We're in Gainesville, Fla., for our next installment of our SEC "Home Turf" series.
Here are the other SEC stops we've made so far:
Gainesville was my home for years, and I can tell you that you're always in for a good time when you step into town. I tackled many spots around town, but I'm sure I missed a couple. Let's see what the Florida faithful said about venturing out in Hogtown:
Paul in Brasília, Brazil writes: While you're in the greatest city in the world, check out these places to eat. You can thank me later: Satchel's Pizza -- Hands down the best pizza in the city. Plus, you can eat in an old VW bus! Make sure you read the backs of the menus for Satchel's often hilarious ramblings. They had a kitchen fire recently, but should be open again by June. Mi Apá Latin Cafe -- Amazing Cuban food that tastes just like an abuelita made it. Great price too. I recommend the ropa vieja with moro rice and plantains with a tres leches for dessert. The Swamp -- A Gainesville landmark that you can't miss. The service isn't always great, but it's awesome to have a brew on the patio and people watch, especially on a typically beautiful Gainesville afternoon. The Copper Monkey -- Great burgers and cheap beer. I recommend the Monkey Tail. Pomodoro -- A little bit of a drive from campus (it's up by Santa Fe College), but it's one of the better Italian places in town. Las Margaritas -- Best Mexican place in Gainesville. Great margaritas too! 43rd Street Deli -- Some people will try to sell you on the Flying Biscuit, but don't believe the hype. Best place to go for your Sunday breakfast before you head out of town. Enjoy!
My thoughts: If you go to Satchels, remember to bring cash! Also it's deep dish or bust. Mi Apa is truly a little treasure.
Sam in Boston writes: Eat: Embers steak on Archer and 34th -- The steak is phenomenal and it is a very chill atmosphere. A little on the pricy side but the food is worth it. Drink: Tall Paul's, downtown Gainesville -- Microbrewery with a HUGE selection of beers and a pizza place across the street to which you can order food. Party: Balls, midtown Gainesville -- Everything you could love about a dive bar. The drinks are cheap and the bartenders are true legends. Best bar in Gainesvegas, in my humble opinion.Tailgate: University Avenue -- Just walk up and down Univ. Ave. on game day and you're sure to be greeted to drinks and food galore. Beer pong, funnels, corn hole ... all the glories of your typical southern tailgate. Park on Game Day: Behind Norman Field -- Parking is a HUGE hassle but I used to live behind Norman and there are some very convenient spots back there and it's not too far of a walk to The Swamp. Plus, tailgating at Norman is pretty legit, too. If you know the right way to go about it, Gainesville is AMAZING. You'd have to try very hard to not have fun. Hope this helps. I said it's great .. to be .. a Florida Gator!!
Mark in Bartow, Fla., writes: Gainesville food Pizza -- Satchels (apparently hippies make great pizza) Burgers -- Copper Monkey (Monkey's Uncle is my personal favorite) BBQ -- Ribs -- Terrell's on Waldo Rd. (trailor BBQ at its best) BBQ -- Brisket/Pork/Turkey -- Kay Brothers (new-ish but really good and really close to stadium, varied regional sauces) BBQ -- Pork Chops -- Newberry' Backyard BBQ (best I've ever had.) Steak -- Mark's U.S. Prime (Herbstriet will vouch for them.) Upscale Southern -- Blue Gills (new, just plain good)
Brian in Gainesville writes: It's a scenic drive past Paynes Prairie to get some great BBQ at a gas station. Pearl Country Store & BBQ is an experience. Hole in the wall (literally). Italian Gator on University is the best pizza in town. Downtown farmer's market on Wednesday is a great atmosphere with local foods and goods.
My thoughts: I've seen some Discovery Channel-type excitement at Paynes Prairie. Awesome for gator watching, so BBQ in hand would make the experience even better.
Corey in Marietta, Ga., writes: Gainesville people should visit Sonny's, preferably the original remaining Sonny's on Waldo Rd. Okay, maybe I just like that one because I remember walking there (and to Palm Lanes) as a 10-year-old. Also, a short drive gives the unique experience of the Florida springs, namely Poe, Blue and Ginnie Springs near High Springs, or Manatee Springs in Chiefland. A little further and you have the amazing Itchetucknee for the ultimate pristine spring run. Don't forget a mask to really enjoy the fish and turtles.
My thoughts: Springs are great for a lazy day or a party day in certain areas.
Matt D. in Gainesville writes: Places to go and eat in Gainesville: For dinner, I highly suggest Blue Gills (located near Shands Hospital off of 13th street) as it is true authentic Florida food (once you go, you'll know what I mean: Mac & cheese with country ham, corn.
Benny in Gainesville writes: I am a student at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Fla. I am a member of many of the musical ensembles at the school, and let me tell you, the Santa Fe College Big Band is one of Gainesville's best kept secrets. If you're in town and have the chance to catch one of the ensembles performances, it is always an amazing show. With some of the most talented young musician's in town led by one the most outstanding band directors in Gainesville, Dr. Steve Bingham, you will surely be entertained. Santa Fe Jazz is a great way to kick back while visiting our "Home Turf."
Cory in Burbank, Calif., writes: For those over 21, I recommend making a visit to the Swamphead Brewery and Tasting Room. This is a locally owned craft beer brewery which has won numerous awards. The tasting room is open to try the great selections of craft beer offered. The owner, Luke, is a great guy and always welcomes newcomers.
Rob in Ridgeland, Miss., writes: Regarding Gainesville, I'm not a Florida fan, I'm a Mississippi State fan, but I wish I could have some deep dish from Satchel's Pizza right this second, and that's been true every second of every day since Oct. 16, 2010.
My thoughts: Told ya!
Baristagator in Wellington, Fla., writes: As an alum (c/o '91), my trips back to Gainesville are comprised mostly of football weekends, so the changes to Hogtown (yes, the nickname of G'ville, Ark fans) have been so vast, I'll leave that up to the youngin's on here, but one thing remains ... Burrito Bros. Simply put, a "college" tradition. The double-wrapped Primo Beef Burrito w/peppers & onions along with a side of their guac and chips, and you are set! Just down University Ave. from The Swamp. Do not pass up the chance!!!
Brent in Gainesville writes: Gainesville: If you're stopping in to see the Swamp you have to check out Leonardo's Pizza on university -- right off campus and it's a great place to get a slice of the best pizza you'll have in the South. If you get in the night before the game check out the bat house -- largest preserve of bats in North America; every night at sunset these little dudes take to the skies. Pretty cool sight (and also the reason that you can put away the insect repellent in Gainesville, these jokers take care of the bugs). Lake Alice is a nice stop before the game if it's the first time you're seeing the campus. Don't feed the gators ...