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Is Golden Corral still coming to Gainesville at the site of the former Folks Southern Kitchen?
Permitting for the buffet restaurant at the corner of Browns Bridge Road and Pearl Nix Parkway is nearing completion, and it could open as early as April.
It will be the 33rd Golden Corral for restaurant owner Eric Holm, who said the Gainesville location will be a prototype, only the second of its kind.
“I didn’t want to build something that was going to be old when I opened it,” Holm said Wednesday.
Once permitting is finished and construction begins, Holm said it should take about 120 days to open the restaurant. Holm said permitting could be done by next month.
Holm estimated the new Golden Corral should bring about 100 jobs.
Holm said the prototype is a “scattered buffet” format with the tables and chairs less crowded to make for a “more comfortable dining experience.”
Rusty Ligon, Gainesville community development director, said the civil plans have been approved, meaning grading and digging are already allowed at the site.
The city reviewed the building plans, made a few minor comments and is waiting to hear back from the architect so it can give its OK on those plans.
The Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board gave its blessing to Golden Corral in June 2016 when a Folks restaurant was still on the property. Folks, which had been open for 34 years, closed shortly thereafter.
Late last year, the former Folks was demolished.
Those eager for a Golden Corral have been left in a waiting game since then.
Once built, the Golden Corral will be twice the size of Folks.
“It’s still moving forward,” Ligon said. “But it is moving forward slowly.”
And to those Golden Corral fans waiting, Holm said, “We love you and we need you.”
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