Ford’s Garage opens in Butler Plaza

Ford's Garage restaurant opened on Wednesday in Butler Plaza.
Ford's Garage restaurant opened on Wednesday in Butler Plaza. (Photo by Taryn Ashby)
Photo by Taryn Ashby

Imagine transporting back to the 1920s when the average cost for a vehicle was around $500. 

Unfortunately, we don’t have time machines to make that happen, but there is a new restaurant in town themed toward 1920s service stations that might just do the trick.  

On Wednesday, Ford’s Garage opened its 21st national location in Gainesville at Butler Plaza, 3560 SW 32nd Court. 

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Ford’s Garage is a neighborhood burger and beer joint inspired by the heritage of Ford Motor Company and designed like a classic service station. 

The 7,569-square-foot restaurant creates the sense of stepping into a 1920s gas station. It pays homage to Henry Ford—showcasing an array of Ford memorabilia, including vintage vehicles, fixtures, gas pumps, and a 1930 Model A car suspended above the center bar.  

A car hangs over the bar at the new Ford's Garage restaurant.
Photo by Taryn Ashby A car hangs over the bar at the new Ford’s Garage restaurant.

“Our restaurant is themed for all ages, from one to 101,” said Jennifer Paci, director of new openings and training, in an interview. “We have many people come in and say, ‘hey, that is the first car I ever drove,’ and share stories about the past. The kids love the horn and smoke from the car above the bar. We just really love to entertain.”  

The detailing that went into the ’20s service station is nothing short of thorough.  

Behind the bar features a wall of over 14,000 pennies, the silverware is rolled in a blue shop towel held together with a hose clamp, car parts are on display throughout the restaurant’s walls and tables, and the bathrooms showcase the gas station feel, with tire sinks and keg urinals.   

“I mean, we wanted to perfect the details,” Paci said. “This is all about excitement and entertainment.” 

For residents and University of Florida (UF) students and alumni, several names are behind this location’s Burgers of Fame menu, including former Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones (the American Standard), Gatorade inventor Robert Cade (the Estate Burger), and UF Head Football Coach Billy Napier (the Black-and-Bleu).  

Although Ford’s Garage is known for its in-house hand-pattied 8-ounce burgers, it also offers salads, comfort foods, and a variety of mac-n-cheese, sandwiches, and desserts. 

A mural at the newly-opened Ford's Garage restaurant.
Photo by Taryn Ashby A mural at the newly-opened Ford’s Garage restaurant.

The bar features a full cocktail menu, 32 drafts on tabs, and their famous F-150 list, which lists 150 different beer brands, including local brews.  

“We lived in Orlando and had to move away due to COVID-19, so Ford’s Garage was the last restaurant we went to before we left,” George McCulloch said in an interview. “Once we saw one opening here in town, we wanted to make sure to stop by and grab food, especially the onion ring tower and the burgers with the pretzel bun.” 

The restaurant was founded in 2012, and franchising began in 2015. The other 20 locations span across Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas.  

“We are excited to be part of the Gainesville community and the history behind Gainesville,” Paci said. “It has been nothing short of welcoming.” 

Gainesville’s Ford’s Garage will be open for dine-in and to-go from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. 

Two vintage 1920s Ford vehicles at the new Ford's Garage restaurant.
Photo by Taryn Ashby Two vintage 1920s Ford vehicles at the new Ford’s Garage restaurant.
A booth at the recently-opened Ford's Garage restaurant in Gainesville.
Photo by Taryn Ashby A booth at the recently-opened Ford’s Garage restaurant in Gainesville.
A wall at Ford's Garage restaurant filled with memorabilia.
Photo by Taryn Ashby A wall at Ford’s Garage restaurant filled with memorabilia.
Ford's Garage opened on Wednesday at Butler Plaza in Gainesville.
Photo by Taryn Ashby Ford’s Garage opened on Wednesday at Butler Plaza in Gainesville.

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Beau

Too Cool