neapolitan, which he opened in Vinings, Ga. in 2015 “with the mission to share (his) Italian heritage and delight guests with exceptional cuisine.”

The forthcoming restaurant is not yet named, according to Gainesville Renaissance developer Fred Roddy, though there are a few titles being considered. Slated to open this fall, the eatery and Taqueria Tsunami will act as the “retail anchors” of the development. The space between them, Roddy said, will be filled with “high-quality tenants.”

“We want special tenants for Gainesville Renaissance and this Italian restaurant fits that profile perfectly,” Roddy stated. “We believe that this restaurant is a significant addition to the square and one that will benefit the people who own businesses and shop at businesses around the Gainesville square.”

Boasting a large patio and Manna Forni pizza oven — a style of artisanal ovens made in Naples — the menu will feature “globally inspired Italian dishes with old country recipes” using authentic southern Italian ingredients. 

“We are delighted to be joining the Gainesville community,” Crispino said in a statement. “Gainesville Renaissance reminds us of a special European building with an old-world charm but with all the comforts of 21st century construction.”

Situated on the building’s west end overlooking its new Renaissance Park, the eatery is designed to host an elegant dining experience offering regional residents “something to remember.”

An additional announcement on the restaurant’s progress is forthcoming, Roddy said.