Editor's Note: This article is part of a new online series launched in July 2023 by the City of Gainesville intended to highlight and promote must-try businesses in the area of the historic square in downtown Gainesville, Georgia. As the community continues to flourish and welcome new restaurants, retailers and service providers – especially within the downtown corridor – leadership wishes to introduce available offerings to residents and visitors alike ahead of their next trip to the City of Gainesville. Must-Try Monday features will be released weekly via gainesville.org and the @GainesvilleGeorgiaGovernment (City of Gainesville, Georgia) Facebook page. Be sure to "Like" and follow us on social media so you don't miss the latest and greatest about the Hospitality Capital of the World!
Collegiate Grill | 220 Main St. SW | 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)
GAINESVILLE, Ga. (Oct. 30, 2023) – In business for 75 years and counting, Collegiate Grill is widely known as one of the first restaurants to operate on the historic square in downtown Gainesville.
And although their menu may be simple, don't let that fool you – the establishment is well-loved for their fresh homemade burgers, hand-cut fries and hand-spun milkshakes. Other mouthwatering menu items include hotdogs, which you can top with their house slaw or chili; BLT and grilled cheese sandwiches; and much more.
We'll be the first to admit whatever you order tastes better when you eat it at the restaurant, reminiscent of a 1940s-style diner. Just walk across the checkered tile floor, scooch into one of the glittery vinyl-upholstered booths and let the neon lights and old-school memorabilia transport you back in time.
Paresh and Dharma Patel, owners of neighboring business Sweet Magnolias Café & Bakery, purchased Collegiate Grill in spring 2023 from Jeff and Donna Worley. The Patels are the fourth couple to own and operate Collegiate Grill, for which they held a grand reopening May 1.
Learn the ins and outs of Collegiate Grill, what makes it a Must-Try Monday-worthy business and why you should make it a destination the next time you're near downtown Gainesville by reviewing the exclusive Q+A with Paresh Patel below.
Q: When did your business open and where? If your business has operated at other locations, please list those.
A: We opened May 1, 2023, [after assuming ownership] at this same location.
Q: How long have you been operating on the historic square in downtown Gainesville?
A: We have been operating [in the] restaurant business on the square for 12 years.
Q: What drew you to operate your business in downtown Gainesville?
A: Nice location on the square and a feel of community.
Q: What kinds of products and/or services does your business offer to the public?
A: We offer homemade burgers, homemade fries and shakes.
Q: Can you give some examples of unique products and/or services you offer that aren’t easily replicated elsewhere in town?
A: [We have the] best hand-spun milkshakes. Our milkshakes are dipped fresh every morning and hand spun upon ordering.
Q: What offerings are you most proud of and why? Give us the scoop!
A: [We're] proud of the freshness of our food [and] quality, and customer satisfaction is our top priority. [The] patties are freshly cooked per order. Our hand-cut fries are cut and blanched every morning and fried fresh as well per order.
Q: Do you target a specific audience? If so, can you please specify?
A: We do target everyone, especially from the new developments nearby.
Q: If you aim to target everyone, can you please explain how and through what products and/or services?
A: We do social media and word of mouth.
Q: What is your favorite “must try” item you offer and why? Feel free to name more than one!
A: Our bestsellers include [the] bacon cheeseburger, BLT sandwich, slaw-dog made [with] our homemade slaw and, of course, our homemade fries.
Q: In your own words, what makes your business a positive addition to the downtown cityscape?
A: The establishment has been in business for 75 years ... one of the first restaurants on the square, [meaning] lots of memories for the community.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: We appreciate the community for supporting all the local businesses and especially the City [of Gainesville] for organizing different events throughout the year bringing in people from all over the neighboring counties.
PHOTO CUTLINE | Collegiate Grill is located at 220 Main St. SW just off the historic square in downtown Gainesville. Find additional photos shared via the @GainesvilleGeorgiaGovernment Facebook page.