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Grab a drink and walk across the pedestrian bridge? That could be reality if Gainesville expands dining district
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Restaurant space is almost ready for occupation Thursday, April 14, 2022, next to the pedestrian bridge at Solis Gainesville. - photo by Scott Rogers

Gainesville residents could soon walk across the pedestrian bridge with a beer in hand. 

Gainesville City Council will vote Tuesday, April 19, on whether to expand the city’s downtown dining district, which is bounded by Academy Street, West Academy Street, Jesse Jewell Parkway and E.E. Butler Parkway. 

The new boundaries would expand to include future restaurants at Solis Gainesville, across the pedestrian bridge over Jesse Jewell Parkway, as well as 2 Dog across E.E. Butler Parkway, a planned restaurant called Standard Service Gastropub and Poultry Park next door, which is undergoing construction to add more public parking spaces. 

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A proposed expansion of Gainesville's downtown dining district is shown here, which would include restaurants planned just outside the current district.

In Gainesville’s downtown dining district, established in 2017, people can carry out up to two unsealed alcoholic beverages of 16 ounces each in plastic cups from noon until midnight from a restaurant or growler shop. The rule applies to any alcoholic beverage, as long as you stay within the dining district.

“We have had some requests for additions to the boundary for some locations that are coming online,” Assistant City Manager Angela Sheppard said at the city council’s work session Thursday, April 14. 

Tim Roberts, co-owner of 2 Dog, said he appreciated the city giving customers another option. Increasing the district could help bring in more business to their restaurant and elsewhere.  

“I think it helps everybody, especially with the new hotel going in where it is,” Roberts said, referencing The National, a $71.5 million project being built across the street from 2 Dog. “If it makes it easier for some other restaurant to come get in or want to be in — makes it a little more desirable — fantastic.” 

The National, planned to open next year, will contain a 130-room Courtyard Marriott hotel and 143 apartments. Potentially, residents and hotel guests there could walk across the street and bring a drink back to The National.

Solis management has still not released any details about what restaurants will fill their commercial space, which is almost complete. Solis held a ribbon cutting for its 223 apartment development in February, and the pedestrian bridge connecting Solis with Roosevelt Square opened less than a month ago