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This is the sixth restaurant in 20 years to shut down at the same Brown's Bridge Road address
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The Denny's at 1701 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville has closed, the sixth restaurant to do so on the site since 1997. - photo by Jeff Gill

What’s up with 1701 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville?

Six restaurants have come and gone from the location since 1997 — the latest being Denny’s, which closed three weeks ago.

Rio Bravo was the first eatery on the site, replacing what had been a mobile home sales lot. The property was annexed into Gainesville in 1996 as a restaurant location, said Matt Tate, Gainesville’s planning manager.

Following Rio Bravo was Up the Creek in 2001, Smokey Bones in 2003, Sweet Fire Lodge in 2008 and Shooter’s Tavern in 2010.

Asked why he thought the restaurant site had so much turnover, Tate said, “It makes no sense considering the neighboring restaurants … have done well.”

Along the same stretch are Applebee’s, Red Lobster, LongHorn and O’Charleys.

The restaurant site is across from Gainesville Towne Center shopping center, which has several restaurants, including Golden Corral and Panda Express, which are under construction.

Also nearby are longstanding Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

“I am only speculating, but it seems there have been management issues throughout the years,” Tate said. “I believe a nationally known restaurant that is managed well could do well there.”

RWDT Foods, founded by two former NFL players, owned the Denny’s restaurant in Gainesville. Officials there couldn’t be reached for comment.

When the Denny’s opened in November 2013, co-owner Donnell Thompson said he hoped to defy the property’s history.

“It’s not necessarily the building you’re in. It’s the brand that you represent,” he said. “People come to (Denny’s). (The chain) is 60 years old. We’re one of the oldest brands out there; we’re the brand that you can’t kill.”


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