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Gainesville mainstay Burrito Brothers closing after 40 years

Burrito Brothers Taco Company owners Randy Akerson and Janet Akerson seen in 2000. They opened the original Burrito Brothers in 1976. [Times files]

Burrito Brothers Taco Company owners Randy Akerson and Janet Akerson seen in 2000. They opened the original Burrito Brothers in 1976. [Times files]

For 40 years, locals, students and burrito fiends knew exactly where to find the most popular burrito in Gainesville.

A wooden door beside a brick church building led hungry customers to an alley that opened up to a patio. Sometimes, long sprawling lines gave away the restaurant's inconspicuous location.

Burrito Brothers Taco Co., the iconic Gainesville eatery born out of a literal hole in the wall, will close its doors Saturday, the restaurant announced Monday on Facebook.

In the post, owners blamed revenue loss on noise and limited parking as a result of a nearby construction project. The post said the owners considered suing the developers, but that process would be too long and costly. A GoFundMe page raised more than $8,000 to save the restaurant, short of a $25,000 goal.

Owner Randy Akerson told The Independent Florida Alligator that he estimated revenue dropped about 23 percent in a year's time due to that construction and too many canceled home football games.

"After 40 years, I am just distraught," he said Sunday.

Comments and tweets lamenting the impending loss flooded the restaurant's social media presence Monday. A tweeted photo showed the lunch line wrapping through the restaurant and out the door.

"For those of us far from 'home' it's another piece of Gainesville that will soon be gone," tweeted @JLau326.

Others tweeted at Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe for help to save the beloved restaurant.

"The city govt gave $$upport to the mega construction project that put @BurritoBrothers out of business. How is that fair, Mayor @laurenbpoe?" asked @JeffBarlis.

The restaurant moved into its own brick-and-mortar storefront just a few steps from its original site in 2015, an air-conditioned space that served locally brewed beer.

In the mid-2000s a Burrito Bothers franchise opened on North Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa in the space that is now Holy Hog Barbecue.

Burrito Brothers joins a growing list of shuttered Gainesville institutions: Joe's Deli, Purple Porpoise, Orange & Brew, and as of Saturday, 101 Cantina. Leonardo's Pizza is expected to close this Summer.

Gainesville mainstay Burrito Brothers closing after 40 years 01/30/17 [Last modified: Monday, January 30, 2017 3:42pm]
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