In 1982, Steamers first opened its doors at 1618 NW 1st Ave, one block north of the University of Florida. A Vietnam Veteran by the name of Jim Evans, who spent some time in the Midwest, decided to bring the Midwestern concept of steamed, loose, ground beef sandwiches to Gainesville. Old school Steamers' customers can be heard reminiscing about Jim and the myriad of newspaper clippings on the walls and counters regarding the Vietnam era.
In1993, Jim sold Steamers to a local couple who added their authentic Indonesian curry and fried rice recipes to the sandwich menu. After seven years, the couple sold Steamers to Gainesville native, Art Guy.
Art, along with long-time employee, Dustin Lollis, worked hard at maintaining the great food, service, and reputation that Steamers' customers had grown accustomed to. In 2005, Art sold Steamers to pursue his other business venture, Arto Moro Tempeh.
Steamers had a great run, but closed its doors in 2012. For several years, locals and students yearned for Steamers' sandwiches, fried rice, and curry. In the spring of 2015, Art, along with his business partner, James Thurston, decided to resurrect Steamers. With the help of Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency, Art and James were able to secure a new Steamers location at the recently vacated Bethel Station in Downtown Gainesville.
Steamers now resides at 104 SE 1st Ave in a building known as Bethel Station. The history of Bethel Station is interesting in its own right. According to the Gainesville Sun, Bethel Station, built in 1925, was originally located where the new downtown parking garage is located today. It started as Gulf Oil gas station and had many owners until the city acquired it in 1974.
Sometime in the 1980's, Bethel Station was moved from its original location to its current location and was used as a ticketing office by Gainesville's Regional Transit Service (RTS). In 2007, Bethel Station was vacated by RTS, and the city's search for another tenant was underway.
In 2009, a lease was granted to the owners of the previous restaurant, The Lunchbox. After seven years, The Lunchbox vacated Bethel Station, making room for Art and James' resurrection of Gainesville's beloved Steamers.