Ocala entrepreneur plans to open southern cuisine restaurant in Ocala next year

After setbacks related to COVID-19, an entrepreneur is looking to open a new restaurant in Ocala early next year.

Nina Schweers was one of the entrepreneurs attending today’s 1 Million Cups Ocala event, and she presented her upcoming restaurant, The Doozy Victuals and Libations.

Nancy Schweers discusses her upcoming restaurant, The Doozy Victuals and Libations (Photo courtesy of 1 million cups of Ocala)

She said that “Doozy” is a reference to a vintage Duesenberg car, “victims” refers to food and “libations” means alcohol. The theme of the restaurant is described by Schweers as “the 1930s underground bar with cars”.

This is the third company that Schweers hopes to open. In 2015, she opened Ocala Fresh Produce and Deli, and in 2017, she opened Ocala Downtown Diner.

The Doozy is planning a location on SR 200 across from Red Lobster, at a location previously occupied by Pizza Hut.

Schweers got the lease in January 2020 and was in the midst of a quick two-month remodel of the location when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The menu offered for The Doozy focuses on southern cuisine comparable to that of Hash House in Orlando. The menu plans to offer vegan and gluten-free options.

Ocala Produce and Deli, one of her other companies, has a southern style menu, and she wants to take advantage of that by focusing on “bigger”: bigger cookies and larger portions.

Originally, she wanted to offer a two-page menu filled with vegan, gluten-free and regular menu items in large portions. Due to COVID-19, she encountered a shortage of food and employees.

“It was going to be a great business initially,” she says. “But because of COVID, I had to change the whole concept.”

She said during the presentation that the new way of life is moving towards the delivery of ready meals. Ordering online is becoming more important than dining out, and she wants to grow her business along with these changes.

A shortcut menu is under consideration, offering take-out, take-out and possibly delivery options. The kitchen could also be downsized, with around half of the kitchen focusing on ready meals or delivery services.

The opening date has been pushed back several times and she hopes the restaurant will open by February 2022.


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