We pack our posts with enough Gainesville references to make it obvious that we miss the University City. Not only did we spend four years there, but our jobs meant a lot of driving through East Gainesville, Hawthorne, Newberry, and Gilchrist County. When you're driving around, you're usually not able to get home to eat. Or if you do, you don't have the energy and you'd rather take the girl or go with friends some where. After a while you start to realize where you should go. By your last year, you're a snob and a connoisseur. And it feels good.
Today, we see what conferences are like Gainesville restaurants. These are all places we have eaten and we're not getting any kick backs. (We wish. Although if someone from Pio's or Mark's is reading, drop us a line.) Besides, it's a lot more fun doing this than relying on some computers to see which conference is better.
Conferences listed alphabetically. First BCS conferences then the mid-majors. And don't take any of this personally.
ACC; Swamp Restaurant: It's a mix of snobs with Ralph Lauren shirts (UNC, UVA) and kids with John Deere hats (Clemson, Va Tech). You either love it or hate it and you're stunned at how popular the place has gotten. They also serve Sam Adams (BC) and Blue Moon (Duke).
Big East; Pio's Pasta Company: You've heard good things (West Virginia). But when ever you drive by, the place looks like a hole in the wall (Syracuse). You finally decide to go and try something called gnocchi. It looks funny, but it tastes fantastic (USF). The first time I ate there, Jeremy Foley and a group of 12 was at the table next to us. That's all I needed to know.
Big Ten; TGI Friday's: The one on Archer Road was completely redone and it looks great (Illinois), and they even have a great national presence (Big Ten Network). But the only thing on the menu that has flavor is inspired by the South (Jack Daniel's Grill, Ron Zook). Everything else is fried and cheesy food (Michigan, Wisconsin).
Big 12; Stonewood: It tries to be the best steak place in town, but it will never happen. So, it's perfectly content being a nice place to get a drink and hang out with some cool people (Texas, Oklahoma). But be careful, some people can get a little overexcited to be there (Okie State, Kansas).
Pac 10; Dragonfly: The trendy place in Gainesville, Dragonfly is the place to go if you drive Daddy's Lexus. A lot of people like it and a lot hate it (USC). Just like the west coast games, Dragonfly usually has a three hour wait. An actual exchange...
Me: Hi. noticing several empty tables Can we get a table?
Hostess: Of course, your name?
Hostess: Writing name down Ok, it will be about a three hour wait. Would you like to sit at the bar?
Me: Three hours!?! Never mind.
SEC; Mark's: The best steakhouse and the best conference. Yes, the prices are high and that will hurt (like the nation's toughest conference schedule and title game). But it is so worth it (steaks you can cut with a spoon, showing up the ACC and Big 10). Plus, there's a nice after dinner drink (Lillian's, Sugar Bowl).
Conference USA and the MAC; Five Star and Cici's Pizza: Stay away from these unless you are drunk, a freshman, or have nothing better to do on a Tuesday or Wednesday night.
Mountain West; Pontiac Tavern: No one knows where the hell it is (mainly Colorado, Utah, Nevada; by the Hippodrome). If you have a bad experience (Cincy-San Diego State), it'll still be nice enough to give it a second chance (UCLA-Utah).
Sun Belt; Conestoga's Steakhouse: "Stogie burgers! Only at Conestoga's Steakhouse in Beautiful Alachua!" Like the Sun Belt, there's talent there (Troy), but it's in the middle of no where.
WAC; China Star: It may look good (Colt Brennan: Heisman Contender), but it will leave you empty (Hawaii taking a BCS bid).