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Ask The Times: Is Golden Corral still coming to Gainesville?
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Golden Corral is still planning to come to the former site of Folks at Browns Bridge Road and Pearl Nix Parkway. - photo by Scott Rogers

If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get answers. The following question was submitted by readers and answered through the efforts of our news staff.

Is Golden Corral still coming to the former site of Folks Southern Kitchen at the corner of Browns Bridge Road and Pearl Nix Parkway?

Eric Holm, who plans to open the restaurant as his 33rd Golden Corral, said the latest slowdown in the project is due to bids coming in higher than he wants.

Citing the booming construction industry, he said he is extending the bid process to “get the right price.”

“It's taking longer than we envisioned, but it will happen,” Holm said.

Gainesville officials said a land development permit was issued Aug. 22 and final revisions to the building/architectural plan were approved April 19.

“At present we are waiting for the general contractor to come in and permit the construction of the restaurant,” Gainesville building official Joe Davidson wrote in an email.

Holm previously said opening the restaurant was taking longer than expected because it is a prototype that is only the second of its kind. The first opened in Greensboro, N.C., on Dec. 21, and after seeing some of what has worked and not worked there, changes were made to the plans for the Gainesville restaurant.

Holm estimated the new Golden Corral should bring about 100 jobs.

Holm has said the prototype is a “scattered buffet” format with the tables and chairs less crowded to make for a “more comfortable dining experience.”

This process dates to May 2016, when it became known Golden Corral was proposing a restaurant at the Folks site.

The Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board gave its blessing to Golden Corral in June 2016 when the Folks restaurant was still on the property. Folks, which was open for 34 years, closed shortly thereafter.

In late 2016, the former Folks was demolished.

Once built, the Golden Corral will be twice the size of Folks.

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