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Restaurant lunch highlights:

To get directions enter your address and right click on the desired marker.

Hurricane BTW opens into Burrito Bros spot

February 19, 2018 – The name of the new lunch stop in the old Burrito Brothers location pretty says it all GLOBers  S. Florida's Hurricane Burgers Tacos Wings opened last week amid a flurry of curious, hungry customers wanting to know more about the Guacamole Burger, Korean BBQ Beef tacos, and Coco Chicken Wings. "BTW is big in Palm Beach," said BTW owner Jack Gandolfo. "My wife and I just bought property outside of Ocala and this is our new home," He added. With 10 chicken wing sauces, and seven taco choices you might think hamburgers take a back seat until you talk to Jack G. "I know there are a lot of good burgers in Gainesville," Gandolfo said. "I want to hear what you think of our premium double cheese burger with bacon, and Guacamole," the Hurricane BTW owner said with a knowing look.

 

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Fehrenbacher's Artisan Sausages open downtown

January 30, 2018: Gainesville now has a new sausage maker and lunch stop downtown. Adam, and Tatania Fehrenbacher have opened Fehrenbacher's Artisan Sausages at 411 SW 4th Ave. Adam has over 20 years cooking experience with a bachelor's degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University. His wife, Tatania, is a UF graduate with 10 plus years of Hospitality Management with the Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, Islamorada Fish Company and Bass Pro Shops.

"We are excited about serving lunch here at the Butcher shop," Adam said. "With several stools at our indoor counter, and tables out back on our new patio we look forward to bringing special, homemade style, artisan sausages to our Gainesville Customers," the butcher added. Open Monday-Friday 10-6:00, and Saturday's 3-10:00. Customers can check out the latest menu on the sausage shop's FaceBook page, Instagram page. "We post our menu every morning on the socila media regarding what the shop is featuring for lunch,' Adam said,

 

NOLAcajunART

Golf course cafe serving New Orleans seafood

January 30, 2018:  The lunch stop at NW Gainesville's Meadowbrook Golf Course has opened the Nola Cajun Po'Boys & Seafood at Meadowbrook Located at 3200 NW 98th St. NOLA hours are Monday - Saturday 11am - 8pm and Sunday Brunch will be available 11am - 5pm. New Orleans style seafood has been added to a menu featuring hamburgers and chicken wings. NOLA Happy Hour Specials are daily from 4 to 7pm with a wide selections of quality beers from our full service bar.

 

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Mancini's now open for lunch

Mancini's Tuscan Grille, January 30, 2018: located in the Creekside Mall according to the website, " The MTG is classic steakhouse with Italian flair open every day for lunch. The lunch menu includes appetizers, salads, soups and sandwiches including the Meatball Pomodoro of house-made lean beef and veal meatball simmered in our house-made marinara sauce and served in a bowl of spaghetti. FOLLOW THIS LINK for a complete Mancini's Tuscan Grille menu.

 

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Mediterrean cafe opens in Butler Plaza

Taziki's Mediterranean Café, January 30, 2018: has opened in Butler Plaza at 2905 SW 42nd St. Taziki's embraces the "Mediterranean Lifestyle" which emphasizes: Eating primarily plant-based. Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oi. Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods. Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month. Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week, Taziki's boasts being a fresh concept restaurant with. "NO Freezers, NO Fryers, and NO Microwaves!" FOLLOW THIS LINK for ore information.

 

GovindaSF

Kabab House relocates to NW 13th St.

January 30, 2018:, The Kabob House has moved around the corner to 604 NW 13th St. Serving Biryani, Tandoor, Kababs, wraps, and curries this long time Gainesville lunch stop used to be located across from the bank on University Avenue. The Kabob Hopuse menu include chicken, goat, ham, and veggie entrees. The KH owners proudly proclaim, "Our Naan is handmade fresh daily and cooked in our tandoor clay oven, while serving Halal حلالا). meat."

 OGGI Italiana opens for Sunday lunch

January 30, 2018: OGGI Italian on 3117 SW 34th St. Opens for lunch on Saturday and Sunday this Tampa based restaurant takes a sustainable approach to their complete Italian menu. According to OGGI website: "All of OGGI roasted chickens are free range, naturally raised without antibiotics or hormones. OGGIs chickens are marinated fresh daily for the freshest and best flavors. OGGI mozzarella is made daily, in house, free of preservatives, without GMOs, by our dedicated staff. OGGI prides itself on supporting local farmers, buying only the highest quality of ingredients for our guests.

Related Links:

Louis' Lunch at Southeast Fifth Avenue and Second Street, which is also open today, serves the last of its hamburgers and shakes from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Owner Tom Pennisi, 75, cited slow business and his age for his decision to close the diner and sell the property.
His father, Louis Pennisi, opened the business in 1928.
 


Hey Jules I want to start running the feature below every day. 
I would like to include CHOW NOW with a new location but I would need your location by 8:30 in the morning . . .?
Today’s Lunch Plans
Tuesday, October 27, 2010

The GLOB’s Lunch Plans:  Sandwich Inn, Northeast, 110 NE 16th Ave.

CHOW NOW Food Truck Plans: Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Northeast, Hawthorne Rd.
GLOB Lunch Spot Update
Downtown:
Newly Opened:
Urban Flatbread, Warehouse
Closed: Louis Lunch, Tori's Big Burger

Midtown:
Newly Opened
: Anthony's Pizza & Subs, O!O Garden Grill (Tentative)
Closed for lunch: Farah's on the Avenue

Archer Rd.:
Newly Opened:
Ghengis Grill, Michael's

34th St.:
Newly Opened:
Bagle Land (tentative)
Closed: J. Doobies Wraps
Read more...

Blue Highway Pizza

Here's the making of a perfect lunch. Longtime pal, Andy Caldwell was driving north from Ocala, "Out on 441 where you can hear cars roll by like waves crashing on the beach." The GLOB Master and GLOB Content Editor were heading south on 441 to pay a visit to The Organic Chef store of Al Rosas just north of Ocala to pick up some of the best chicken sausage you can find. It was Lynn Dirk who came up with the idea of meeting Andy at Blue Highway Pizza in Micanopy for some pizza and beer. Andy had never been to Blue Highway. All I could think about is the Abruzzese, one of the best meatball pizzas on earth: Tomato sauce, mozzarella, giant house made meatballs, sliced roasted garlic, parsley, Parmesan and Romano cheese on the Sicilian crust. That is worth driving a long distance to consume. In a true 'have it your way' style, Lynn asked for artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and Italian sausage on one half. The meatballs were incredibly spicy, flavorful and just like I remembered from my last Blue Highway visit. The artichoke hearts were larger than the giant meat balls! The garlic and the yeasty Sicilian crust with the marinara sauce are incomparable. Blue Highway for lunch is one of the best roadside attractions between here and Ocala, gosh, all of N. Florida.

 

BLUEhwySeptTOPPER

Dueling pizzas has two winners

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

GLOB Correspondent Lynn Dirk contributed to this restaurant feature.

I just had the best pizza lunch I have had in a very long time. I have been thinking about a trip out to Blue Highway in West Gainesville's Tioga Town Center for several days and it was easy to convince Lynn and her friend, J, to accompany me.

BluHighwayThis Blue Highway pizzaria off of Newberry Rd. is the younger sibling to the Blue Highway on US 441 near Micanopy. The menus are very similar, the Tioga menu being more extensive, but the quality of the pizzas are the same. The West Gainesville Blue Highway is a modern setting but more traditional with the chefs making pizzas within view of the dining area. We saw pizza crust flying in the air several times during our visit. The Micanopy BH is a cozy place where you can smell the pizza being cooked in the kitchen even if you don't see it.

Along with a choice of two types of pizza and an extensive list of pizza topping choices, Blue Highway presents an appetizer menu -- Blue Highway Small Plate entrees, sandwiches, salads, and piadines, which are flatbread sandwiches. One of those is Lamb Piadine -- roasted lamb, mint pesto aioli, mixed greens, red onion, feta, Parmesan, red wine vinaigrette. One of us is a lover of lamb and made a promise to herself that this would be her choice the next time she came. But today it was pizza for all of us.

Layla, the daughter of the owners and the Tioga BH manager, stopped by the table to see if we needed anything. Lynn mentioned she is very taken with the yeast crust BH cooks up and Layla explained the BH pizza crust process: They use semolina flour, which gives it extra oomph, and the let the dough "age," that is, it sits for 24 hours. There is yeast, so it rises, but they don't punch it down until they are ready to use it. How ever they do it, the texture of their crust is unique and almost outshines the toppings. It is crispy on the bottom but spongy on the inside. Everyone should try it at least once! There is a complete Blue Highway menu at the restaurant link below this feature.

With all the varied choices on the menu, I was feeling good about ordering my pizza, and thinking I would get to taste some other options with the orders my friends would place.

BHpizza2I opted to create my own custom Sicilian style pizza with meat balls, pepperoni, broccoli and roasted red peppers. My pizza served 2 - 4 people. BH is not your by-the-slice kinda place.

Lynn decided to share my pizza so we both looked at J waiting for her lunch decision. She said, "I hope I'm not going to disappoint, but the thin crust pizza special with fresh crab, bacon, and mushrooms sounds really good and I'm getting that."

"Aw right," I exclaimed. "It looks like we will have enough pizza for six people, not three," I said gleefully clapping my hands.

Lynn and J started their lunch with a cup of the Italian Wedding Soup that they enjoyed with many comments of "Oh my!" "Yum." "This is REALLY good." Lynn remarked how the meat balls included in the soup were excellent, perhaps forecasting the pleasure awaiting us on our Sicilian pizza.

I've heard of dueling banjos, on tour once famous blues man Taj Mahal played a tune he called dueling tubas. This is my first dueling pizza experience.

BHpizza3The BH Sicilian crust, meatball, pepperoni, broccoli, and roasted red pepper pizza presented to us contained the largest, yummiest, best tasting meat balls I have ever eaten on a pizza. These meatballs were not chopped, or diced onto the pizza, they were quartered into large bite size chunks of spicy meatball heaven with one or two pieces per slice of pie. These chunk of protein were mighty good and in combination with the other ingredients and the savory pizza sauce that included juicy pieces of tomato, created an unbelievably good pizza.

BHpizza1I noticed while eating my pizza, Lynn and J we reveling in their thin crust pizza special of crab meat, bacon, and mushrooms. The crab was sweet and in clumps. Perfect. Bacon is never bad. The mushrooms had that dark brown color a mushroom gets when it is perfectly sautéed; it's not soggy or chewy. It's a special treat to get mushrooms like that on a pizza. Lynn did comment that considering how special and delicate the crab flavor was, the bacon and mushroom might have been a little distracting or overpowering. But she did not let that stop her, she still considered it an exceptionally delicious pizza.

Tasting the thin crust pizza, I was surprised how good the bacon, crab and cheese mixed together without any noticeable pizza sauce. This thin crusted pizza was equally a prize winner today but in completely different flavor categories.

I've commented before that a trip to the outskirts of West Gainesville is a considerable effort for the GLOB Master. If this pizza shop was located near the GLOB corporate offices, I could eat at Blue Highway Pizza every day.

 

CarneCOMBOtopper

I was out in West Gainesville Jules Gollner the White Apron Catering Queen when the subject of what's for lunch came up. "I'm not up for anything new, and we had Blue Highway Pizza for dinner and it was fabulous," the W. A. Maven said. "I met Blue Highway owner Frank Ruffino the other night and I begged him to open a B.H. in the Millhopper area." "Does that mean forget about Blue Highway for lunch," I asked. "No let's go I love their pizza," Jules said with a glazed look in her eye. And that's how our extraordinary lunch of a hand tossed, thin crust Carne Combo that included tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, Genoa salami, Parmesan, Romano cheese, Sicilian thin crust pie became the best pizza I have eaten since the last time I was at Blue highway. You see they do something special to their crust. Personally I think they paint it with a melted garlic butter before they put the pie in the oven. What that means is they bring to your table a glorious brown toasted, golden glazed pizza pie with a crunchy garlic flavored crust sprinkled with cheese and a bit of salt. My heart is lucky, my cardiologist is pleased, my sister, children and friends are relieved that Blue Highway is on the other side of Gainesville so I can prevent myself from clogging my arteries daily, by the BHP slice. I could eat one of these pizzas every day. That would be 13 straight days in a row of Blue Highway Specialty pizza. Hic, burp . . .

- Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

Blue Highway (+) indicators: Gluten pizza crust is available. Friendly environment, extraordinary pizza choices. Try the meat balls!

Blue Highway (-) indicators: I think you need a passport to get back in to Gainesville from this GLOB outpost.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Blue Highway Pizza.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

Read more...

afternoon opens on NW 10th Ave.

October 9, 2017 – The afternoon restaurant has opened on NE 10th Ave. This lunch stop is serving a mid-day meal with a brunch attitude. Co-Owner Grace Gannon has just relocated back to Gainesville from Seattle and is excited about showing Gainesville how they do food on the NW coast. The fast casual approach to lunch with counter service, locally sourced products and several teas and coffees including black, green and herbal tea, and Panther drip coffee, and Tea-Project Hot teas selections from Seattle.  Afternoon Entrees are available with a meatless attitude including Whipped Feta Toast, and White Corn Grits. Meat proteins are available to add to your meal as extras. There another six entrees including several sandwiches and the Shakshouka -- tomato baked eggs, za'atar, and sourdough toast. The brunch/lunch stop is open every day except Wednesday from 9-4:00

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ShulasSTEAKhilton

Shula's American Steakhouse opens on SW 34th St.

Gainesville now has a steakhouse serving lunch seven days a week from 11:30-2:00 on SW 34th St in the University of Florida Hilton Conference Center, 1714 SW 34th St. Founded by Miami Dolphins football coaching legend Don in 1989, and today encompasses several restaurant brands with nearly 30 locations spanning nine states Shula's presents a complete lunch menu including appetizers, Lunch Salads and Knife and Fork sandwiches including the French Onion Burger with caramelized onions, double Gruyère cheese, garlic herb mayo and crushed croutons on a brioche style bun ($15). The complete steak menu is available at lunch. FOLLOW THIS LINK for a complete Shula's menu.

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Big Mill's Cheesesteak opens on NW 13th St.

September 25, 2017 – There is a new cheesesteak and hot dog stand at 2111 NW 13th St. Next to Adam's Rib Co. You have one week left for their September special of a Big Mill's Chicago Style Cheesesteak for $8.75. Big Mill's Cheesesteaks is all about carnivores, and meat proteins. With hot dogs, sausage subs, and cheesesteak subs, both steak or chicken. Chicago native Keith Miller has been selling his sandwiches on game days and he decided it was time to give Big Mill's 100 per cent of his attention. With a menu featuring cheesesteak sub sandwiches you can try the BM Cheesesteak in either angus sirloin beef, or chicken breast. The menu includes four kinds of sausage sandwiches including a combo steak and sausage sub. In addition to hot dogs Big Mills also serves a hamburger, meatball sub and three salads. Open Monday – Saturday at 11:00 FOLLOW THIS LINK for a complete Big Mill's Cheesesteaks menu

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082217DavesSF

August 22, 2017 – Dave's New York Deli has opened a second location, Dave's NY Deli Express at the corner of Tower Road and Archer road in the Park Lane Plaza next to Dominos Pizza.. The new deli serves the same NY Bagels, Opus Coffee, Pastrami, Corned Beef, hot and cold subs, sandwiches and more as the Dave's NY Deli in Tioga Town Center on Newberry Rd. Both restaurants are open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch, 7:30 to 3:00 M-F and 8:30-3:00 Saturday and Sunday.

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1 Pizza Plus opens on NW 23rd Ave

August 10, 2017 – 1 Pizza Plus has opened for business in the building that formerly housed Lisa's Corner Café on NW 23rd Ave. near Salvation Army. In addition to 16 different specialty pizzas, whole pies, and pizza by the slice, the menu includes The menu includes pastas, baked chicken wings, toasted and cold sub sandwiches, and six different made-to-order salads. 1PP is open Monday thru Saturday from 11 am - 8 pm. The Owner, Mike Case, who formerly owned I LOVE NY Pizza, has plans in the works to sell beer and to create a mozzarella bar at a later date.

 

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Tropical Smoothie opens 2nd location

August 4, 2017 - The Tropical Smoothie Café at 4125 NW 16th Blvd. will open its doors today with a Grand Opening starting at 7:00 this morning. Free samples, giveaways and a free smoothies for a year will be available for the first 50 customers Friday morning. TSC owner Dhairya Chaudhari is opening his second Tropical Smoothie franchise with the first located South of Archer Rd. at 3345 SW 34th St. Primarily a dessert stop TSC serves a varied menu of wraps, sandwiches, flatbreads, bowls and salads. A savory smoothie is available in the Avocolada consisting of avocado, pineapple, spinach, kale, coconut & lime as well as the Watermelon Mojito. Open seven days at 7:00 in the morning serving a light breakfast menu. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

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AmerquanaSF

Wood fired pizza moves into Cairo Grill buidling

August 4, 2017 - Another artisan pizza shop has opened on NW 43rd St. in the old Cairo Grille restaurant building. Rising from the food truck ashes Ameraucana wood fired pizza ls now serving what they describe as "PRE-INDUSTRIAL STYLE WILD YEAST SOURDOUGH PIZZA" in their new restaurant at 2410 NW 43rd St. Currently Ameraucana serves appetizers they call Small Plates that includes salads, meatball, and Marinated Olives with Burnt Citrus & Rosemary. Three desserts are available and six pizzas starting at $10. The Fromage A Trois pizza caught the GLOB Master's eye with Fior Di Latte, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, thinly sliced red onions, Fresh oregano, olive oil. pancetta, and other additional toppings. Open Tuesday – Saturday beginning at 5:00, lunch hour plans will be discussed at a later date. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

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BbreezeSF

Bahama Breeze opens in Butler Plaza

BbreezeMEGHANJuly 26, 2017 – The Caribbean islands have opened for lunch in Butler Plaza world Mon'. Located at 3989 Plaza Blvd. This big box lunch stop -- with 43 plus locations in 13 states – opens the door to tropical island cuisine in SW Gainesville. Drinks with parasols, an every day lunch special, and a menu with 40 plus entrees including Appetizers. Snacks & Small Plates. Soups, Side Salads, Entree Salads, Steak & Beef, Pork, Seafood, Rice Bowls, Chicken, Burgers, Tacos, Sandwiches, Lunch Combos, Fresh Catches. Appetizers. Snacks & Small Plates. Soups, Side Salads, Entree Salads, Steak & Beef, Pork, Seafood, Rice Bowls, Chicken, Burgers, Tacos, Sandwiches, Lunch Combos, Fresh Catches, await your mealtime delight. A dessert menu with seven choices, and a kid's menu category featuring seven selections including hamburgers, Mac 'n Cheese, and chicken tenders are also available. Bahama Breeze has live music in the evenings, handcrafted island cocktails, happy hour drink specials Mon.- Fri, from 4 – 6:00. A late night happy hour continues the evening Sun. – Thurs. from 9:00 to closing with beer, wine, cocktails, and premium Tequilas. Now GLOBer. Is that big box enough for you? FOLLOW THIS LINK for more Bahama Breeze information I might I have missed.

 

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Electric Ramen Opens on NE 23rd Avenue

ElectriRamenLOGOMay 1, 2017: Is Gainesville big enough for two soup shops GLOBers? Electric Ramen on NW 23rd Avenue -- in the former The Jones location at 401 NE 23rd Ave thinks so with their lunch time soup & noodle cafe now open Monday - Saturday 11-3 pm. Still in the formative stages, Electric Ramen is offering a limited menu:
Shoyu Ramen with Pork, $7.99
shoyu (soy sauce) based broth, dashi (fish broth), pork, soft egg, scallions
Vegetarian Ramen, 7.99
miso based broth, tofu, soft egg, scallions
Steamed Bun with Pork or Tofu, $3.25
   pork or tofu, hoisin sauce, pickled cucumber, scallions

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Keke's Breakfast Cafe opens in Butler Plaza

KekesSFApril 24, 2017: Keke's Breakfast Café in Butler Plaza, at 4062 Plaza Blvd. With 26 locations, this franchisee generator is open and serving lunch and breakfast every day from 7- 2:20. Keke's menu lists 10 paninis, 5 burgers, and 9 wraps including an Italian Chicken Panini: Chicken breast, pesto sauce, roasted red pepper and provolone cheese (8.99), a Turkey Burger: One-third pound turkey burger on toasted ciabatta bread with your choice of toppings (7.99), and a Portabella wrap: Grilled Portabella, pesto sauce, roasted red pepper, provolone and romaine (8.49). The Keke's lunch menu also includes 8 salads including the Tuna Salad and Fresh Fruit: Tuna Salad, strawberry, banana, blueberry, grape & orange slices on romaine (9.99). Keke's is open every day and you can FOLLOW THIS LiNK for breakfast and lunch menus that have more entrees than you than you can shake a strip of crisp, crunchy bacon at.

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wearhouse

Warehouse Restaurant & lounge reopens for lunch

April 3, 2017: Downtown's Warehouse Restaurant & Lounge is one once again open for lunch. Located in the new, and growing Power District South of downtown Gainesville. This multi cuisine restaurant now serves lunch, dinner and drinks from a menu of salads, seafood, pork, and poultry with daily specials.

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zzGLOBbullet HEROsfIT'S HERO'S NOT HOGAN'S! Since the GLOB's outset seven years ago the GLOB Master has enjoyed saying, "there are 243 places to eat lunch in Gainesville." That statement makes it a tough task of keeping track of all the openings, and closing that happen each and every month. And that's not even talking about name changes, and lunch stops that sneak up, open for business without any kind of public notice.

The GLOB worldwide offices received a nice comment from Heros 'Great Sandwiches' owner Aaron Newbold about our failure to mention the Hogan's heroes sub shop on SW 34th St. changed owners over a year ago and is now HEROS 'Great Sandwiches':

"The owner of Hogan's a year ago April 18 sold me 34th location and I renamed Heros and have tried to become my own entity while also showing where I was inspired from by keeping a lot of the things that makes Hogan's so great. " - READ MORE.

Thanks for the wakeup call Aaron. I love your sandwiches, and tomato crowns!

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SOULfoodSD

Downtown adds three new restaurants

Just like that three new restaurants have opened in 2017 and they are all available, downtown lunch stops:

zzGLOBbullet Celebrity's Soul Seafood, 201 SE 2nd Ave #101, Downtown. Located behind next to Mark's Prime Steakhouse, this neck bones-and-rice lunch stop also serves chicken wings, and fried chicken. A veritable smorgasbord of traditional Southern food, this is the third restaurant opening for owners Fredrick and Taja Jacobs. The first was opened in California and the 3rd is ... in Ft White of all places!

zzGLOBbullet China Garden, Gainesville Shopping Center, 1216 N. Main St. Just south of the Main Street Publix, Café Gardens owner Fiona Liangfoiny is serving a complete Chinese menu with $5.49 lunch specials served with fried rice from 10:30 am to 3 pm. The menu also includes a $7.49 Dinner Special, House Combination Specials, and a diet menu, all dishes available for take-out or in-house dining.

zzGLOBbullet Flaming Subs, Gainesville Shopping Center, 1122.N. Main StNot a lot has changed in this poplar lunch time sub shop except ownership and the new name. Open from 10 am to 4 pm, Flaming Subs serves the same menu of salads and hot and cold sub sandwiches as Larry's Giant Subs.

 

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032117CuriaSF.jpg

December 16, 2017 - Three new restaurants have recently opened including a sandwich shop, a vegan restaurant, and a golf course café:

zzGLOBbullet With outdoor seating and a drive-through pickup window, Piper Gi's will be open starting with lunch from 11 am -3 pm and other times. Piper at 204 SW 2nd Ave.  According to owner Tommy Newman the former Wholly BBQ location next to the High Dive will be run with his wife, Shanti Aura Riesch-Newman, and brother-in-law, Jacob Riesch, with combined experience as chefs for several notable Gainesville restaurants including Manuel's Vintage Room, Emiliano's Cafe, and Napalanto's. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

zzGLOBbullet Curia On the Drag, 2029 NW 6th Street, has opened a vegan café to complement their coffee shop and wine bar. Serving lunch, dinner, drinks, and coffee, Curia presents a complete vegan menu. Including mac 'n cheese, jackfruit, fish-less tacos, and many more plant-based entrees. The three-building location also touts domestic and imported beer, sparkling wines, happy hour, board games, and entertainment. FOLLOW THIS LINK for a complete Curia menu

zzGLOBbulletDivot's Café & Banquet has opened in the Meadow Brook Golf Club on 3200 NW 98th and NW 39th Ave. Lisa's Corner Café owner and manager, Lisa Freeze, has jumped across town to accommodate lunch outers and golf enthusiasts with a $7 Cheeseburger and French fry specials and a varied menu of sandwiches, salads, wraps, and hot entrees

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LonghornSF

Butler Plaza opens new lunch stops

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 – The Longhorn Steakhouse returns after several years to Gainesville at 2933 Clark Butler Blvd with more steaks than you shake a prime cut at. Featuring 100% grade A beef in over 30 different combinations, entrees with chicken and salmon, and salads and burgers. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

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Culver's, a restaurant that features "butterburgers" and frozen custard for dessert has opened in Butler Plaza at 912 NW 56 Terr. In 1984, George and Ruth Culver had the idea for a restaurant no one could resist: a combination of his "love for his mom's homemade hamburgers with his favorite childhood treat." Four flavors of frozen custard are offered each day with over 30 mix-ins and toppings. In addition to dessert, the menu also includes fried Wisconsin cheese curds, salads, chicken and fish sandwiches, and dinner entres and kids' meals. Culver's is open from 10 am to 11 pm Sunday through Thursday and 10 am to midnight Friday and Saturday. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

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Jersey Mike's Subs touting 'east coast style' sub sandwiches Jersey Mike's  has opened a second location in Gainesville at at 2803 SW 42nd Street in Butler Plaza. Franchise owners Angelo and Kimberly Crowell own two Jersey Mike's in Tallahassee. Jersey Mike's is open from 10 am to 9 pm 7 days a week. This nationwide franchise has over 750 locations, the first having been established on the New Jersey shore in 1956. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

 

ainesville's oldest restaurant closes Saturday after 82 years.
Related Links:

Louis' Lunch at Southeast Fifth Avenue and Second Street, which is also open today, serves the last of its hamburgers and shakes from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Owner Tom Pennisi, 75, cited slow business and his age for his decision to close the diner and sell the property.
His father, Louis Pennisi, opened the business in 1928.
 


Hey Jules I want to start running the feature below every day. 
I would like to include CHOW NOW with a new location but I would need your location by 8:30 in the morning . . .?
Today’s Lunch Plans
Tuesday, October 27, 2010

The GLOB’s Lunch Plans:  Sandwich Inn, Northeast, 110 NE 16th Ave.

CHOW NOW Food Truck Plans: Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Northeast, Hawthorne Rd.
GLOB Lunch Spot Update
Downtown:
Newly Opened:
Urban Flatbread, Warehouse
Closed: Louis Lunch, Tori's Big Burger

Midtown:
Newly Opened
: Anthony's Pizza & Subs, O!O Garden Grill (Tentative)
Closed for lunch: Farah's on the Avenue

Archer Rd.:
Newly Opened:
Ghengis Grill, Michael's

34th St.:
Newly Opened:
Bagle Land (tentative)
Closed: J. Doobies Wraps
Read more...

Lunch stop openings close out 2016

December 16, 2017 - Three new restaurants have recently opened including a sandwich shop, a vegan restaurant, and a golf course café:

zzGLOBbullet With outdoor seating and a drive-through pickup window, Piper Gi's will be open starting with lunch from 11 am -3 pm and other times. Piper at 204 SW 2nd Ave.  According to owner Tommy Newman the former Wholly BBQ location next to the High Dive will be run with his wife, Shanti Aura Riesch-Newman, and brother-in-law, Jacob Riesch, with combined experience as chefs for several notable Gainesville restaurants including Manuel's Vintage Room, Emiliano's Cafe, and Napalanto's. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

zzGLOBbullet Curia On the Drag, 2029 NW 6th Street, has opened a vegan café to complement their coffee shop and wine bar. Serving lunch, dinner, drinks, and coffee, Curia presents a complete vegan menu. Including mac 'n cheese, jackfruit, fish-less tacos, and many more plant-based entrees. The three-building location also touts domestic and imported beer, sparkling wines, happy hour, board games, and entertainment. FOLLOW THIS LINK for a complete Curia menu

zzGLOBbulletDivot's Café & Banquet has opened in the Meadow Brook Golf Club on 3200 NW 98th and NW 39th Ave. Lisa's Corner Café owner and manager, Lisa Freeze, has jumped across town to accommodate lunch outers and golf enthusiasts with a $7 Cheeseburger and French fry specials and a varied menu of sandwiches, salads, wraps, and hot entrees

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LonghornSF

Butler Plaza opens new lunch stops

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 – The Longhorn Steakhouse returns after several years to Gainesville at 2933 Clark Butler Blvd with more steaks than you shake a prime cut at. Featuring 100% grade A beef in over 30 different combinations, entrees with chicken and salmon, and salads and burgers. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

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Culver's, a restaurant that features "butterburgers" and frozen custard for dessert has opened in Butler Plaza at 912 NW 56 Terr. In 1984, George and Ruth Culver had the idea for a restaurant no one could resist: a combination of his "love for his mom's homemade hamburgers with his favorite childhood treat." Four flavors of frozen custard are offered each day with over 30 mix-ins and toppings. In addition to dessert, the menu also includes fried Wisconsin cheese curds, salads, chicken and fish sandwiches, and dinner entres and kids' meals. Culver's is open from 10 am to 11 pm Sunday through Thursday and 10 am to midnight Friday and Saturday. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

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Jersey Mike's Subs touting 'east coast style' sub sandwiches Jersey Mike's  has opened a second location in Gainesville at at 2803 SW 42nd Street in Butler Plaza. Franchise owners Angelo and Kimberly Crowell own two Jersey Mike's in Tallahassee. Jersey Mike's is open from 10 am to 9 pm 7 days a week. This nationwide franchise has over 750 locations, the first having been established on the New Jersey shore in 1956. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

 

TamalWINDOWtopper

New lunch stops open for business

MONDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2016: From fresh tamales to breakfast all day new lunch stops are popping up all over Gainesville:

zzGLOBbullet TAMALhorseATamale shop opens downtown: "When the Tamale Horse is on the sidewalk, there are fresh, hot tamales waiting inside," Tamal Head Cook and Owner Rachel Iannelli, said proudly scratching Tamale's white mane. Two blocks north of the new Depot Park complex, in the heart of Gainesville's South Main arts district, daily Tamal offers unique and healthy meat, vegetarian, and vegan tamales at reasonable prices. Owners, Cecil Iannelli and Rachel Nicholas, who are also long-time Gainesvillians and food lovers, use locally sourced meat, produce, and eggs whenever possible, and the aquas frescas are sweetened only with turbinado sugar. After three decades in the restaurant business and working on her doctorate degree, a tamale shop wasn't always Rachel's first career consideration, but now, she says, "As far as I know, we are the first tamale shop in Gainesville, and we are excited sharing our passion for handmade tamales." FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

 

KRAZYGtopperzzGLOBbullet Krazy G'opens in Midtown: Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner and open from 7 AM – 2 AM (yes, 2 AM in the morning!) every day, Krazy G's will be serving organic gourmet burgers from grass-fed beef, locally brewed beer, and biscuits and other breakfast food. This fast casual spot will host a smoker for burgers, brisket, pork shoulder, house-made bacon, and bologna. For long-time Hog Towners, the breakfast menu includes the return of the Asher Special from Skeeter's Breakfast House -- a popular Gainesville restaurant from the late 1970s to 1995 -- that includes Skeeter potatoes, melted cheese, a choice of eggs, choice of sausage or bacon, and a biscuit. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information

zzGLOBbullet Fresh Corner opens in Stadium Club Bldg: Specializing in breakfast all day, the Fresh Corner is open and ready to serve you breakfast "In hand. " With a menu that includes bagels, toast, crispy waffles, and fresh bowls, there are many breakfast entrée variations such as the Captain's Way Bagel consisting of smoked salmon, sliced bananas, honey, and sunflower seeds. There are three kinds of bowls all featuring a base of coconut chia seed pudding, Greek yogurt, and fresh fruit. Smoked Chicken & Waffles has already become a Fresh Corner favorite. Open Daily 8 am -5 pm, the Fresh Corner offers gluten-free and vegan options along with avocado toast and mini-bagels.

 

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zzGLOBbullet Big Island Bowls opens in Root & Pecker facility: To paraphrase the Trailer Park Troubadours, "It ain't a restaurant until the wheels come off." A Big Island food truck has planted itself on the Root & Pecker grounds at 5432 NW 8th Ave. With tentative plans to be open from 9 am-6 pm daily, lunch every day at the Big Island Bowls features smoothies and fruit and acai bowls. All of their bowls are free of additives, preservatives, artificial ingredients, and dairy. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information

 

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patticakesSF

September 12, 2016 - Patticakes on the Bo Diddley Plaza downtown has opened on the NE corner of the Plaza with a limited menu this week. Open from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, the lunch menu includes salads, sandwiches, wraps, and paninis. Patticakes will have a full espresso menu with lattes and cappuccinos plus tea, smoothies, and milk shakes. Breakfast items include muffins, scones, pastries, quiche, bagels, and yogurt. Next week Patticakes will be open Monday through Saturday until 9 p.m. and later when there are concerts on the Plaza and will be open on Sundays during festivals. Seating includes a limjited number of lunch counter seats, a patio, and the Bo Diddley Plaza.

Also now open for lunch:

zzGLOBbullet Felipe's Mexican Taqueria has opened in midtown on the corner of W. University Ave and NW 12th St. With the standard tacos, burritos, and quesadilla, Felipe's also offers Tinga Chicken Breast, Al Pastor, Chorizo, and Grilled Vegetables. With several restaurants in Louisiana, this is Felipe's second venture into Florida, the other being in Naples. Felipe's offers three ways top place you lunch order: a fast casual lunch line, by cell phone from your table, or from a server at the bar or in the bar area. FOLLOW THIS LINK for a complete Felipe's menu.

zzGLOBbullet The Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grille has opened at 3581 SW Archer Rd. "Costa Vida is a laid-back counter-serve Mexican restaurant with Baja-style tacos and burritos plus gluten-free options. Fresh food created with using real ingredients." Offering the standard Tex-Mex lunch fare, Costa Vida lists some interesting specialties such as Fajita Burritos, Mango Chicken Salad, and Sweet Shrimp Salad or Tacos. FOLLOW THJIS LINK for a complete Costa Vida menu.

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Chipotle Mexican Grille opens third location

CHIPOTLEsfASeptember 6, 2016: Chipotle Mexican Grille has opened a third Gainesville location on the corner of NW 13th St. and NW 23rd Ave. Chipotle touts 'Food with Integrity" such as "Vegetables grown in healthy soil, and pork from pigs allowed to freely root and roam outdoors or in deeply bedded barns" and claim that "with every burrito we roll or bowl we fill, we're working to cultivate a better world." Chipotle serves burritos with meats, sofritas, rice, beans, fajita veggies, several salsa options, quacamole, sour cream, cheese, and/or romaine lettuce. FOLLOW THIS LINK for Chipotle reviews.

 

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VpizzaSF

V Pizza opens in Vello's Building downtown

August 29, 2016: V Pizza/Sidecar Bar have opened in the space vacated by Vello's in downtown Gainesville.  Serving an Italian menu of specialty pizzas, create your own pizzas, calzones, and strombolis, the fast casual restaurant (order at the counter) has a "Lunch Special Pricing" at $9.95 for a beverage, cheese pizza plus 1 topping or 10.95 with any house pizza. For gluten free pizza, add $3. Other Lunch Special options for $9.95: A calzone plus 1 topping; a panini, or chicken wings. Touting authenticity, the Jacksonville creators of V Pizza feature imported and dry-aged Italian meats, San Marzano tomatoes, '00 flour', water buffalo mozzarella (mozzarella di bufala), pizzas that aren't perfectly round, and burn marks on the crust. These are the elements V Pizza creators believe that validate their authentic Napoletana pizza. According to the About Food website Neapolitan pizza originated in Naples, Italy, and is made from simple basic dough, raw tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil--no fancy toppings here. According to the Jacksonville Sidecar website,  "Sidecar honors the original definition of the cocktail – a combination of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters [and] spirit-forward drinks are accompanied by rotating draft beers, over 50 bottled beers, two cocktails on tap, whiskey on tap, and a great list of old and new world wine varietals." FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information and a complete Z Pizza menu.

 

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Humble Pie opens store front, changes name

081816HUMBLEwoodfireLOGOAugust 21, 2016:  After much planning, and making arrangements the Humble Pie food truck has opened a 'brick and mortar' lunch stop at 405 SW 4th Ave. next to their Humble Wood Fire kitchen. The new lunch stop will have a daily $10 lunch special for an 8" pizza and the Humble Wood Fire salad of the day. The Humble staff will post the daily special on their social media connections.After being named in a lawsuit for using the Humble Pie name by a Manhattan, New York law firm representing a Humble Pie pizza chain in Arizona, the HWF pizza boys have decided to change their name to Humble Wood Fire. According to their FaceBook page: "Our new name embodies the heart of what we have always been about. Humble Wood Fire also enables us to move beyond being known solely for our wood fired pies." FOLLOW THIS LINKfor more information, and a Humble Wood Fire menu.

 

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WINGSteriyakiSF

Wings & Teriyaki opens in NE, Flaming Crab on Newberry Rd.

May 10, 2016: Listing a complete menu of hibachi/teriyaki entrees including chicken, beef, shrimp, steak and tofu, the Wings & Teriyaki lunch stop on NE 23rd Ave. also specializes in chicken wings in 25 different flavors. Need more lunch GLOBer? Wings & Teriyaki also serves gyros, Philly steaks sandwiches, hamburgers, and salads. You can also get fried shrimp with white or fried rice and a drink for $9.99. There are two chicken wing combos on the menu and 12 combos served with steamed veggies and white or fried rice. Wings & Teriyaki is Open seven days a week.

FLAMINGcrabLOGOThe Flaming Crab has opened on Newberry Rd. near Tower Rd. in the old Yummy House location. Taking seafood boils to a new level, the Flaming Crab touts Cajun style crab boils with a twist -- your fresh catch is boiled in a Cajun-style-blend of spices, then tossed with a choice of signature seasonings, and served in a bag to preserve the flavors. Menu items range from $27 to $65: The Flaming Crab has a Po Boy Sandwich Special at $7.99 and a 2-lb fresh crawfish special for $18.99.

 

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KAPLEbiscuitSF

Maple St. Biscuit opens in Butler Plaza

April 15, 2016: The Maple Street Biscuit Company opened yesterday in Butler Plaza in the Target Shopping area. Touting consistent southern comfort food with a modern twist.  The MSBC serves an assortment of sandwiches including the Chicken Club, the Iron Goeat, and the Sticky Maple ll served on Flaky Biscuits. Side orders include oatmeal, Hashups, (home fries with chopped smoked ham, red and green peppers, grilled onions, mushrooms, and melted cheese & Gravy), and Sweet Potato Fries with maple mustard dipping sauce. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

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Three restaurants open April 4, 2016

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zzGLOBbullet GOVINDA'S BAKERY & CAFÉ: The big, green building on NW 13th St. has a bright new coat of beige pain and is now selling breakfast delights and lunch. Soups with free refills and veggie sandwiches served on ciabatta rolls are the main components of the veggie menu. According to GOVINDA's website, "We are a vegetarian bakery and café . . . We specialize in healthy, wholesome, yummy food prepared with love and care! Our mission here at Govinda's is to encourage an atmosphere of peace, serenity, and harmony in our community and in ourselves."

zzGLOBbullet WINE & CHEESE GALLERY: This long time downtown favorite has been resurrected with new lunch ideas and a fast causal approach to lunch. With a menu that includes lads, sandwiches, and soups the Wine and Cheese has included cheese boards totheir menu.

zzGLOBbullet YUMMYHOUSUEsf2016YUMMY HOUSE: After a short hiatus, Yummy House has reopened in the old Crispers location on 34th St. A dimly-lit atmosphere houses multiple tables adorning white tablecloths, a long bar area, and sharp, clean decor. Yummy House's extensive menu is still available on the inside with added, east parking now available at this SW 24th location.

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Grill Fresh opens behind the Swamp

GRILLfreshSFMarch 21, 2016: Grill Fresh opens for lunch today in the old Café Gardens location behind the Swamp in mid-town. With a mix 'n match of bowl entrees with a base foundation ranging from sweet potato noodles for salad to warm veggie spiced rice and fresh herb roasted potatoes. After the base ingredient, the choices are toppings of veggies, protein, and sauce. Bowls can be ordered in three categories: GREEN BOWL that includes 2 greens, 2 veggies and 1 protein, the FOUR BOWL that consists of 2 base ingredients, 1 veggie, and 1 protein, to the SIX BOWL that includes 2 base ingredients, 2 veggies, and 2 proteins. Breakfast is available every morning with breakfast bowls of 1 base ingredient, 1 egg or tofu, 2 proteins, and 1 cheese.

- Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

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Harvest Thyme burgers, SweetBerries buy local specials

March 14, 2016: The NW 39th Ave. Harvest Thyme Café is now serving hamburgers and brunch. You can choose from two $8.25 burgers, both with grass fed, local beef: The Cheeseburger – with lettuce, tomato, and cheddar, Swiss, provolone, or American cheese, OR the Carolina Classic with chili, coleslaw, mustard, and onions. Two additional of the following toppings included in price: raw onion, pickles, coleslaw, bacon, grilled peppers, grilled onions, and jalapenos; each additional topping at $0.50 (Be sure to add one of the HT brownies to your lunch for dessert, they are really yummy.  - GLOB Master.).)

031416HarvestHarvest Thyme Café at this location is also serving Brunch until 2 pm with Omelettes and Skillets, both types with eggs and Michael's home style potatoes along with your choice of meat and/or cheese and two of the following ingredients: spinach, tomato, onion, jalapeno, black olives, mushrooms, scallions, green peppers. Other brunch items include waffles, gluten free waffles, pancakes, French toast, and plates, which consist of two eggs served your way with Michael's homestyle potatoes, toast, and bacon, sausage or ham. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

zzGLOBbullet Sweetberries Eatery and Frozen Custard has come up with a smart Friday-Saturday-Sunday Special with an emphasis on buying local.  The Osmond sisters will be attending the Wednesday Unions St. Downtown Farmers Market each week with the purpose of seeking out a local farmer or food artisan's locally grown or locally made product to feature in their upcoming Weekend Special. "We decided after featuring White Apron's Fig Preserves on our Chicken, Brie and Fig Preserve sandwich, image at the top of this news, last weekend this would be a good way to showcase the abundance of produce and artisanal food items available in our area," Co-Owner Jane Osmond said. "If at all possible, we'll also have their products for sale in our store during the Special in which their product if featured"

KUDOS to SweetBerries! That is such a good idea the Daily GLOB will start featuring Sweetberrie’s Weekend End specials Friday mornings and including a link to the participating local farmer and producer.

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SandwihcDepotSF

Sandwich Depot moves into Adam's Rib Co. building

March 7, 2016: The Sandwich Depot has opened shop in the old Adam's Rib Co. building on NW 13th. St. adjacent to the new Adam's Rib Co. Open for lunch and dinner with the same menu Monday – Saturday the Sandwich Depot boasts over 15 different sandwiches featuring wraps, hamburgers, tacos, a veggie burger and various salads including a chicken Caesar salad and a Cobb salad. Sandwich depot was established in 2013 as a food truck. Family-owned-and-operated menu items are original, inspired creations by chef and owner Travis Mylott. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information

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Twisted Peacock opens on SW 13th St.

TpeacockSFJanuary 9, 2016: The Twisted Peacock has opened on SW 13th St. for lunch and dinner and serves Indian cuisine "in a contemporary fashion rooted in Indian cooking. " The full Indian menu includes entrees like Palak Chole (creamed spinach and chick peas), Nandu Varuval (South Indian fried, spicy, soft shell crab), and Chicken Tikki Masala. There are also sandwiches, salads, vegetarian entrees such as Malai Kofta ("dumplings made with cashews and tossed in a rich, creamy gravy"), and both meat and seafood entrees. Appetizers, which are called Street Food, consist of five options, and three kinds of Indian bread are available. The Twisted Peacock opens at 11 am seven days a week.

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LISAstoreFront

Lisa's Corner opens on NW 23rd Ave

February 2, 2016: Lisa's Corner Café has opened on the corner of NW 23rd Ave at 125 NW 23rd Ave. Suite 9 in the former location of La Fortuna. With a new homey décor, options include a hot lunch buffet and a soup and salad bar. The menu includes sandwiches, wraps, Hot Baskets, chicken wings, fried fish, and daily Hot Bar Specials. Lisa's Corner Café is open 7 days a week at 8 am for breakfast, including a breakfast bar until 11:30 am.

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Buffalo Wild Wings opens in Oaks Mall

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BWWwingsJanuary 13, 2016: With Chicken Wings, Beer, and sports the Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar in front of the Oaks Mall you can count on this second, and third joint lunch palace being a busy. Chicken wings. and boneless wings are available in 17 flavors including Bourbon Honey Mustard,Thai Curry, And a Reformulated Blazin' wing. There is a Veggie boat, potato wedges, and Cheddar Cheese Curds available for the veggie lunch outer. Add seven kinds of salads including a prime rib salad, seven different wraps, street tacos, five kinds of hamburgers, two kinds of chicken sandwiches, a pulled pork sandwich, and a Southwest Philly sandwich it becomes apparent why BFW emphasises a "Fast Break Lunch" approach.  The FBL menu allows customers to create a customizable lunch order and eat in 30 to 40 minutes. The Fast Break Lunch is available Monday - Friday, 11- 2:00 pm. NOTE TO BOB SANFORD: BWW has chicken tenders in both a naked, and crispy variety

ainesville's oldest restaurant closes Saturday after 82 years.
Related Links:

Louis' Lunch at Southeast Fifth Avenue and Second Street, which is also open today, serves the last of its hamburgers and shakes from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Owner Tom Pennisi, 75, cited slow business and his age for his decision to close the diner and sell the property.
His father, Louis Pennisi, opened the business in 1928.
 


Hey Jules I want to start running the feature below every day. 
I would like to include CHOW NOW with a new location but I would need your location by 8:30 in the morning . . .?
Today’s Lunch Plans
Tuesday, October 27, 2010

The GLOB’s Lunch Plans:  Sandwich Inn, Northeast, 110 NE 16th Ave.

CHOW NOW Food Truck Plans: Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Northeast, Hawthorne Rd.
GLOB Lunch Spot Update
Downtown:
Newly Opened:
Urban Flatbread, Warehouse
Closed: Louis Lunch, Tori's Big Burger

Midtown:
Newly Opened
: Anthony's Pizza & Subs, O!O Garden Grill (Tentative)
Closed for lunch: Farah's on the Avenue

Archer Rd.:
Newly Opened:
Ghengis Grill, Michael's

34th St.:
Newly Opened:
Bagle Land (tentative)
Closed: J. Doobies Wraps
Read more...

Piesano's Stone Fired Pizza, Midtown

A little while back I asked GLOBers what restaurant made the best Philly Cheese Steak. Of course we received a lot of good suggestions, and Piesano's Stone Fired Pizza's Philly Cheese Steak was right at the top of the list. I make an excellent Philly cheese steak sandwich myself. But growing up in Melbourne, Florida, my favorite go-to place for food and hanging out was Charlie's Pizza on U.S Highway 1 near the Eau Gallie Causeway. It might have been the aged grill that Charlie used to cook the mushroom, peppers, onion, garlic, and chopped steak conglomeration, but to this day I haven't enjoyed a steak sandwich as tasty as that great high school memory. All that said, Piesano's Philly Cheese Steak is an excellent sandwich with perfect sautéed onions and peppers topped with a delicious coating of yummy, gooey, melted provolone cheese. The steak is thinly sliced steak and pulls together all the other flavors. The Philly Cheese Steak rolls are not too thick but easily wrap around all the ingredients. I would have no problem suggesting Piesano's Philly Cheese Steak to a hungry lunch time carnivore.  Thinking about it GLOBers, back in the day before thin sliced, pre-packaged steak protein, the grill cook would chop his meat for the sandwich from a nice cut of sirloin steak resulting in cubed, diced pieces of delicious red meat.  This created a unique texture, bite size taste of spicy protein.  That's how I cook my cheesesteaks at home. Maybe that's what's missing from todays' steak thin sliced sammies . . .

- Mike Sanford

Italian lunch stop works for this Piesano

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

PIESANOsffMIDTOwnIt was shortly after Lynn Dirk and I sat down at the bar at the new Midtown Piesanos on the corner of University Avenue and 13th St that I knew this new additional location for the local, well-regarded pizza restaurant was going to do well.

"Check this out Mike," Piesanos's General Manager, Ryan Zachow,  said waving at a long line of beer taps behind the Piesano's bar. We have 40 taps available connected to 40 different kegs back in our cooler. Ryan was quick to point out that selections from Swamphead and First Magnitude breweries, the newest Gainesville craft beer are proudly included.

 

PIESANObarThe Piesanos crew spent a lot of time and money remodeling the old Beef O'Brady's pub into a stylish restaurant ready to handle the pizza-pie eating, beer-drinking gators of all varieties.

"Sure we expect to do a big student crowd late in the evening, but we also want to let people know this is an excellent family restaurant too with lunch specials and awesome dinner entrees," Ryan added.

 

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Along with a very impressive bar, Piesanos has booths, tables, and a customer-friendly high-top table that can accommodate larger groups of 12 or more.

Since I consider myself a lunch-time eating professional, as I looked over the Piesanos menu, I quickly realized there were a multitude of lunch and dinner choices -- the menu is not for the faint at heart with an extensive menu of Italian and American cuisine entrees, appetizers, baked breads, soup, salads, pizza, calzones, subs, burgers, sides, a kids menu, and desserts. Oh, they also have veggie selections, gluten-free crust, and 30 different pizzas on their Gourmet Specialty Pizza Category. The Piesanos menu is available at the link below.

The GLOB's Content Editor and I were ready to see what Piesanos had to offer. We decided to share a personal pan pizza and an order of Eggplant Parmesan.

 

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The affordable Personal Pan Pizza made sense since we were also ordering an entree. The pie was cut into four slices. Lynn and I had broccoli and spicy Italian sausage topping our pizza, and we were pleasantly surprised that there was left over eggplant and side spaghetti to take home.

The Piesanos red sauce had a certain identifiable spiciness that was pleasing. The Italian sausage enhanced the heat and added a savory flavor to the pie that had the GLOB Master smiling. The crust was very crunchy and somehwhat yeasty and Ms. Dirk detected corn meal in the somewhat crust, which was slightly thicker than a typical thin crust.

The pizza was very good, and I look forward to returning to Piesanos with pals so I can taste the MANY different pies over time.

 

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I had to smile when the Eggplant Parmesan entrée arrived with my share of pasta and red sauce in separate plate. I'm sorry, if you have read any of my other Italian lunches you already know noodles and tomato sauce, with or without a spoon, are wasted on the GLOB Master. I guess I will be going to my grave missing the savory, home cooked joy of these two ingredients that I believe need bountiful assistance from almost any other other ingredient to get me a little excited.

Remembering that we started lunch with a nice helping of warm, complementary garlic rolls and with an oil dip that was more like Italian dressing, we were eating a lot of food at Piesanos.

My share of the Piesanos Eggplant Parmesan was ample and cheesy with large pieces of eggplant in every bite.  It was a very good entrée, however I did add my remaining pasta and red sauce to the mix as the eggplant needed a little more sauce.

 

PIESANOtable

This was fun lunch experience. The Piesanos bar is a very cool, friendly place to enjoy lunch and watch the light show reflecting off the countless wine glasses about the beer taps as rainbow colors, one slowly after the other, lit up the glasses.  It's probably even better at night.

I'm going back to Piesanos. I just checked their menu and they have Shrimp & Mussels.  They also have Fra Diavolo: "Garlic, white wine, and spicy marinara." Come on -- any lunch stop that talks about Diavolo certainly gets the devil in me.

Follow this link for another piesanos lunch feature.

The Pluses and Minuses of Piesanos:

Piesanos + indicators: A lot of lunch time choices here. Excellent pizza, 40 beer taps!

Piesan's - indicators: I'm thinking this larger than the average lunch stop for midtown could get crowded really quickly/

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Piesanos, Midtown. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!

Read more...

Fork & Pasta: CLOSED, July, 2017

Fresh pasta every way you can imagine

By Mike sanford, GLOB Editor,  and Lynn Dirk, GLOB Content Editor

ForkPastaSFThe Fork & Pasta Simple & Fresh is spinning out Italian cuisine into a lunch line of 5 pastas, 6 sauces, 6 cheeses, 4 meats, and 6 vegetables ingredients.  By my calculation that's more than 5000 possible combinations of pasta (can some math major check that for me?).  Momma Mia!  Not that simple.

FPmenuNestled into the corner of the Robert's Stadium Club apartments across the street from St. Augustine Catholic Church, Fork & Pasta is spooning a have-it-your-way, fast-casual sauce on an Italian classic.

The GLOB Master was excited about the choosing a sauce for his paisano lunch. Many of these sauces might be available in other Italian restaurants, but no one ever told this good 'ol Southern boy there are so many options for what you can ladle onto your noodles. And since I am playing stupid today, you might as well know it never occurred to me that noodles could have different shapes.  As far as I ever knew, it was spaghetti or noodles.

 

ForkPastaTEAMaFinally, gosh Pee-Wee! How smart is it that you can select different ingredients to be added to your pasta as if it were a pizza?  

It was an exciting start for this GLOBer, feeling very much like a newbie lunch outer heading into a strange Frederico Fellini-like scene of odd shapes and new flavor combinations.  Kudos to owners Jonathan Hazan (in the middle at right) and Jennifer Kaiden (far right) for the, big, bold, dramatic images lining the wall of this relatively small dining room. The clean lines of the abstract artwork give a feeling of closeness in the dining room while, at the same time, the large windows make it feel spacious.

 

FPsalad

Gainesville Lunch Out Blog Content Editor Lynn Dirk and I decided to share a F&P Mediterranean Salad that was very good and topped with a small portion of pasta, large pieces of shaved mozzarella cheese, and tart house dressing.  More kudos to Jonathan and Jennifer for getting their bread from Gainesville's Flour Pot Bakery.  The fresh baguettes of Italian bread were so delicious I was compelled to ask for more.

We were then ready to give this fresh made pasta a try and were excited about trying the Sweet Potato & Goat Cheese Ravioli, only like on the Jerry Seinfeld show, there was no ravioli for us this day.

 

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Captain Dirk opted for the Classic Rose Sauce on Fettucine with Baked Eggplant, Roasted Zucchini, and Carmelized Onions.  

 

FPflowerBoxALynn thought her homemade pasta did indeed taste very fresh and she's a dried pasta officianado. We were both somewhat surprised at the dicing and mincing of the ingredients, which made it difficult to recognize in the entrée. F&P owner Jonathan came by our table to inquire about our lunch. When Lynn mentioned the 'scrimping' of ingredients, he said he was catering to the college customers across the street.

 

FPgarlicGreenOasts

For my Italian have-it-my-way lunch I selected the Dreamy Cream Sauce with multiple Italian spices including garlic, and oregano, on radiatore pasta.  I included prosciutto ham as an additional ingredient. Unfortunately, like Lynn's ingredients, the special think sliced ham was cut into very tiny pieces. Being a large GLOB Master with a large mouth and used to taking large bites, at 75 cents an ingredient topping, I would have enjoyed more 'flavor bang" for my three quarters of a dollar.  Also, radiatore is very dense.  Neither Lynn or I would get that one again.

 

ForkPastaArIimageThere is a complete Fork and Pasta menu at the restaurant link below.

Overall, we had a good lunch experience. The Fork & Pasta will do well in the middle of Midtown. I am going back for a different noodle and sauce lunch. I liked the way F&P Staffer Chris Robles (left in image at top) made the dining room comfortable. The art, plants, symmetry of the design enhanced the ambience and the tables actually have quotes on them, all giving me much to think about while waiting for my lunch.

Plus, I still have the homemade ravioli to look forward too.

The Pluses and Minuses of Fork & Pasta

Fork & Pasta + indicators : Sauce choices availability a nice change

Fork & Pasta - indicators:  Could be a little more generous with added ingredients.

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Valentine lunch suggestion

FTmenuBRDSThere is something about walking into the Fat Tuscan Café that makes your body go, "aaahhh . . ." It's like stepping into Mama Michele's home for a good lunch, conversation and a wonderful respite from the outside world. It was the White Apron Catering Queen's birthday day lunch and she was pleased about making the FTC our lunch spot. I quickly made it clear that I always order the Fromage Au Trois grilled cheese sandwich (please see below.) Jules chose the Prosciutto Sandwich that includes Prosciutto, pears, brie and arugula lightly dressed with house vinaigrette on ciabatta bread. Fat Tuscan's owner Michelle Rotinna stopped by our table to wish Jules a happy birthday and was proud of the fact that she is very particular about her prosciutto. "I search out and buy only the best prosciutto because good ham is important to this sandwich," Michele said. Jules and I shared our sandwiches so we could have our own Fat Tuscan Italian sandwich taste test. The Prosciutto Sandwich was spectacular with so many textures and flavors. The GLOB Master isn't big on sweet items in his savory lunch entrees, Today there were slices of pear in the sandwich that opened my eyes to a startling flavor surprise. The brie was a nice addition of mellow, chewy flavor tucked between the yummy prosciutto, pears and vinaigrette. it was fun enjoying the different textures of the ciabatta roll, and panini bread.  The Prosciutto Sandwich was very good, and Michele reminded me that the PS is a popular Fat Tuscan lunch choices. For all the reasons mentioned below I still think the Fromage Au Trois is one of the better grilled cheese sandwiches in Gainesville. OMG! This sandwich, the Fat Tuscan Café is a wonderful lunch stop!  I love menu boards, they would make a great subject for a photographical essay. 

- GLOB Master

FT makes for a nice lunchtime European diversion

> Mission Epicurious: Fat Tuscan Candlelight Dinner

By Lynn Dirk, GLOB Correspondent

Editor's Note:  The Gainesville Lunch Out Blog is suggesting it's favorite lunch spots for a cozy, intimate, loving lunch hour. 

FatTuscan1stStOn the northern edge of downtown on 8th Avenue sits a wood frame house painted a beautiful deep orange-yellow color. It has stained glass windows and a brick courtyard with a gurgling fountain and just the right amount of sun and shade. This is the place for a lunch that will make you feel as if you have truly escaped from the stresses of the American work place to an authentic European café. Not only that, the food is very good. Especially the dessert, but that comes last!

I have been to The Fat Tuscan several times now and the food has been consistently good. In my book, that is the highest compliment I can pay a restaurant. There are salads, sandwiches, soups and the last time I was there, quiche was a special item. Even though I expect the food at the FT to be good, I was surprised by just how good the quiche was – it had the consistency of flan and a rich flavor was diffused throughout the quiche. Maybe that had something to do with the addition of brie, a French cheese favorite of mine.

FTsSaladTheir salads add just a few more ingredients than the usual The Eggplant Caprese salad, on the other hand, is very simple, but all the better for that. The same approach applies to the sandwiches – for instance the Turkey Baguette includes cucumbers as well as avocado and fontina cheese and the Ham and Cheese Panini includes roast apple-mustard and arugula.

FT has a unique approach to soup: 3 choices – Large Bowl, Small Bowl, or Cup. I LOVE soup but so far have not had theirs. That will be high on my list when I next lunch there, and I'll be sure to let you know how that goes via an additional comment below.

And the best thing of all is the Chocolate Panini for dessert, a heated and pressed concoction that combines chocolate hazelnut spread with marscapone cheese. The powdered sugar sprinkled on top seems to actually add something as well. When you have had a REALLY bad morning – just go there and have this sweet panini for lunch. It will warm your heart.

FTjulesROOMEating inside the restaurant is as nice as eating outside – the décor is warm and homey with beautiful wood and stained glass and, since this is an old restored house, there are actual dining rooms.

The prices are comparable to similar restaurants (Wine and Cheese Gallery and The Paramount). The salads range from $3.75 for a small house salad to 12.75 for a Salad Nicoise that includes seared tuna and imported Nicoise olives (with pits, the menu notes). The sandwiches range from $7.50 for the Grilled Vegetable, which includes gruyere cheese, to $9.75 for Antipasto Sandwich on Ciabatta or for Prosciutto Sandwich, which includes pears, brie, and arugula.

fatsuscanLOGOThe Fat Tuscan seems to have it all -- food well made with special ingredients in a setting that is relaxing, warm, and visually pleasing.

The Pluses and Minuses of the Fat Tuscan Cafe.

The + Indicators: Consistent food and a parking lot!

The - Indicators: Servings tend to be smallish. Actually that's a plus -- I have left satisfied but not stuffed! Prices are little high but probably comparable to similar restaurants.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about the Fat Tuscan Cafe.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!

FTfornmageAyTroi

I was meeting Gainesville's PRO iNK's Director of Operations and new friend, Elayana Rexrode, for lunch and this was Ms. Rexrode's first visit to the Fat Tuscan Café. I was happy to find the FT's signature lunch item, the Fromage a Trois Panini, on their menu and thought this would be a great lunch for this day and also next time I was looking for a Meatless Monday lunch. Elayna was quick to point out she was a salad-for-lunch GLOBer and selected the FT's Tropical Salad.  Elayna described the salad:  "The crisp greens, chilled shrimp and abundance of feta cheese crumbles were perfectly fresh and delightful. The dressing was light, but full of flavor that did not overpower the salad ingredients. The Fat Tuscan atmosphere was very conducive to a nice conversation with the Glob Master -- you didn't have to shout to hear each other."   My Formage a Troi – I love to hear myself say that – was an extraordinary grilled cheese sandwich of gruyere, fontina, brie, roasted tomato, and sautéed shallots on grilled panini bread and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Not to sound like the UF Gators Mick Huber but, Oh my. The cheese blended to a rich, melted, flavorful concoction of gooeyness shrouding grilled, juicy tomatoes and sautéed shallots. The piece de resistance to my French café lunch masterpiece was the balsamic reduction that added a distinct, subtle, flair of sweetness with every toasted bite. Uh huh! Bon ami mademoiselle! Fat Tuscan owner Michelle Rotinna stopped at our table to say hello and share some great stories about her month long vacation to the Czech Republic. Michelle said the Fromage a Trois Panini as a Meatless Monday wasn't a good idea since the Fat Tuscan is closed on Mondays . . .

- GLOB Master

By Lynn Dirk, GLOB Correspondent

Editor's Note: Lynn Dirk is an administrator in the US Department of Veterans Affairs Brain Rehabilitation Research Center and a devout enthusiast of all food things healthy.

 

On the northern edge of downtown on 8th Avenue sits a wood frame house painted a beautiful deep orange-yellow color.  It has stained glass windows and a brick courtyard with a gurgling fountain and just the right amount of sun and shade.  This is the place for a lunch that will make you feel as if  you have truly escaped from the stresses of the American work place to an authentic European café.  Not only that, the food is very good.  Especially the dessert, but that comes last!

 

I have been to The Fat Tuscan several times now and the food has been consistently good.  In my book, that is the highest compliment I can pay a restaurant.  There are salads, sandwiches, soups and the last time I was there, quiche was a special item.  Even though I expect the food at the FT to be good, I was surprised by just how good the quiche was – it had the consistency of flan and a rich flavor was diffused throughout the quiche.  Maybe that had something to do with the addition of brie. 

 

Their salads add just a few more ingredients than the usual   The Eggplant Caprese salad, on the other hand, is very simple, but all the better for that.  The same approach applies to the sandwiches – for instance the Turkey Baguette includes cucumbers as well as avocado and fontina cheese and the Ham and Cheese Panini includes roast apple-mustard and arugula. 

 

And the best thing of all is the Chocolate Panini for dessert, a heated and pressed concoction that combines chocolate hazelnut spread with marscapone cheese. The powdered sugar sprinkled on top seems to actually add something as well.  When you have had a REALLY bad morning – just go there and have this sweet panini for lunch.  It will warm your heart. 

 

FT has a unique approach to soup:  3 choices – Large Bowl, Small Bowl, or Cup.  I LOVE soup but so far have not had theirs.  That will be high on my list when I next lunch there, and I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes via an additional comment below.

 

Eating inside the restaurant is as nice as eating outside – the décor is warm and homey with beautiful wood and stained glass and, since this is an old restored house, there are actual dining rooms. 

 

The prices are comparable to similar restaurants (Wine and Cheese Gallery and The  Paramount).  The salads range from $3.75 for a small house salad to 12.75 for a Salad Nicoise that includes seared tuna and imported Nicoise olives (with pits, the menu notes).  The sandwiches range from $7.50 for the Grilled Vegetable, which includes gruyere cheese, to $9.75 for Antipasto Sandwich on Ciabatta or for Prosciutto Sandwich, which includes pears, brie, and arugula.

 

The Fat Tuscan seems to have it all -- food well made with special ingredients in a setting that is relaxing, warm, and visually pleasing. 

 

The Pluses and Minuses of the Fat Tuscan Cafe

The + Indicators: Consistent food and a parking lot!

The - Indicators:  Servings tend to be smallish.  Actually that’s a plus -- I have left satisfied but not stuffed!  Prices are little high but probably comparable to similar restaurants 

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I love N. Y. Pizza

Choices abound at Haile Market pizza shop

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

A lunch time statement that I hear a lot is, You can tell how good a restaurant is by the number of government vehicles in the parking lot.

I was out at the Haile Market Place Shopping Center to have lunch with former GLOB staffers Tonya Upton and Kendall Crews when I noticed several men with hard hats and fluorescent vests walking in and out of I Love New York Pizza.

Many more workmen were at the tables inside and standing at the counter surveying the menu.

For a narrow, busy pizza palace, this family-owned lunch stop has a menu of broad lunch choices:  salads (7), pizzas (20), sub sandwiches(10), strombolis, calzones, and Italian entrees.  NYP also has appetizers, kids meals and desserts.  You can find a NYP menu at the restaurant web link below.

At this lunch outing, the NYP was also touting a special called 20-Sausage Bite, which is deep fried sausage with a choice of sauce. The sausage bites looked pretty good to the GLOB Master.

Phew! With all those different items available you would think the kitchen was larger than the dining room.

The GLOB Staffers placed our order and when we were done I was thinking we ordered a lot of food.

 

NYPpizza

Tonya and Kendall both ordered pizza from the pans sitting at the counter. Kendall selected the pepperoni and Tonya picked the Margharita slice with crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, garlic, and fresh basil (right).

Tonya and Kendall approached their pizza cautiously and both agreed pizza was a good choice and did a good job of consuming the very large slice.

 

NYPgardenSalad

Tonya liked her salad, "It is the perfect portion for a salad,"Upton said.

Kendall also ordered 10 chicken wings.  She said the wings were tasty but they could have had a little spice added to them.

 

NYPwings

No one has called the GLOB Master a picky eater but I am always a little leery of pizza that has been sitting around for who knows how long. I opted for the antipasta salad with ham, salami, pepperoni, provolone, and giardinera vegetables (top picture).

My salad was very good and the Giardinera vegetables were a very, spicy, pickled addition to my salad, which was a good size with rolled slices of meat and cheese. As we took our trays to the disposal area at the end of the meal, I surveyed the remains of my lunch partners' entrees and surmised my salad was a good selection.

 

NYPyogurt1

"Have you ever been to the Sweet Frog Yogurt Shop Mike?" Kendall asked with a look of anticipation. "They have really good frozen yogurt." She added.

I mentioned I thought dessert sounded like a good idea and Kendall was on her bike heading across the parking lot to the big-eyed, pink & green soft serve world of have it your way.

I should have included chocolate somewhere in that last description since Kendall went for the chocolate frozen yogurt with chocolate brownie pieces. The frozen dessert was awesome and Kendall left two bites for her mother.

 

NYPyogurt

I can see why the NYP has a good following of regulars with ample portions and the wide menu selection. The GLOB Master will continue his process of elimination on his next visit searching for the ultimate I Love N Y Pizza lunch.

The Pluses and Minuses of I love N Y Pizza

I love N Y Pizza + indicators : Quick service, broad menu. Kendall's wings looked good, and my antipasta salad was very good.

I love N Y Pizza - indicators: I don't know about pizza that's been sitting on a counter for an extended period of time .

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Francesca's Trattoria

Style, class, really good homemade sausage

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

FrancescasWINEglassIn the GLOB Master's opinion, Francesca's Trattoria, off of NW 43rd St., is one of the nicer lunch stops in the Urban GLOB. Five star style, attentive servers, fresh made and home style fabulously delicious Italian cuisine:

STYLE: As the doors open into Francesca's, you are swept into a world of white table cloths, cloth napkins, and water in glass stemware that has me thinking, "I'm not in Gainesville anymore."

PROFESSIONAL SERVICE/ATTENTION: The quick-to-attend-to-your-needs wait staff is always smiling, ready to make your lunch special.

JUST LIKE MOMMA'S: With homemade sauces, breads, and incredible sausage, the Francesca's kitchen staffers works make the lunch hour a piesano, Italian-style, homemade experience.

Do I sound excited about having lunch with good friend and SweetBerries Eatery and Frozen Custard co-owner, Jane Osmond, and GLOB Content Editor, Lynn Dirk?

I was excited even though I'm not the biggest fan of Italian cuisine. When the idea of pasta, marinara sauce, and parmesan cheese comes up in relation to lunch, I always remind myself that there are a lot of Italian dishes that don't include pasta and tomato sauce.

The Francesca's lunch menu lists salads, paninis, pasta, and specialties. There is even a lunch Wine Special of a glass of Chardonnay, Cabernet or Chianti for $5. There is a note on the summer menu that you can get 15% off individual carryout orders, which expires 9-30-17. There is a lunch menu link at the bottom of this page.

Jane and Lynn were both considering sandwiches with Francesca's home baked bread that had me pining for the good ol' days of eating all the bread I wanted.:(  The Francesca's lunch paninis are served on artisan bread with a choice of Italian fries, homemade soup, or salad.

 

FranscescasJANE480

Jane quickly selected the Panini Caprese for her Italian mid-day meal. This veggie sandwich sounded exquisite being served toasted with melted buffalo mozzarella, local vine-ripened tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves ($10.25).

 

FranscescSAMMYflopped

Captain Dirk went the route of the Francesca's Sausage Parmesan Panini with homemade sausage baked with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella ($10.50). I suggest you be sure to add grilled onions and peppers to your sub for $2 to make it special.

Francesca's homemade sausage is unique with a generous addition of fennel and when I got to taste some of Lynn's sandwich, it elicited memories of the last time I enjoyed this most excellent, glorious homemade bread submarine sandwich.

 

FranscescasPESTO600

The Pesto Grilled Chicken was my red sauce- and pasta-less lunch. The chicken breast was tasty and special being grilled and treated with basil, pine nut, Parmesan cheese, and extra virgin olive oil pesto. My lunch was served with a side of sautéed seasonal vegetables ($13,95).

The flavors of the chicken breast seasoning were bold and rich. I was pleased the chef had not gone the current route of bigger portions are better portions. My lunch portion was the perfect size for this used-to-be extra-large all-you- can eat diner.

Lynn enjoyed her sausage sub and side salad, which was a very generous portion. She was surprised that the sausage was very soft and it reminded her of meatloaf, which she loves.

"You have taken this new diabetes diet seriously haven't you," Jane said noticing the left over sausage sandwich bread on my plate.

"It's been 13 months since my diagnosis," I said thinking about the question.

"Any more, ignoring all the amazingly tasty carbohydrates every day is almost automatic. It is longingly painful at times and I do feel like a food martyr wondering if it's better to be the food hammer or the noodle nail."

The Pluses and Minuses of Francesca's Trattoria:

The Francesca's + Indicators: Very special lunch ambience, they serve brunch on weekends, authentic Italian cuisine.

The Francesca's - Indicators: A lbit pricey for an everyday lunch

 

 

FrancescasTOPPer

Panini featured in fine dining lunch

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

FrancescasI just had a Northern Italy home cooked lunch of a sausage, peppers and onion panini made with homemade ciabatta bread, homemade tomato sauce with tons of halved cherry tomatoes, and some of the best Italian sausage packed with spicy fennel seed I have ever eaten.

This five-star sandwich wasn't served to me on plastic plates or wrapped in paper with somefranchise logo stamped all over it.

I was enjoying my lunch time surprise at the fine dining restaurant Francesca's Trattoria off of NW 43rd St, behind the Zaxby's fried chicken shack.

Excuse me for sounding excited, but this lunch was unexpectedly remarkable.  Plus they have an unbelievable Sunday Brunch!

 

FransDiningRoom

Walking into Francesca's from the noon day heat, I was pleased with the subdued setting that lay before me. The darker than normal lighting combined with rows of tastefully appointed tables ready for lunch time guests and with starched yellow tables cloths and burgundy napkins. The several rows of geometrically aligned dining tables in front of me gave the impression of lunch time elegance.

My friendly waiter expertly assisted me with my lunch time dilemma of whether I should have the lasagna or the sausage panini. A knowing glance from my server made it clear that the panini was the better choice. And was he ever correct.

The Francesca's Trattoria lunch special is a free salad included with any Panini sandwich choice. I chose the house salad of mixed greens lightly tossed with tomatoes, olives, red onions, and pepperoncini and a side of creamy Italian dressing. The salad delivered an excellent assortment of flavors and textures.

 

FransPaniniA

My panini was served in halves with tomato sauce, peppers, onions and sausage overflowing the sides of very softly toasted, freshly baked ciabatta. After picking up this juicy, fennel-laden sausage concoction, I realized that eating an open face approach was a better idea if I didn't want to wear tomato sauce the remainder of the day.

The abundance of flavors heightened by perfect amounts of spices in my sausage sandwich made me eat slower than usual so I could enjoy this culinary experience to the max.

Francesca's Italian sausage is the best sausage I have eaten in quite some time.

There isn't a lot of heat in this protein. However, with the dominant presence of fennel seed, I wanted to eat more, and more, and more of this delightful other white meat.

Did I say this was an excellent lunch?

I'm going back to Francesca's Trattoria soon. I make an excellent lasagna that includes sausage and ground beef. I'm eager to try FT's lasagna and see how it compares with mine.

Francesca's also has a brick oven pizza that I plan to try.

So let's see. I invite two friends for lunch and I order the lasagna. I talk my two friends into ordering pizza and a Sausage sandwich. Then we can have a sharing party.

Yeah, that's the ticket. Paninis, pizzas, and lasagna for lunch. That sounds like an extended lunch hour that will be elegant and remarkable.

The Pluses and Minuses of Francesca's Trattoria:

The Francesca's + Indicators: Five star lunch with authentic homemade ingredients

The Francesca's - Indicators: A little pricier than some places, but worth every penny of your lunch money.

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Amelia's

AmeliasEggplantFormer White Apron Catering Queen, and good friend, Jules Gollner thinks Amelia's Italian Cuisine in Downtown Gainesville is one her favorite lunch stops. "Chef Andy does a magnificent job of preparation, professional presentation and really good Italian food," Jules said.  Chef Andy greeted us this lunch hour with a cordial smile and the suggestion I should try the Shrimp Fra Diavolo. The Chef was quick to point out the Fra Diavolo was on the spicier side of the menu. That's all right with the GLOB Master, my lunch consisted of fresh jumbo shrimp sauteed with garlic and spicy marinara sauce, served over linguini. The shrimp and the sauce were spicy, and they melded for a piquant, full. hearty flavor and crunch. My lunch was a three spotter lunch. Well I did have three nice tomato stains on my shirt after noon day meal. Jules always get the Eggplant Parmesan, image at right. Her lunch was a very nice presentation of thinly sliced eggplant layered and baked with Amelia's house sauce and cheeses. Jule's thought the lunch was excellent but with a little too much of the house sauce. BTW Zucherro's 'Diavolo in me' is an interesting music compliment to the Shrimp Fra Diavolo.

- GLOB Master

 

Friends, Italian cuisine create fun lunch!

zzGLOBbullet The GLOB's Eating Adventurer's Family comes to Gainesville and she is excted about showing off Amelia's popular Italiano menu to her mother.

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

My roots in Gainesville go way back in time to when the Gainesville Sun was actually located in the buildings where the Sun Center downtown resides. So when someone makes a suggestion about lunch in that very location, I jump at the opportunity.

Good friend, and former White Apron Catering Queen Jules Gollner, deciding Amelia's Cucina Casalinga in the Sun Center behind the Hippodrome would be our lunch spot, let me know in no uncertain terms that Amelia's knows how to cook Italian cuisine.

AmeliasSFAmbience, good conversation, and a friendly setting are a large part of a good lunch outing in the GLOB Master's book. So for the sake of those advantages, I was ready to look another plate of tomato sauce, cheese, and penne pasta square in the eye.

Executive Chef and owner Chef Andy Fass has been overseeing what is considered one of Gainesville's flagship restaurants since 2007.

After finishing law school at the University of Florida, Chef Andy decided concocting culinary delights was his forte, not stewing over lengthy legal proceedings. Andy the proceeded to enroll in the New England Culinary Institute.

As the executive Chef of Amelia's, Chef Andy was excited about interpreting classic Italian dishes with his own cooking style, which consists of adding freshness and a healthier meatless approach to a casually elegant dining atmosphere.  The Amelia's menu can viewed at the restaurant link below this feature.

 

ameliaPATIO

With fans circulating the air comfortably on Amelia's front patio, we decided to lunch outside and observe folks meandering around the sidewalk that circles around the Hippodrome theater.

 

AmeliasSALADS

Jules and I started off lunch by sharing a Pompeii Salad, which consisted of romaine lettuce, Roma tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, olives, marinated vegetables. The salad was bright, fresh and seasoned perfectly with a light Italian vinaigrette. There was just enough dressing left on my salad plate, that I could enjoy it on some of the different breads and rolls in our bread basket. In particular, there were toasted sundried tomato bread slices in the basket that worked splendidly for mopping up the remaining dressing.

I recognized the entrees on Amelia's menu as many of the same entrees I have experienced in past Italian cafes. Jules selected the Eggplant Parmigiana: Thinly sliced eggplant layered and baked with house sauce and cheeses.

 

AmeliasEntrees

Noticing that the focus of the Chicken Parmigiana , bottom left in photo at right, was a large breast of chicken breaded and baked with house sauce, parmesan, and mozzarella cheese, I decided to give this chicken and house sauce a try.

I think I picked a winner here at ACL. The house sauce was very good – the flavor of the tomatoes was distinct and the red orb's acidic juices nicely married with the accent of herbs. The bread basket again provided assistance as I used another piece of bread to clean around the edges of my plate. The star of my lunch was the very plump, tender, juicy chicken breast that seemed to have absorbed the flavors of the house sauce.

Jules's eggplant parm won the award for VILE, as in "Visually Impressive Lunch Entree." You could see the lightly fried eggplant layered between cheese and house sauce in a beautiful impressionistic image of what an Italian lunch should be all about.

Jules and I shared our entrees. The eggplant was really good; I could taste the flavor of the eggplant and the crispiness of the battered crust.

The chicken breast, however, won the Italian taste test for me. All the flavors blended into a experience that had me shouting . . . bellamissio!

 

ameliascucumber

Chef Andy joined us and we had a good discussion about the Gainesville food world from the perspective of food people living the business of creating epicurean wonders. (I'm talking about Andy and Jules talking shop, not me.) Jule's mother must have not explained the 'don't play with your food' rule to her because she visually displayed her idea of a perfect cucumber sandwich to us with her leftovers.

I might have talked Chef Andy into gracing the pages of the GLOB with a story from time to time about how his impression of the Gainesville food scene. That would be a plus for the GLOB, and GLOBers.

This was an excellent lunch. The food was excellently prepared. Amelia's house sauce and bread basket were a most excellent accompaniment to some very well done Italian lunch entrees.

The Pluses and Minuses of Amelia's:

Amelia's + indicators: Attention to detail, fresh ingredients and a contemporary approach to excellent cuisine.

Amelia's - indicators: None noted. This was a perfect lunch with good food and excellent company.

 

LynnBirthday

Celebrating with an Italian dinner & movie

It was a birthday celebration for Gainesville Lunch Out Blog Staffer, Lynn Dirk, and her choice was dinner and a movie downtown. It was Amelia's Fine Italian Cuisine for dinner on the patio where the GLOB Content Editor dined on Suprema di Pollo Inverno (boneless checken breast with artichokes, capers, white wine, and lemon). Good friend and Cinema Verde Film Festival Director Trish Riley joined in the festivities and dined on Fettuccini Alfredo (fettuccini with parmesan cream sauce). The GLOB Master enjoyed a delicious Scaloppine Pizzaiola (veal scaloppini, peppers, mushrooms, and olives in an extraordinarily flavorful tomato and red pepper sauce). The dinner was topped off with a birthday surprise of Amelia's Chef Andy presenting the birthday GLOBer with a slice of birthday pumpkin cheesecake and a solo saxophone serenade of Happy Birthday. After dinner this birthday bunch adjourned to the Hippodrome State Theater to watch Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci, and Jeremy Irons in the Wall Street disaster movie Margin Call, a compelling fictionalized portrayal of internal discovery of self made disaster and the subsequent salvage scramble, you could say it was a case of "If it's broke, let the brokers fix it by breaking it some more." The "Occupiers" might actually be on to something.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Amelia's.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS

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