Friday July 19th, 2024 10:37AM

DECOY to open on the Gainesville Square this summer

By Lawson Smith Anchor/Reporter

A new entertainment and dining experience is making its way to Downtown Gainesville in the Historic Walton Jackson Building. 

Rand Carswell, owner of the forthcoming “eatertainment” restaurant DECOY shared with AccessWDUN the upscale, family– friendly venue will have something for everyone from drinks and food to games like duckpin bowling, mini-golf and a golf simulator. 

 Carswell distinguished duckpin bowling from regular bowling as using smaller balls and pins and having a shorter distance. 

“So your normal bowling lane is about 73 feet, and ours is about 43 feet,” Carswell explained.  “This is more conducive to being able to have drinks in your hand  and snacks and not have to have the big heavy ball and have your fingers inside of there and doing everything… It's something that we've seen throughout these ‘eatertainment’ concepts throughout the country. And it's become very, very popular, very social, good for families, good for date nights, friends, sporting events, being able to come and watch the game, but also be able to have something to do.” 

However, while patrons will be able to enjoy items from the restaurant’s menu while playing games, Carswell notes that fans of a more traditional dining experience will be able to order off the menu in a separate dining room. 

“We want to be first and foremost a restaurant and bar,”  he said. “So we want people to be able to come in, even if they don't want to play games, but they can come in and eat and have a nice cocktail.”  

Additionally, DECOY will feature a space where larger groups, especially corporate companies, can rent to be seated in a private area.

 “Instead of just having a boring staff meeting or entertaining a client, now you have a place where you can come and be separated in something that looks very fancy and very nice, but you also can attach a bowling lane to it or a golf simulator or putt putt,” Carswell said.  “So it allows for that little bit of elevated experience, which makes presenting something to your client even better.”

DECOY will also offer what Carswell described as a “New American Menu” which will put an elevated spin on several of his favorite dishes. 

“There'll kind of be a background story to every single item that we have,” he explained.”  “There'll be steak, there's obviously going to be a duck dish over here. There's going to be pasta and a little bit of Southeast Asian influence, because my heart  is in Southeast Asia.”

The restaurant will also provide a space with a more casual feel through an alley bar just outside the building made out of shipping containers. 

“This is going to be our more casual kind of sports bar feel,” Carswell noted. “Everything is outdoors. There will be a kind of a deck that overhangs a big stage built out of shipping containers, the bar is built out of shipping containers. So it's super cool, all the doors open up,so it's accessible on three sides. We'll just have jumbotron TVs out here, live music, sports games, so that kind of creates a casual environment for you to come out, have a drink, watch a game.” 

While the alley bar will not be available immediately when DECOY opens, the venue has partnered with nearby restaurants to allow those at the shipping container bar to order food from several businesses while enjoying the atmosphere Carswell said. 

Carswell noted DECOY will have a modern look, but will pay respects to its building’s history through several pieces using its repurposed wood. 

The upcoming space will also have unisex bathrooms, where patrons can go into a lockable, seperate rooms, where shared sinks will be outside of the stalls. 

DECOY is set to open in June 2024. 

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: Gainesville , Business, Gainesville Square, Food, DECOY, Restaurants
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