Food: The Third Place
There's something astoundingly creepy about Haile Plantation here in Gainesville. On the surface, it's merely a planned development mostly catering to the very wealthy. And I'm not talking "wealthy" like Obama or Hillary define "wealthy" (that is, seemingly anyone making a professional's salary), but millionaires like head football coach Urban Meyer and head basketball coach Billy Donovan.
The reason it's so creepy, though, is because of the faux Americana "village" nestled inside the development. This is supposed to be a recreation of a small-town main street shopping district, which it certainly looks like on the surface, until you consider that there's no people walking around. None. Walking through there at night, you get the feeling that you're either on a studio backlot or inside a zombie nightmare. And in the "village," there's a restaurant called "The Third Place."
The name of the restaurant comes from a book by Ray Oldenburg, so already you know it's high-falutin'. The actual atmosphere is mostly like any fancy-but-casual restaurant, except for the aforementioned ghost town of a neighborhood. Ironically, this is a pretty big draw for the restaurant - it's a view into suburban desolation that you don't get to see very often.
Foodwise, it's about what'd you'd expect - a bit overpriced, with some interesting menu options and some standard fare. But I thought it made for an interesting meal.
Rating: 2/4 stars