Gnat’s Landing, a hub of liveliness, energy, and activity, has recently passed the monumental milestone of being in business for nine years within Statesboro.
“In the nine years that we’ve been here, the first four were extremely difficult. But along the years, we’ve had a bunch of good staff, and it has just slowly been building. Each year has been bigger than the previous, and we’re not stopping here,” Al Chapman, owner of Gnat’s Landing since 2007, said.
With engaging conversations and lively music playing in the background, and the smell of delicious food filling the room, Gnat’s has cultivated a unique, but accessible atmosphere that’s been welcoming to everyone.
“I like to call this place where the pine tree meets the palm tree. It’s a little country, a little beachy, and everything in-between. Sometimes I refer to it as “The Melting Pot of Statesboro.’ It’s just a good mix of everything,” Chapman said. “We have everything from bar food to seafood, but mainly the word I would say is that we sell comfort food. If you come in, it’s just that good old country, comfort food.”
Chapman expressed his appreciation for the growing support and the rewarding relationships that Georgia Southern University and Statesboro has given Gnat’s throughout its long run.
“All of my staff are pretty much from Georgia Southern, or Ogeechee Tech, or one of the other schools. I have a great relationship with all the coaches and teachers. We get students, faculty, and coaches, to you name it.” Chapman said. “We’re all about the community, we’re all about Georgia Southern, and the locals too. It’s one of the best communities that I’ve ever lived in.”
One way Gnat’s Landing has embedded itself within The Statesboro/Georgia Southern community is through the music scene. Throughout the years, Gnat’s has built the reputation of being a popular and welcoming band venue for local Statesboro bands.
“We always keep music rolling here. We work with a lot of local artists and students. Music is a big deal. My background is actually in recording arts, it’s what I went to school for, so it’s a big deal for me to help local artists. Places like this is where they get their start at. It’s important for local venues to help all these artists, and to get them to the place where they need to be. Without people like us, they never get that chance. That’s why it’s important to keep the music scene rolling,” Chapman said.
“Gnat’s finds ways to give back to the community. Whether it’s setting up local bands to play, or sponsoring a sports team; they care about their customers. Gnat’s has, and always will be, one of the greatest places to eat in Statesboro, because of the friendly staff, great management, and delicious food,” Nolan Yuro, junior early childhood education major, said.
Chapman later expressed his pride and admiration for his staff, which he believes to have been a major influence on the success of his restaurant.
“We have a great staff and a great kitchen. They deserve all of the credit in the world. I’m just here running the show. Without the 50 of them, I’ll never be able to do it. I’m just one person here, but there’s no one person that can do what this place has done. This place is so much bigger than what I am.”
“We’re really close, it’s kinda like a big family. I can’t really imagine working anywhere else. We’re really close and we get along really well. Al’s a great boss and he stays on top of it and makes us better employees,” Erica Tyler, junior special education major, said.
With such a long history, Gnat’s has been able to change and develop during its stay in Statesboro, improving the dining experience of its customers.
“With the deck outside being one of the things that’s a big change, it’s also quality of food, and all around, just learning as you go. That’s the biggest change for this place when we first started. We’ve learned so much more about customer service and quality of everything that we do and it keeps the ball rolling.
470 S Main St
Mon – Fri: 11:00 am – 1:00 am
Sat: 11:00 am – 12:00 am
Sun: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm