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Local chef to curate Gainesville food hall


Deborah Butler’s vision to remake her family’s Gainesville, Florida, retail complex into a unique, local phenomenon got a little clearer this week.

Butler has put noted local chef and restaurateur Bert Gill in charge of curating the dining establishments at the Stengel Field Food Hall at Butler Town Center, scheduled to open in 2018. It takes its name from the aviation school run on the site in the 1940s and ‘50s by pioneering pilot Carl Stengel.

Gill is the author of Pickled, Fried and Fresh: Bert Gill's Southern Flavors, which innovated the blending of native North Central Florida dishes with Southern cuisine. He will oversee the operations and the vendors in the hall, where he will open his own new dining concept L’Avion, a French bistro.

"We are passionate about serving fresh, exceptional food, with as many local ingredients as possible," Gill said. "For foodies and shoppers alike, this destination will be the centerpiece of Gainesville."

The 13,000-sq.-ft. space will house as many as15 eateries and, according to Butler Enterprises, include a tap room and kiosks selling fresh flowers and produce. A Pitt’s Special, the historic aerobatic plane designed at Stengel Field by Curtis Pitts, will hang from the food hall’s ceiling.

Butler Town Center itself will be a mixed-use project with more than 200 residences, new-to-market shops and boutiques, a 14-screen Regal Cinema, and the area's first Whole Foods Market.

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