University of Florida fans tuck into booths, sit along the bar, and lean across a blue-felt pool table while they enjoy the lively atmosphere and sports action at Gator Tales Sports Bar. The kitchen sates patrons with a long list of edibles, and bartenders keep whistles whetted and in tune with cool drafts of Miller Lite and Amber Bock. Ceiling fans manufacture breezes on the outdoor tiki bar, surrounded by key-lime-green walls and twin flat-screen TVs, and a mounted gator head smiles above the bar inside.
Originally branded as the Top Hat Drive-In, Sonic Drive In didn’t acquire its nationally recognized name until 1959—six years after its inception in 1953. Today, the franchise operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic Drive In specializes in made-to-order American classics, including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and Ford Thunderbolts—which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast as well as the brand’s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic Drive In’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: best value menu, best milk shake, and best drive-thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
Helmed by the board-certified, extensively experienced, and double-titled Dr. Deputy, Gainesville Vision Center protects its patients’ vision with thorough preventative care and screenings. Scanning pupils for lazy eye, near or farsightedness, and systemic diseases, the staff performs comprehensive and pediatric exams for clients from 4 to 100 years old. After prescriptions have been determined, clients can browse stylish frames from names including Vera Wang, Coach, and Jones New York.
Dr. Bruce K. Branin, the board-certified physician at Alliance Aesthetics, honed his medical-cosmetics and patient-beautification crafts under the tutelage of Dr. Sherman Leis, one of Philadelphia’s top authorities on plastic surgery. During this time, Dr. Branin compiled nearly a quarter of a century’s worth of experience in removing skin lesions and cancers. Now certified in laser and cosmetic procedures, the good doc administers and oversees an array of medical cosmetic treatments designed to restore youthful appearances and reduce skin’s envy of unpopped balloons.
Tasty Buddha likes to describe itself as a “no veto” restaurant. Though it focuses on Asian fare, its menu caters to diverse tastes and diets so no one will have a reason to veto an outing. American-food die-hards can dine on hearty burgers or try out fusion entrees such as pizza fried rice with italian sausage, tomatoes, and parmesan. Morsels of pork, chicken, and tofu fill out several other more traditional versions of the classic Asian fried-rice dish, which the menu describes as “Just like your mom used to make. (If you are from Malaysia.)” For vegetarians, locally made tempeh is an option for almost every entree, including tempeh coconut curry and a tempeh burger blended with secret spices. Tasty Buddha's idealistic owners turn the walls of each location into a gallery for local artists to display and sell their work. Thirty percent of proceeds from the sale of art goes to a local charity, whereas the rest goes to the artist for the upkeep of the multicolored cows from which they milk their oil paint. To advocate for a more sustainable food system, Tasty Buddha's cooks also use as many local ingredients in their meals as possible.
Attraction Salon's experienced stylists, aestheticians, and nail technicians make a point of welcoming their visitors with open arms and plush salon chairs. Perhaps due to this uncommon hospitality, the salon has developed a reputation for serving a multicultural base of clientele that includes women and men alike. Stylists invoke a chorus of clips and snips with their shears, forming flattering shapes or enhancing the look and health of hair with highlights, deep conditioning, and texturizing treatments. Nail technicians busy themselves with the other kind of keratin, whittling nails into elegant shapes during manicures and pedicures or applying full sets of glittery acrylics. Faces likewise sparkle after one of five facials that cater to dry and acne-prone skin, rejuvenating complexions with cleansing and exfoliating techniques. On the other side of the salon, spray-tanning and waxing treatments prepare bodies for lounging on beaches or napping inconspicuously in bronze-sculpture gardens.