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Saboré, CLOSED: Jan. 2018

Sabore pushes past brunch expectations

By: Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

brunchCHEFOver a year ago I dined at Sabore for the first time. It was a Tuesday night — a predominantly empty dining room bursting with color greeting my party of two—and I had only heard high praise about the restaurant boasting international cuisine and an innovative tapas menu. I had witnessed Sabore's Chef Valero in action at the 2014 Gainesville Iron Chef competition during the Taste of Gainesville event earlier in the year, and I was eager to try the winner's cuisine myself. To make a long story short, it did not disappoint. In fact, it blew even my high expectations out of the water.

SaboreSFImagine my delight when Sabore announced they would be serving brunch on the weekends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. If any of my previous articles have surmised one thing, to put it mildly, I am a huge fan of brunch. I could only dream of the culinary masterpieces Chef Valero would have on his menu, mainly because the brunch menu isn't posted online.

Nevertheless, I was ready to have my taste buds blown away once more. I do realize I set very high expectations, but I was confident in Sabore's capabilities.

The nudge to finally make the trek up to the Tioga Town Center, however, is mainly due to none other than my dining companion, Ken of the popular local food blog Ken Eats Gainesville. He had been to this brunch and posted some scrumptious-looking photos on his Instagram page, so I already had a few images to hold me over and enough anticipation to make the drive more than worth it.



Upon arrival on a sunny Gainesville Saturday at 11 a.m., it was very similar to my first experience at Sabore: A dimly-lit, deep red room opened up into only a few tables occupied, only this time we were greeted with some Christmas decorations. Ken and I were ushered to a large booth, complete with plush red seats and iPads for menus.

300SyrupA server was quick to arrive at the table, followed shortly by a personal greeting from Chef Valero himself. He bustled about the dining room, cradling black truffles to be freshly grated to this table and special maple syrup to that table. Luckily, we were one of those syrup stops, as a plate of freshly-made in-house brioche French toast aptly named "mon dieu what a French toast!" arrived to the table, garnished with a few "healthy things," as Ken put it a.k.a. fruit. The brioche was very light, but had a slight crispness to the outside that kept it all together. Well, it was the syrups—yes, that is plural—that truly made the seemingly simple dish come alive. The first special one, a thicker, almost balsamic-like Deseve Birch Nectar syrup, was certainly richer and more viscous than I was used to (although truth be told I use Aunt Jemima at home so this was out of my league). The second was the restaurant's "everyday" Gold Maple Syrup with a texture more in-tune with syrups I typically use on breakfast foods, but this one had an almost pure, semi-sweet flavor. The third was a very special syrup that was aged for so long the consistency was only slightly thicker than water. All were absolutely worth every douse.

The Basque Omelet with shrimp seemed like a relatively safe, yet appetizing meal option, but my heart was set on two of the meals Ken raved about from previous dining: the Bombenedictine, $12, and the Duck French Toast, $23. Let's start with the benedict, image at top if this review,  because the name speaks for itself: This truly was the of benedicts. The chorizo hollandaise spread generously over two well-cooked, poached eggs was not overly rich, even with the addition of a thick layer of pork sausage and scalloped potatoes that created the base for the meat-lovers breakfast. It was probably my overall favorite dish of the day. That is not to say the Duck French Toast wasn't an other-worldly experience in and of itself, or at least that of another country. In fact, it took me back to Paris where I enjoyed more Foie Gras, creamy sauces, and bread than I care to share. One fork swipe of the duck egg yolk and the yolk-fall quickly ran down the length of that fluffy brioche French toast slab. The duck meat perched atop was just the right size for the extremely rich taste of it. However, it wasn't until Chef Valero arrived to the table once more with a small honey pot of truffle honey that he proceeded to drizzle over top that sealed the deal. I was glad to be sharing this dish with Ken, as I can't imagine having it as my sole entrée mainly due to how flavor-rich it was.

As if the mounds of carefully-crafted brunch fare wasn't enough, Ken and I felt a seemingly simple order of churros with chocolate sauce would be a welcome conclusion to one of the most decadent brunches I have ever consumed. As soon as the tray of churros arrived, I was immediately drawn to the thick coating of sugar around the crispy fried dough. The sous chef informed us that it was actually vanilla bean-infused sugar, just in case we made the mistake of thinking this was a typically-made churro. Ken's first reaction to the sauce was that it tasted like everyone's childhood favorite Ovaltine chocolate powder mix. I thought it tasted pretty close to what a hot chocolate sauce would be. The server confirmed it was not Ovaltine, for the record.



I think I prepared myself so well for how intense of a brunch experience this would be that I paced myself to not being overly full. That, or the richness of the food almost forced me to portion out each dish more frugally. Next on the list — because there will absolutely be another visit in the near future — is the Huevos Estrellados, mainly because of the generous portion of Iberico ham nesting the eggs, which Ken claims is delicious ham. I stand by my previous Sabore write-up when I say that the chef has truly created an "alluring ambiance and an unforgettable menu." If you ask me, Sabore's attention to detail, from the atmosphere to the dining options to the service, is unparalleled against any other dining establishment in town.

The Pluses and Minuses of Saboré:

Saboré (+) indicators: Brunch available every Saturday and Sunday, somewhat pricey but value worth the price tag, completely unique menu, more standard brunch options also available, friendly service, accommodating and involved chef, great ambiance for any occasion, good portion sizes, attention to detail.

Saboré (-) indicators: Slightly out of the way in Tioga, prices not conducive to a regular dining option if looking to eat cheaper.

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




S. Beach decor, style, highlight lunch experience

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

The GLOB Editor headed out to West Gainesville last Saturday to see what all the excitement was about with the new restaurant called Saboré in the Town of Tioga shopping area.

SaboreSFWith Miami-backing, Executive Chef and Co-Owner, William "Willy" Hernandez, has created a contemporary, very stylish restaurant that is visually stunning to the eye. Mr. Hernandez has put a lot of thought and detail into the design of this very large dining area.

The Saboré website is representative of their style and has many photos of the restaurant and their food.

Their menu touts a world fusion theme combining dishes, "from countries such as Peru, Japan, Greece and Italy."

I was there for the weekend brunch menu that included some very interesting egg and breakfast entrees in the $10 range including:

zzGLOBbullet Tomato, basil & bufala mozzarella frittata

zzGLOBbullet Poached eggs, spinach on toast

zzGLOBbullet Saboré eggs Benedict, crab cake, asparagus

The breakfast choices caught my eye, however I have a hard time paying $10 for an egg entree.

Going for the lunch menu, my friend Lynn was riding the horns of a lunchtime dilemma: Crab Cake Salad, which included organic mixed greens and a honey mustard dressing, or Crispy Duck Salad, which included almond-coated duck strips, mixed greens, mandarin oranges, and honey sesame seed vinaigrette.

SaboreDUCKsaladThe Crispy Duck salad won out, and Lynn was presented with a salad that look appetizing but also quite elegant with strands of cabbage circling lightly around the top and pieces of crispy fried duck peeking out around the sides (or should I say Peking?).

Besides salads, Saboré has an extensive list of sandwiches from which I selected the Naked Grilled Chicken sandwich. My sandwich contained buffalo chicken, mozzarella, romaine lettuce, crispy bacon strips (except for one bite that was not so crispy), and herb aioli sauce. Does anyone know what buffalo chicken is? I think that is a menu error and probably should read buffalo mozzarella. The sandwich comes with a side order of home fries. The Saboré fries reminded me of McDonalds fries to be honest. Lynn thought they were very good and crispier and lighter than McDonald's fries.

The soft roll that the sandwich came on added an interesting texture combined with the other ingredients. The melted mozzarella cheese was a very nice accompaniment to the breast of chicken.

Lynn was happy with her lunch salad. The coating on the duck was very crispy and the duck itself tasty. If Lynn had read the NYT story I had read earlier in the day, she would have paraphrased the best line of that story and declared, "Winner, Winner, Duck Dinner!" Sorry I just had to use that line for some reason.



As usual, Lynn and I happily split our lunches so we could taste what each other ordered. Lynn thought the bread on the sandwich was rather ordinary and the amount of ingredients a little skimpy except for the tomatoes and the bacon, but then bacon has a very strong flavor. She preferred her salad.

Toward the end of our lunch, Lynn offered back to me the remaining portion of the Chicken sandwich she couldn't finish. Another standard lunch practice. Taking a bite of her-half-of-my- sandwich, I exclaimed, "Your sandwich is better than mine!" My half had been drier. "I didn't get any herb aioli sauce on my half of the sandwich," I said in a disappointed voice.

Spreading sauce on the entire sandwich is a small detail I guess. If I had eaten the entire sandwich MAYBE I wouldn't have noticed the difference.

Walking to the car after lunch, I summarized my Saturday lunch experience. "The next time I am driving this far for lunch I am going to the Blue Highway for pizza."

The Pluses and Minuses of Saboré:

Saboré (+) indicators: Decor, style and a very diverse menu

Saboré (-) indicators: Saboré identifies themselves as a haute cuisine restaurant. But the quality is uneven. Perhaps a little more focus on the food might be in order to attain five star status. Also, our waiter was perfunctory. Lynn wanted to ask him how long the restaurant had been open and twice she wasn't fast enough. She did finally get an answer – about 2 months later.

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


2015 Restaurant News

Chicken Salad Chick opens on SW 34th St.

December 9, 2015 – Chicken Salad Chick has opened adjacent to Earth Fare in the University Towne Center on SW 34th St. Specializing in 15 different kinds of chicken salad, including Cranberry Kelly and Jalapeno Holly. There are also four different deli sandwiches available, including a pimento Cheese for $5.95. Chicken Salad Chick has four Specials including soup and a half of sandwich for $6.95. Gainesville Chicken Salad Chick owner is Mark Singletary. His daughter introduced him to the Chicken Salad Chick and, "after a good bit of conversation, I decided that buying a Chicken Salad Chick franchise and opening a restaurant in Gainesville was exactly the way I wanted to spend the rest of my life." His daughter and her husband, Lauryn and Cope Smith, thought it was a good idea too, and they are now CSC Gainesville business partners.


BurgerQue Opens in Midtown, A Perfect Pie relocates to Oaks Mall

BurgerQueSFNovember 23, 2015 - Hand pattied burgers, fresh ingredients, house smoked BBQ, and craft beers are the hallmarks of BurgerQue next to Bagel & Noodles near the corner of University Avenue and 13th St. Touting 11 hamburgers, eight BBQ sandwiches, "little burgers," and hot dogs, this lunch stop also serves wings, salads, wraps, malts and shakes, and breakfast all day according to the BurgerQue Ft. Myers menu. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more BurgerQue information.



A Perfect Pie, which first opened recently on Waldo Rd., closed that pickup and delivery stand in NE Gainesville and relocated to the Oaks Mall. According to A Perfect Pie owner, Charles Germond, APP is ready to show off his secret family recipe for fresh pizza dough and unique Italian pizza sauce. "This is the best NY Style pizza you will find in Gainesville," says D.M., restaurant manager. The complete Perfect Pie menu is available at the Mall and includes several Italian entrees, salads, subs, and wings. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more A Perfect Pie information.


Candy's opens on SW 20th Ave

CANDYsSFzNonember 18, 2015 - Candy's Latin Restaurant is one of several Latin food stops that have appeared in this strip shopping center over the years. According to the Candy's menu, Latin American food is servied "like your mom and grandma do it." Featuring 12 entrees, (Flatos Especiales), including a stir fried beef and ground beef arepas, Candy's also has five seafood entrees (Mariscos) that include shrimp, tilapia, snapper, and mojarra. Candy's serves beer, wine, natural juices, and milk shakes (Batidos). You will also find empanadas, soft shell tacos, and eight different kinds of arepas. The 12 side orders include both red beans and black beans, plaintains, and yucca. This Latin lunch stop opens at noon. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more Candy's information.


The Sweet Tea opens on E. Univ.  Ave.

REALSweetTeaLOGONovember 9, 2015 – The opening of The Sweet Tea lunch stop in the Sweetwater Branch Inn on East University Avenue almost slipped under the radar of the GLOB's worldwide offices. Open Mon-Fri from 11 am-2 pm, according to the Sweetwater Branch website, "The Sweet Tea is located in the Historic McKenzie House on the property of Sweetwater Branch Inn. Our menu features a New Century Southern Cuisine which includes complimentary boiled peanuts, soups, fresh salads, delicious sandwiches and main dishes, bottomless specialty iced tea, house made sodas and one-of-a-kind desserts." Some menu examples include Cracker Crumb Breaded & Butterfly Fried Shrimp, Country Tomato and Corn Custard Pie, Drunken Blueberry BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich. The Sweet Tea deserves your noon day meal consideration. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more The Sweet Tea information.


New restaurants open in Midtown


November 2, 2015 – Two new restaurants opened recently in Midtown.  One restaurant has taken an alternative approach to lunch and eating healthy, and another is serving up fast-fired pizza in a matter of minutes:

zzGLOBbullet The 3 Natives Acai & Juice Bar, a Florida-based franchise with only 2 other locations so far (Juno and Tequesta), touts an appreciation for lifestyle and protecting the environment. According to their website, "Our organic, cold-pressed juices are always sold in glass bottles, not plastic, and are never watered down or supplemented with sugar, preservatives, or other additives. The Acai Bowls are made with organic acai and granola and topped with the freshest organic fruit that we aim to source locally when available. Acai also offers an assortment of wraps and salads for customers who appreciate fast, healthy food for lunch."  According to the Mayo Clinic website, "Acai berries are widely touted as a so-called superfood, with proponents claiming that they are helpful for a variety of health concerns, including arthritis, weight loss, high cholesterol, erectile dysfunction, skin appearance, detoxification, and general health."

zzGLOBbullet  DRstorefrontA few blocks west and located directly in front of the Burrito Brothers Taco Company, the new Dough Religion spews out 8-inch signature pizzas faster than you can spell f-a-s-t f-i-r-e-d p-i-z-z-a, including The Maize--mozzarella, ham, corn, garlic, ricotta, and kalamata olives, and The Veggie--tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushroom, red onion, zucchini, and hummus. You can also create your own 8-inch pizza for $7.95 out of four different sauces and a straw basket full of toppings including broccolini, capers, and grilled chicken. Dough Religion also has a build-your-own salad bar and Signature Caesar and Pizzeria Salads. For dessert you can try the Sweet Pie Nutella and Banana Pizza. Dough Religion is sharing its Gainesville space with ooZoo bar, which serves craft beer and cocktails and gourmet sandwiches.


Jax's Metro Diner opens on SW 34 St.

October 12, 2015 - From being featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives to winning top restaurant awards year after year, Jacksonville's Metro Diner is where the locals eat. Now Gainesville locals can also order Metro Diner award-winning lunch, breakfast, and dinner entrees at SW 34th St. and SW 20th Ave. Serving a different Daily Special every day for breakfast and lunch. FOLLOW THIS LINK for the Metro Diners Daily Specials.



2nd Cheese Daddy opens on Archer Rd

CheeseDaddyARCHERaSeptember 14, 2015 – Cheese Daddy has opened its second location at 3841 Archer Rd. next to Chipotle. Serving gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, Cheese Daddy owners also have plans to open a third Cheese Daddy on Tower Rd. in the near future. Cheese Daddy offers a variety of standardized sandwich melts on its menu, plus you have the option to create your own cheese sandwich delight. Sandwiches range from $5 to $8, and all sandwiches come with a small portion of tomato basil soup for dipping. Featured among the 10 different cheese melt sandwiches is a Grilled Cheese Doughnut -- a glazed doughnut paired with American cheese. 


Omi's Playa Azul opens in Sun center

OMISsunCENTERsfSeptember 1, 2015 - Omi's Playa Azul is now open in the Sun Center in Downtown Gainesville. Omi Risco who until recently ran Omi's Kitchen in West Gainesville is now specializing in Cuban cuisine with Latin American lunches including sandwiches, soups, and a Cuban lunch buffet for $10.00. Omi's also serves five 'American' lunches for $9.50 including post roast & gravy, meatloaf and gravy, and beef brisket. Chef Risco asked me to let GLOBers know Omi's will be open Saturday night to view the Gator football game with a full Cuban buffet.  Playa Azul translates to blue beach, and Omi's  Playa Azul is planning for a very cool looking blue surface for their wall-to-wall bar.


Hosse's Grill opens in Newberry

090115HgrillAugust 3, 2015: Amy Tillman, the daughter of the creator of the nationally famous Sonny's BBQ chain, Sonny Tillman, has opened her own restaurant in Newberry called Hoss's Grill. One block off of Newberry's main road, Hoss's Grill serves lunch and dinner every day, with Daily Specials and regular menu entrees including hamburgers, fried chicken, chicken wings, and country fried steak. The HG serves breakfast on Sunday from opening until closing at 3 pm.


16th Avenue Diner opens adjacent to NE Park

16thAveDinerAJuly 27, 3015 – After 32 years there are new managers, and owners serving breakfast and lunch on 207 NE 16th Ave, next to NE Park.  New 16th Avenue Diner owner Keith McKinney has a new team of staff and managers ready to take over and welcome all the old Karol & Bill's customers back into one of the more friendly diner's in Hogtown. "We might tweak the menu here, and there," said the new manager. "The big difference is the staff will not be talking any politics or sharing opinions with the 16th Ave. Diner customers.". 16th Avenue Diner is open for breakfast and lunch starting at 7:00 Mon.-Sat.


Wing Stop opens second location in NE

WINSTOPneSFJuly 22, 3015 – The Wing Stop franchise has opened a second wing shop in the old Buddha Belly/Tasty Buddha  location just west of the corner of NW 16th Avenue and North Main St. Selling classic wings, boneless Wings, and chicken strips, the Wing Stop touts 11 different sauces, including Mango Habanero, Louisiana Rub, and Garlic Parmesan. Side orders of fries, beans, and coleslaw are available, and wings can be purchased in combos, family packs, and by the piece. The Wing Stops are open seven days a week from 11 am – 11 pm.


Full service Korean BBQ opens in RPP

BEQUEsfJuly 20, 2015 - BeQue Holic, a full-service Korean barbecue restaurant, opened Monday om 3812 Newberry Road in Royal Park Plaza in the former Stonewood Grill location.  This building  was recently home to Shila Korean BBQ. BeQue Holic does not serve lunch during the week.  BeQue is open on Saturday and Sunday at noon and serves lunch from the dinner menu.  Meals include the option of diners cooking their own meats on a grill in the center of the table. BeQue staff will also help with the cooking according to the restauarant manager. The dining tables include a downdraft system to remove annoying cooking smoke from customers environment. The menu includes three all-you-can-eat options ranging from $23.95 for five meats to $33.95 for 11 meats.



Fork & Pasta opens in Stadium Club building


June 22, 2015 - Fork & Pasta is having their Grand Opening this week. Located at 1800 W. University Ave., Fork & Pasta offers homemade pasta and homemade sauces made daily. You choose a pasta, a sauce, and extras in a fast casual lunch line format much like Chipotle Grill. During the upcoming Grand Opening Week, the F&P is offering free sangria or cappuccino with every meal. F&P staffer, Cris Robles, suggests you give the sweet potato and goat cheese ravioli a try: "I had it for lunch the other day and, oh my gosh, the goat cheese was an amazing flavor." F&P has a pasta machine from Italy and also the F&P creates their own house made sauces, said manager Jennifer Kaiden. Fork & Pasta is open 7 days a week beginning at 10 am for lunch Mon-Fri. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.


Burrito Brothers Taco Co. opens in new location

BBstAJune 11, 2015 - The Burrito Brothers Taco Company has opened a new restaurant approximately 2 blocks from the where the restaurant began business on NW 13th St. The brand new 2,000-square-foot taco stand is one one block North of University Ave. on the corner of NW 1st Avenue and NW 14th St. In the former Presbyterian Student Center at 1402 W. University Ave. "I thought this day would never get here. We started over there in 1977," Burrito brothers co-owner said Janet Akersson said pointing toward NW 13th St. "And you know what, I still have fond memories of the way we all worked together in that tiny space," Janet added. The burritos, tacos, and the famous Burrito Brothers Guacamole is still made fresh daily. 12 beer taps have been added along with a bar with two large big screen televisions. 12 Beer taps are available including Swamphead Cottonmouth, Wild Night, Big Nose, and Stumpknocker. First Magnitude's Siren 72 Pale Ale Draft, Cigar City's Hard Cider Hotter Than Helles, and Hornswaggle Irish Red


A Perfect Pie opens on Waldo Rd.

APPIEsfMay 28, 2015 - A Perfect Pie is born. And Owner Charles Germond III is ready to show off his secret family recipe for fresh dough, and unique Italian pizza sauce. "This is the best NY Style pizza you will find in Gainesville," Says D.M. A Perfect Pie pizza stand manager. Open for two days this drive thru, walk-up window, red concrete block building is ready to serve you pizza, pasta, chicken wings, salads, hamburgers, French fries and appetizers fast, ready and hot. Located 2 blocks North of NE 16th Ave., A Perfect Pie is open late, MON-Wed 10am-1am, and ​THUR-SUN 10am-3am where you can have your pizza  where you can walk up, drive thru, pick up, or have your pizza delivered.


Applebee's opens Newberry Rd. location

ApplebeesNEWBERRYrdSFFOLLOW THIS LINK for  a Gainesville Lunch Out Blog Applebee's Gril & Bar review.

May 4, 2015 - Applebee's Grill & Bar has branced out with a second, new lunch stop heading West on Newberry Rd. just past Iintersate 75.  With eight new menu entrees, and a completely new Bar Food Menu touting 19 new appetizxers, this big box lunch stop is serious about being your mid-day meal house.  FOLLOW THIS LINK for more Applebee's information.


Steamers resurrected on Bo Diddley Plaza

STEAMERSsfWednesday, April 15, 2015Steamers has opened in the old Lunch Box building in downtown Gainesville. Many years back, Steamers was a popular walk-up lunch stop in Midtown close to th U.S. Post Office. The Steamers menu boasts "mid-western style sandwiches steamed, NOT grilled = less fat!" The Steamers menu lists 9 sandwiches including the SPICY TWISTER, a combination of beef, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and jalapenos grilled with homemade habanero pepper sauce, served with lettuce and tomato. The Twister and Veggie Twister Are available in mild, medium and hot. The Steamer menu also includes fried rice with egg, onions, carrots, cabbage, peas, special seasonings and a protein including veggie and tempeh and scallops. Indonesian Curry rice dishes are available with steak, chicken, eggie tofu, and tempeh. Beer and soda are also available.Steamers is located on the corner of the Bo Diddey Plaza and is open for lunch every day. Plans are to expand to breakfast at a later date.

PEPPER ALERT:  Reportedly "mild" Steamers heat is very hot, and "hot" is BLAZING hot!


MOJO Bar-B-Que opens on SE 2nd Ave.

MOJOsfWednesday, April 8, 2015 - Now tooting five locations in North Florida the MoJo Q Holdings, LLC has opened MOJO Hogtown Bar-B-Que in the old livery warehouse building behind the Havana's Wine & Cigar Lounge on SEnd Second Ave. A lunch menu featuring BBQ has five different BBQ sandwiches, 9 different kinds of BBQ, 8 kinds of Southern platters, 9 Appetizers, 13 Homemade sides, soups, salads, and desserts. The MOJO Bar-B- Que bar span the entire western wall of Mojo's and the bar boasts 9 different Florida craft beers 12 cocktails, and a boatload of select whiskeys, 'typically aged in wooden casks.' You may buy wine by the glass or bottle. This smoked meats and whiskey bar is open for lunch seven days a week. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.


Original American Kitchen opens Downtown

OACsfThursday, April 2, 2015 - O.A.K. is celebrating their opening today with cocktail, beer, and food samples. According to their website, "Original American Kitchen", features gourmet comfort foods as well as old southern classics. Enjoy our locally sourced ingredients, GMO free dishes, full service bar, and 16 self-service taps for our patrons to enjoy." FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.



Friday, March 27, 2015Sababa Israeli Cuisine has relocated from the midtown UF Hillel Center to the Sun Center in downtown Gainesville. The lunch stop boasts vegan, vegetarian, Kosher, and gluten-free fare for lunch and dinner. Sababa also serves a Sunday brunch of lox, bagels, challah and babaka French toast and shakshuka, which is eggs poached in homemade tomato sauce and served with pita bread and a salad. Sababa is open for lunch starting at 11 from Tuesday to Saturday and for Sunday brunch from 11 am – 8 pm.




Soul Shack opens on Waldo Road


Celebrations Catering has opened the Soul Shack serving home-cooked soul food from a walk-up window on NE Waldo Rd, "right around the corner from University Avenue." The menu features ox tails, fried and BBQ ribs, any chicken part you desire including wings, pork chop sandwiches, and a daily special. This is a lunch stop for that down home kinda girl we all know. Open Monday - Saturday from 11-8, the Soul Shack also has 10 side items that would make my momma smile with lunch-time glee.


Crafty Bastards opens for lunch on 39th Ave.

CraftBastardsSFFebruary 17, 2015 – The space previously housing Kazbor's in The Magnolia Park complex across from David's Real Pit BBQ, and Northeast Grill is home to a new tenant touting craft beers and pub grub, including prize-winning chili.  Crafty Bastards, a craft beer pub, serves appetizers--Fried Mac n' Cheese Bites, Onion Rings, Beer Cheese Dip w/Pretzels, Naked Wings, and Basket O'Bacon; garden and Caesar salads; and entrees--Shepherd's Pie, Banger n' Mash, Fish n' Chips, Johnsonville Bratwurst w/Fries, and Sliders w/Fries. Crafty Bastards also serves Margot's Impeccable Chili, which won the 2014 Gainesville Harley Davidson Chili Cook-off. With over 20 craft beers including First Magnitude and Swamp Head options, Crafty Bastard opens for lunch at 11 am. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.


PDQ opens in Grandy's location

PDQsfFebruary 9, 2015 - The People Dedicated to Quality chicken parts lunch stop known as PDQ is open on the corner of 34th St. and University Ave. With a mission of fresh-everything quality, PDQ does not have a freezer or microwave on its premises.  All their food products are delivered and made fresh every day. With a complete focus on chicken, "PDQ is a fast casual restaurant specializing in fresh hand-battered chicken tenders, made-to-order sandwiches, daily cut fries, hand-spun milkshakes, and fresh salads. The original PDQ restaurant opened its doors across from Plant High School in Tampa, Florida. PDQ now has locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas."


Greek-American lunch spot opens in Midtown'

TheSpotSFJanuary 26, 2015 - Toting Greek and American cuisine, The Spot restaurant located in the Robert's Stadium Club building adjacent to Cheese Daddy has opened.  Wtih Greek sandwiches, platters, and salads including dishes such as Chicken Souviaki, Spanikopita, and Greek salad, The Spot also fearues Angus burgers, wings, speciality sandwiches, ands quesadillas. Open for lunch at 11 am every day. The Spot closes at 9 pm except on Friday and Saturday, when they are open until 3 am.  FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.


Blaze Fast Fired Pizza opens on Archer rd.

BLAZE450January 8, 2015 – Blaze Pizza, in the old Willy's Mexican lunch stop, touts blaze-fired cooked in a have-it-your- way process: You select artisanal toppings for a personal 11"-pizza, and the pizza is "fast fire'd" for 180 seconds (GLOB Content Editor Note:  That quote is exact.  Can ANYONE figure out what letters are missing in "fire'd"?). This Friday, from 11 am to 10:30 pm, Blaze Pizza celebrates its opening by offering you a free 11-inch pizza of your choice. Founded in Irvine, California, in August 2012, Blaze Pizza is a chain franchise with restaurants in 14 states and the District of Columbia, according to information provided by the company.


Wholly BBQ opens downtown


To paraphrase the Trailer Park Troubadours, it's not a restaurant until the wheels come off, and the Wholly BBQ food truck has now become a real restaurant by taking residence in the once empty drive through restaurant on SW 2nd Avenue across from the Jones B-Side. Serving all the BBQ standards such as pulled pork, ribs, and chicken, the Wholly BBQ also plans to put BBQ goat on the menu. We applaud Wholly BBQ owner, David Williams, for partnering with Gainesvile's Workforce Innovation to hire young adults in need of acquiring GED credits towards a high school degree.


Panera Bread opens Newberry Rd. location

PANERAsfNEWBERRYrdDecember 7, 2014 – Panera Bread has opened a second big box lunch stop in front of the Hobby Lobby on Newberry Road near the Oaks Mall.  With a varied menu of nine categories including Soups, Salads, Pasta, Panini, Sandwiches, and Flatbreads, PB has something for every GLOBer walking in the front door. Last Summer PB created a plan to eliminate all artificial ingredients and preservatives from the food menu by the end of 2016.


Crane Ramen opens for lunch

CraneRamenSFDecember 1, 2014 – Crane Ramen, Ramen Restaurant, between The Bull and Paramount Grill, in downtown Gainesville opens for lunch today amid great expectations from the designer ramen noodle fan base in North Florida. WRONG. We're not talking about the real cheap, and marginally tasty bag of dried squiggles you boiled up for dinner while you were a student. We're talking Japanese Ramen. Crane Ramen offers a limited menu of nine items, and five types of ramen. Crane Ramen is open Monday through Saturday for lunch from 11 am-3 pm and for dinner from 5-11 pm.

According to the Japan Food Blog, "Ramen soup is generally made from stock based on chicken or pork, combined with a variety of ingredients such as kombu (kelp), katsuobushi (skipjack tuna flakes), niboshi (dried baby sardines), beef bones, shiitake, and onions, and then flavored with the likes of salt, miso, or soy sauce. The resulting combination is generally divided into four categories: Shio ("salt") ramen soup is clear, Tonkotsu ("pork bone") ramen is usually cloudy white, shoyu ("soy sauce") ramen soup is made from chicken and various vegetables, and Miso ramen." FOLLOW THIS LINK for more ramen noodle information.


Two Asian restaurants open for business

SHILAsfNovember 12, 2014 - Shila Korean BBQ, and the Volcanic Sushi & Saki Bar have been added to the Urban Glob list of Asian restaurants as the 52nd. and 53rd. restaurants serving Asian cuisine. Shila Korean BBQ cuisine opened last week with Saturday, and Sunday lunch only starting at 12:00. The lunch menu includes Spicy BBQ chicken, Spicy Pork Belly, Beef Bulgolgi (marinated beef), Baby Octopus, and Korean seafood pancakes. SKBBQ is open seven days a week for dinner 4:30 – midnight, except Sunday when they close at 10:00 pm.

Volcanic Sushsi and Saki Bar has opened in Haile Shopping Village next door to the Limerock Road café. Chef and owner Nestor Espartero was previously the Sushi Chef at Sabore and planned a 'silent opening ' to 'get things right.' The new sushi bar has several lunch specials including sushi combos, lunch bowls and the self titled 'raw bowl' with your choice of tuna or salmon sashimi, with avocado, cucumber, scallions, sesame seeds, and wakami salad over seasoned sushi rice for #11. Volcanic Sushsi is open for lunch at 11:00 with no lunch on Sunday.

Cairo Grill opens behind Garden Gate Nursery

CAIROgrillSFOctober 20, 2014 - the Cairo Grill has opened in the old Buddha Belly location behind the Garden Gate Nursery on NW 43rd St. Touting a complete Egyptian menu the CG website says, "On our menu you will find many examples of the foods Egyptians eat daily, from kabobs, falafel and hummus, to kochary." Open every day for lunch with a 12:00 opening on Sunday the Cairo Grill offers vegan, gluten free menu entrees, and catering, as well as a full dessert menu.


Cheese Daddy opens in Roberts' Stadium Club

CheeseDaddySFAugust 25, 2014 – Grilled cheese sandwich lovers now have a convenient lunch stop for acquiring melted cheese in a toasted sandwich directly across the street from the St. Augustine Catholic Church. Founder and UF graduate, Andre Norman, thinks he has found the perfect model for melted fast food on the run happiness.  Cheese Daddy offers a variety of sandwich melts on its menu, plus options to create your own cheese sandwich delight. Sandwiches range from $5 to $8, and all sandwiches come with a small portion of tomato basil soup for dipping. Featured among the grilled cheese melts is a Grilled Cheese Doughnut -- a glazed doughnut paired with American cheese--and 10 different cheese melt sandwiches. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more Cheese Daddy information.


Piesano's Pizza opens in Midtown

August 16, 2014 - Piesano's Stone Fired Pizza has created a tri-fecta of pizza shops in Gainesville with today's opening in Midtown in the Holiday Inn on the corner of University Ave. and 13th Street. With an extensive menu of Italian and American cuisine, Piesano's website touts appetizers, baked breads, soup, salads, pizza, calzones, subs, burgers, entrées, specialty entrées, 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. FOLLOW THIS LINK for a complete Piesano's menu.


Square 1 Burgers & Bar opens on SW 34th St.

SQUAREsfJuly 21, 2014 - Square 1 Burgers and Bar has opened on SW 34th St. in the old Maui Tewriyaki building.  Touting more than 20 burgers including veggie, turkey, buffalo, and lamb burgers in this Tampa bay based chain of popular restaurants. Square 1 is ranked in the Top 10% Worldwide on TripAdvisor, plus readers recognize the Square 1 burger as tops in the hamburger category.


Relish opens Royal Park location, Wharf Express becomes Po Boys

July 7, 2014 - Relish Big & Tasty Burgers has opened a third location in Royal Park Plaza at 3822 W. Newberry Rd. Suite D, close to the Coldstone Creamery in the old Coffee Culture location. Relish is celebrating the Grand Opening of their new Location Monday, July 7. Recognized as one of the better burger lunch stops Relish makes your burger to order with a plethora of choices including fried egg, and a boatload of sauces and toppings.

zzGLOBbulletPoBoysZPo Boy's Seafood and Grill has replaced the Wharf Express at the University Towne Center on SW 34th St. Po Boy's opened in May keeping much of the Wharf's menu but adding some new items. According to the new menu, Po Boy's specializes in 'Famous' Po Boy sandwiches, seafood combo platters, seafood tacos, grouper, scallops and several signature seafood side item favorites.


Daylight Donut opens downtown, Maui Grill Midtown

May 12, 2014 – To quote GLOBer Alan Morrow, "Breakfast is a good meal any time of the day." If you agree with that statement and you are near the Publix on N. Main St. you will want to give serious lunch time consideration to the recently opened Daylight Donuts. This national chain is touting sausage rolls and bacon, ham, and cheese breakfast sandwiches for lunch outers. Plus Daylight Donut also serves fresh made kolaches, croissants, pastries, fancies, and specialties daily. Daylight D is open Mon-Sat, 6 am-6 pm and Sun 6 am-2 pm.

MAUIGrillSFThe Maui Grill has replaced Latin CORNER Fusion restaurant in midtown near the Holiday Inn. According to Justin, the Maui Grill lunch manager, the Maui Grill is different from Gainesville's sister Maui restaurants because the midtown location specializes in Hawaiian barbecue. "Where the other Maui restaurants specialize in teriyaki dishes, we also serve our meals ala carte where customers can choose their specific ingredients when ordering," Justin added. Maui Grill also serves a Maui Burger and a Maui hoagie sandwich.  Vegetable Medley, Power veggies, French fries, plaintains, grilled onions, mushrooms, and pepper sides items are available.


BugerFi opens on Archer Rd.

BFstorefrontMarch 14, 2014 - the nationally popular BurgerFi hamburger chain -- with over 100 restaitants in the country -- will open a 'gourmet' hamburger stand at 3518 SW Archer Road. Touting hamburgers, "with a focus on all-natural, free-range beef, no chemicals, and no additives. BurgerFi® has built a menu with specialty items like Kobe beef hot dogs, gourmet toppings, delectable desserts, craft beer & wine, and an overall focus on a healthier menu selection." An extensive menu that includes Natural Angus Beef, Veggie Burgers, Breakfast Burgers, you can also order your burger Green Style, which is any burger or dog in a crisp lettuce instead of a bun. BurgerFi has a menu category called the Secret Menu that lists eight designer burger and fries selections. Craft beer and wine choices are also available .


Formaggio's Bistro & Wine Bar opens in Thornebrook Village

FormaggiosSTOREFRONTMarch 10, 2014 - The Formaggio family has just opened a Bistro and Wine Bar in Thornebrook Village Shopping Center near Thornebrook Chocolates that will make a lot of lunch outers very happy for a lot of reasons. Formaggio's Bistro and Wine Bar does have a lunch special for $7.95 that is your choice of one-half of six different sandwiches, and a cup of the Soup Du Jour. Cream of tomato soup is always available at Formaggio's. Offering a lunch menu of salads, sandwiches, and antipasto platters this Italian Bistro also has ample outdoor seating on the patio immediately outside Formaggios'.




Xpress Grill Opens on NE 23rd Ave.

March 3, 2014, The Xpress Grille has opened in the restaurant that formerly housed Mamma Mia's Pizzaeria on NW 23rd Ave. close to N. Main St. With a menu of cold sandwiches, salads, soups, grilled sandwiches, hamburgers, burritos, Cuban sandwiches, and a spicy black bean veggie burger. the Xpress Grille also has an assortment of interesting side dishes including Paremsan Crispy Coated French Fries, and Sweet Potato Fries that can be ordered by the basket with bacon, melted cheese. 'Hot Baskets' are on the menu including baskets of chicken tenders, jumbo chicken wings, fried chicken bites, and a 1/2 pound Hot Basket of Fish & Chips.  Currently the Xpress Grille is open for lunch every day at 11:00 am.  Ecening closing times are still under consideration.


Bangkok Square opens near I-75

BangkokSQUAREsfFebruary 17, 2014, Thai cuisine fans can rejoice at the second Thai restaurant opening in the Urban GLOB in 2014. Bangkok Square recently opened on Archer Rd. near Interstate I-75. Offering both Thai, including Pad, Thai Japanese cuisine, sushi, shrimp tempura rolls or a combination plate. Bangkok Square also has an extensive sushi menu. 

zzGLOBbulletMatsu Sushi &  Grill has changed their name to reflect the owners Identity.  A'xin Sushi & Grill is still the popular Asian lunch stop in the Williston Plaza off od the corner of Willsiton Rd., and SW 34th St.  Only the name has changed and continues with the same owner and chef according to the Matsu Sushi & Grill FaceBook Page, "Same Chef, Same Service, Same Place, With a NEW NAME~ We're still the same, Always fresh Fishes..."


WhichWichSFWhichWich? Opens on Archer Rd.

January 21, 2014 - WhichWich? Superior Sandwiches has opened in Butler Plaza at 3524 Archer Rd.  Whichwich? touts more than 50 customizable “wiches”, including the signature 'Wicked' loaded with five meats and three cheeses.  Serving Sandwiches, bowls, and lettuce wraps Whichwich creates 10 sandwiches including a breakfast sandwich.  According to the WhichWich website, "Which Wich is known for its revolutionary ordering system. Find the bag with the category you want, grab a red Sharpie®, and mark up the pre-printed menu on the sandwich bag. Select your sandwich, then choose the bread, cheese, spreads, and veggies. Your wich is prepared just the way you want it and delivered in your personalized sandwich bag. After you’ve enjoyed your wich, grab another red Sharpie, doodle on the back of your bag, and hang your masterpiece on the community wall. Wicked, right?"

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
Newly Opened:
Urban Flatbread, Warehouse
Closed: Louis Lunch, Tori's Big Burger

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

Mission Epicurious: Fresco Pizza & Pasta

Frescos reborn in lovely 'village' setting

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

When Fresco's was "Fresco Neighborhood Italian Restaurant" on 34th Street in Gainesville, I never thought to dine there, perhaps because at that time I was smack dab in the middle of my junior year at the University of Florida, and I was subsisting on a wide array of make-it-yourself sandwiches and walking-distance cheap eats. On hearing of the RE-opening of Fresco Pizza and Pasta, the original's more menu-specific child, I didn't want to waste any time. Plus, I have been having a serious hankering for some good Italian eats, and let's just say Domino's pizza could not sound more grotesque right now.



Fresco's new residence is in the spot of the previously beloved Sisters' cafe in the Haile Village Center. Well, Sisters' brunch was certainly this fan's favorite, but I suppose only the good die young. But I digress. On entering the ghost of Sisters' past, a completely new bistro look unfolded: A dimly lit, very nice bar area straight ahead past the front door gave way to a handful of tables lining the inside walls. I was pleased to see the same sweet, small patio area adjacent to the remodeled building, which allows less than a dozen parties to enjoy the quaint landscape of Haile Village Center in Haile Plantation, especially on such a beautiful day as the day I was there, between its current hours of 5-10 pm Tuesday through Sunday.



At around 6:15 pm on a Thursday, one empty patio table remained, so my dining companion and I snatched it up. Keeping to the standard that this is by no means a fancy place but rather presenting a nice-casual atmosphere, a very nice server wearing blue jeans brought out our drinks and a basket, or two, of hot, fresh garlic bread. A few starters – salad, soup and appetizers –sounded relatively appealing, but with the myriad of pasta and pizza options, I was sold on trying both categories of carbohydrate goodness. There were options to create-your-own pizza or pasta, but for a first visit, I wanted to try a dish the chef deemed worthy of being a menu standard. 

Fresco's was created for the modern lifestyle; accessible, casual and local. Urban cuisine in your city today." The Fresco's menu reflects that attitude, style, by featuring two unique dinner ideas in the choices of Urban Dinners and Municipal Meals. Urban Dinners are plates of interesting entrees, including Mushroom & Scallions, and Calamari Costner. The Municipal meals are plates of Italian favorites, such as Eggplant Parmesan and Chicken Marsala. There is a complete Fresco's menu at the restaurant link below this review.

To my delight, my dining companion was just as interested in maximizing the tasting experience as possible, so we opted to share one pizza and one pasta entrée. First the side Caesar salad that accompanied the pasta entrée selection arrived, split into a small and fresh serving for each of us. After quickly gobbling those up, about 10 minutes of good conversation and people-watching gave way to a giant pizza (note: the server claimed the 12" would be adequate for the two of us if we were splitting another entrée) and an order of the Sicilian Chicken Pasta. This pizza was definitely larger than 12", which, at Fresco's, is considered the medium option between 10" and 16". When confronted with more pizza than can be consumed in one sitting, I don't think anyone opposes the idea of leftover pizza. Cold or hot, it really is the best.



So this pizza: The Meateater, as it was aptly dubbed, was a loaded, hand-tossed pizza delight of protein and spice. The generous topping of thin pepperoni slices, chunks of hearty Italian sausage and Canadian bacon, genoa salami and meatballs certainly filled my taste palate with a wide variety of very fresh, quality tasting meat options. What really set it over the edge was when we made the Meateater into the Meat with Heat, which entailed adding a heavy-handed sprinkling of jalapeno slices across the pizza. I am not usually one for a thinner crust, but I have to say the combination of generously-applied, fresh meat toppings with the very savory, herb-flecked cheese and thinner layer of red, homemade pizza sauce with a distinguishable taste and texture of the baked crust shining through really made an impression on my taste buds. I may go so far as to say this is my favorite thinner crust pizza in Hogtown, followed shortly by Big Lou's downtown.

I was also pleased to see the Sicilian Chicken pasta entrée was split into a serving size for each of us. It was actually the perfect size, especially with the pizza companion. I was weary when I read that the sauce the linguine pasta, chunks of chicken and handful of spinach would be coated in was a "spicy cream sauce," as the server originally described it as having a slightly pesto-esque coloring and taste, only spicier and creamier. I was up for trying it though, especially when she mentioned this was one of two of her favorite dishes on the menu, and she had to try them all. The sauce wasn't really anything like she described, but it was better and more of what I was looking for anyway: slightly spicier but less chunky-thick than alfredo, but with that recognizable creamy consistency of a good white sauce. It was delicious, especially when topped with tomatoes and chives.

Fresco's is undoubtedly somewhere I would return to, as the new location, great menu selection, and quality relative to price are all exceptional. I venture to say this is my new slightly nicer than casual Italian go-to in Gainesville. There are too many tasty-sounding things on this menu I have yet to explore!

Note: According to the website, lunchtime service is coming soon!

The Pluses and Minuses of Fresco Pizza & Pasta.

Fresco Pizza & Pasta + indicators:Nice Italian menu selection, good quality ingredients, nice presentation, great bang for bug, appealing indoor and outdoor atmosphere, friendly and pretty prompt service

Fresco Pizza & Pasta - indicators: I can see this being a busier spot at peak hours, especially with a limited number of tables

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


Sandy's Place

Ugly American's take on 'home style melting pot'

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor


While eating Greek pita sandwich lunch at Sandy's Place it occurred to me that I was having lunch in the melting pot of the GLOB.

The menu says there are specials for hungry Americans who like it home-style. But I'm wondering if there are specials for Italian customers and Greek cuisine fans because, as I sit at this cozy little bar and grill at 5001 NW 34 St, close to the YMCA, I'm looking at the menu and seeing a lot of tasty-sounding candidates for ethnic specials on Sandy's menu: Eggplant parmesan, chicken scampi, and shrimp santorini for the Italian cuisine customers. Veggie gyros and pork souvlaki (entre or sandwich) for the Greek connoisseurs

The Sandy's special board featured a two chop pork chop special that caught my attention, buy it was a little pricey at $9.95.  Looking further down on the menu I noticed a Pork Souvlaki Sandwich $5.95 that included French Fries.  I was pleased with this menu discovery thinking my mid-day meal was taking on a worldly Greece and France look.  They are called FRENCH FRIES correct?

Now, I'm not into ethnic profiling, but I was hoping the other customers in Sandy's were enjoying their Italian and Greek lunches as much as I was enjoying my P S  sandwich that consisted of char-broiled, marinated pork pieces served with onions, lettuce, tomato and a "special Tzatziki sauce."



PS, this Souvlaki Sandwich had larger than expected chunks of 'the other white meat' that were very tasty pork nuggets of my favorite red meat, er uh, protein.  The sadwiches's pita bread was soft, chewey and added much to the worldliness of my lunch.

In addition to all American classics and exotic ethnic dishes, Sandy's also includes the usual sandwiches, burgers, subs, and cheese steaks familiar to bar and grill lunch protocols. There are also 8 different salads to choose from, a kids menu, and an extensive list of appetizers guaranteed to please.  There is a Sandy's Place menu link below this feature.

Phew, that is an extensive list of lunch options. My suggestion is, if you are the experimenting kind of lunch outer, Sandy's Place is the opportunity for you to be bold and break out of your lunch box and try something different from your every day nationalized cuisine. BTW, a friend of mine says the Sandy's Place eggplant Parmesan, which is served with linguine is very good.

The Pluses and Minuses of Sandy's Place.

Sandy's Place (+) indicators: Great selection of different kinds of lunch cuisine under one roof and prepared nicely.

Sandy's Place (-) indicators: This nuts and bolts lunch spot is not big on presentation or ambiance.



SpinachPieMy lunch mate for this Sandy's adventure is a big believer of Meatless Monday. In fact, if she had her way, she would try harder to go meatless every day. Since we we lunching out in this lunch stop that specializes in Greek food, stuffed grapeleaves (above) and spinach pie (right) were ringing her lunchtme chimes. The Sandy's Spinach Pie was the winner with the distinctive flavor of spinach intermingled with flaky pie crust. The stuffed grapeleaves were presented with a traditional Greek salad including spicy peppers and black olives. The salad was very good. The grapeleaves included an earthy, unrecognizable spice--or perhaps the musty flavor was in fact the taste of the grapeleaves themselves. If you want meat Greek style, Sandy's chicken or pork souvlaki is fantastic.

- GLOB Master

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



Satchel's Pizza

SatchelsSALADjune115"The GLOB Master and I got there before the lunch crowd and by the time we left, we were surrounded, because the food at Satchel's is as good as ever." We started with our drinks, and it occurred to me to ask about their homemade sodas. Plain soda water can be hard to find in restaurants, so I asked if it were available and lo and behold, it was, and at no extra charge. Bingo! I say that because I have a strange habit of mixing microbrewery beer with plain soda water (no ice!) and lemon because microbrew is just a little too strong for me. I also tasted Mike's Stevia Z, which is Satchel's no-calorie cola that is made with . . . no secret, Stevia. I don't like stevia that much, but the Stevia Z was very good. For food, we started out with a small salad to share. The small salad is big enough for 4 because what you see in the photo is what is left after the two of us had our fill of salad and were ready to start on pizza. The salad has always had almonds, and now there are pecans. I think that is a new pleasing addition – or else I haven't been paying attention the last few times I've been there. For pizza, we ordered a medium (so we would have leftovers!) with artichokes and sausage on half and – always trying to push myself to be vegetarian -- red pepper on the other half. YUM. Satchel's is a great place – great food, interesting art all around, and living wage for all employees. Thanks Satch!

- Lynn Dirk


NE pizza shop is a feast to your senses

By Lynn Dirk, GLOB Content Editor

SatchelsSFI can't say enough good things about Satchel's – both the food and the place. You have to go at least once to experience it.

It was featured by ESPN. It is the most interesting restaurant in the world. It's not called Satchel's for nothing. Satchel is the actual owner, and you learn from his menus and his restaurant that he is independent and creative and a good guy. For example – and this is important – it is a cash only place. Why cash only? "Instead of giving tons of money to Visa/Mastercard, we provide an ATM and donate the $1.50 fee to local charities."



Satchel likes to say "Every pizza is a work of art." And part of the art is the amazing list of pizza toppings – 31! The crust around the edge is big and buttery and garlicky. Otherwise the usual crust is thin, although there is also a thick crust pizza that is sometimes on the menu. The ingredients I usually get on Satchel's pizza are red peppers, artichokes, and sausage. They have a "white" and a pesto pizza. The pesto is wonderful but very rich. They have a new crust I haven't tried yet but I intend to: millet and flax.

They have a great salad with red and green leaf lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, apples, some diced tomato, almonds, sunflower seeds, romano cheese, their special dressing – and a walnut or pecan -- for luck. How sweet is that? Plus it is a substantial serving.

The SP calzones are cery popular and I had a part of one of those and it was excellent. They have homemade desserts.



Beware – it can get VERY crowded. But have no fear – Satchel provides an entertaining place to wait behind the restaurant: Lightening Salvage, which has all kinds of retro kitsch that you will remember from when you were a little kid mixed in with "collections" of "objet de curiosite" that employees or others put on display.

There is art, crazy "found" art everywhere. ALSO -- one of the places to eat there is a Ford Van permanently "parked" in front of the restaurant.



And where is Satchel's? On the far east side of town on NE 23rd Ave.. A place you wouldn't expect to pack them in. On the back of one of his menus – they all have interesting essays or stories from Satchel himself – and the following is from the one that is titled "History and Philosophy," he says (and I paraphrase except for the cliché) that "location, location, location" is bull. It's all about the food and making sure it's good. Sure enough . . . I have been to Satchel's many times, and the pizza is consistently good as is the service, the vibes, and the visuals.

Going to lunch at Satchel's will not be a quickee, so you better make it a business lunch. And if you have time, go to Lightening Salvage and check out the amazing door, photo above, that is a work of art – it has TONS of things glued on it and it all comes together in a beautiful, delightful way. There are all kinds of other art works around too – most made from everyday objects like toothbrushes and hubcaps. And the fountain in the parking lot is something to see. All amazing!



Lucy Marsh, a Shiatsu practitioner from Brattleboro, Vermont, came all the way to Gainesville to attend Academy for Five Element Acupuncture in downtown Gainesville for a couple of years. Upon graduation, she was treated to a goodbye dinner by friends with her first visit to Satchel's Pizza.  She had heard Satchel's serves gluten-free pizza, and sure enough, the restaurant gets a weekly shipment of millet seed and flax pizza crusts from Jacksonville. Satchel's also offers dairy free cheese and pesto vegan pizza options.

The millet seed crust was novel. Crunchy and garlicky flavored, the millet had a unique texture new to the GLOB Master. If I was with someone who wanted to try the millet seed crust, that would OK with me. In the car afterward, wistful mention was made of gluten-crust, which has a good-sized rim of pizza bread around the edge that was lacking on the millet-flax crust.

Both the gluten-free pizzas were excellently prepared in different ways: The sausage pizza was ladled with traditional marinara sauce, had a lot of garlic, and was well done – which is how Satchel likes to cook them according to his recent post on the GLOB. The veggie pizza had more cheese, less red sauce, and was "cooked light."

Standing in Satchel's newly remodeled back room waiting for a table, I was once again reminded of John Prine, Delbert McClinton, and Lyle Lovett singing about too much stuff. Satchel's has a whole lot of stuff in his Lightening Salvage shop!

- GLOB Master

The Pluses and Minuses of Satchel's:

Satchels (+) indicators: Everything!

Satchel's (-) Indicator's: Nothing – even the waiting is good what with Lightening Salvage.

Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Satchel's Pizza.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!


Piesano's Pies & Pints

ComboSHOTIt was a birthday lunch for good friend and former UF Entomology and Nematology pal, Kathy Milne, and her favorite birthday lunch this year would be pizza, red sauce, assorted toppings, and the always yummy-pizza shop salads. Ms. Milne was driving in from Alachua to the Piesano's on NW 43rd St., a perfect product placement for this trio of bug lovers that included former UF Ento-Nema Graphic Designer Jane Medley.

At Piesano's, looking over an army of Gourmet Specialty Pizzas, I was somewhat flummoxed until I saw they have a lunchtime 8" pizza they call they Personal 8" Pizza that starts at a reasonable $6.99, plus $.89 for each additional topping. Lately when the GLOB Master had been thinking pizza, it was of a slice or two of a good, flat crusted, toasted to perfection NY slice with a generous topping of artichokes. The birthday girl opted for an 8" pizza with italian sausage and black olives, image right.  Did you know artichokes were unknown on this continent until a group of Italian immigrants planted a few hundred acres of the crop near Half Moon Bay in California in the late nineteenth century? The artichoke quickly became a popular delicacy in California and filled fields in Monterey County. I must say the 8-inch pie was perfect, image at the top of this story. I cut my lunch into 4 perfect slices and gave the fourth slice to good friend Jane Medley to take home for another meal. Ms. Medley ordered a Greek Salad with her pie and it sounded so good I did the same thing, image right. I added feta cheese to my salad and it was delicious. The salad was fresh, tart, crisp, and very yummy. There might have been just a little too much Feta cheese on my salad. So I added some of the feta to my pizza. YUM! There is a complete Piesano's menu at the bottom of this page.

- GLOB Master

N. Pelletier: 'It's an obsession, my obsession!'

By Natalie Pelletier, Guest Writer

Editor's Note: Natalie Pelletier works on the Blu Dove Design team specializing in sales and marketing.Plus FOLLOW THIS LINK for another Piesano's feature.

PiesanosI was first introduced to Piesanos Stone Fired Pizza by Lisa Renshaw. I figured it was going to be "another Italian restaurant"...good but not the best in town. Since she introduced me to it about a month and a half ago no joke I have probably been there about 10 times with my boyfriend. Should I go on?

I haven't been there because it is close by our house, inexpensive or a nice atmosphere, which are all's just so good!

I'm pretty selective when it comes to Italian food. I try to think of every excuse possible to convince my boyfriend go to Piesanos when we can't think of what to make for dinner. He gives in too because their Italian rolls are sooo good and original!

I would definitely recommend Piesanos Stone Fired Pizza if you have'n't tried it yet. The pizza is amazing along with their many entrees. I love their spinach ravioli, eggplant, pastas, etc. I hope I get to go there again this weekend!

Hope you like it!


With there now being three Piesano's Pizza & Pint locations in the Urban GLOB you really don't have a reason to not enjoy a Meatless Monday Piesano's Eggplant Parmesan Cheese sub with breaded baked eggplant, a layer of ricotta cheese, marinara sauce and covered with mozzarella cheese for your noon-day meal. Piesano's has a special, secret ingredient in their red sauce that makes me smack my lips thinking, "That's good." The cheese was stacked high on the sub roll, however the ricotta, and mozzarella cheese combo did wonders enhancing the marinara sauce.  Since I was enjoying a business lunch I felt it would be awkward to talk about sharing my sandwich, so I thought of my dear mother and her words of wisdom, "shut and eat your lunch." My smartest move of the day was listening to our server who said a sub sandwich and a salad was an awful lot of food, so i forgo a very yummy looking salad. Taking the kid's meal route through the Piesano's lunch menu might be the best alternative to a 5,000 calorie lunch experience.

FOLLOW THIS LINK  for another Piesanos feature

Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Piesanos Pizza.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!


Leonardo's Millhopper

Lunch stop favorite never fails L. Dirk

062620LeosBy Mike Sanford. GLOB Editor

If you ask long time GLOBer Lynn Dirk to pick a lunch spot more often than not it will be Leonardo's Millhopper restaurant.

There is a lot of history with this statement going all the way back to college and spending time a time with her sister and her sister's boyfriend now Lynn's Brother-in-law.



Looking at the dated furniture in Leonardo's the question arises if the interior of this popular lunch stop has ever had a remodeling. The long time favorite Lunch stop is now under new management and I did notice an active sense of the Leo's staff working a little harder at keeping customers happy curing the lunch hour.

LEOSmhSaladBarI have grown accustom to, and enjoy the Leo's Slice and Salad Daily Special for $8.02. A slice of the Big Leo pizza with sausage, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and pepperoni and a salad I get to create is a superb lunch GLOBers.

The pie's ingredients are distinctly separate and are deliciously immersed in a fabulous marinara pizza sauce. The cake like – still chewy crust creates a full hearty one-slice-of-pie experienc

Lynn is working hard at transitioning to a healthier, vegan diet and demonstrated that with her choice of a Leonardo's Vegetarian Lasagna. Served with meat or veggie the large portion of goodness comes with a side order of delicious garlic rolls.


"The idea of veggie Lasagne sounded interesting," Lynn Said.  " But next time I will reiutne to my long time of Broccoli, and suasage pizza."  Lynn added."

There is a full Leonardo's Millhopper menu at the restaurant link at the bottom of the page.

I honestly don't know what is better GLOBers. The Big Leo slice is the generous, yummy plate of Italian goodness with a unique crust unlike the New York Pizza pie thin crust lovers have learned to love.



The Leonardo's Salad Bar always scores an 'A+' for the GLOB Master. Living with dietary diabetes restraint I like the fact I can choose my salad items while ignoring the croutons, pasta and potato salads. I feel special adding pepperoni and chickpeas to my salad snubbing my nose at the high carb salad toppings, sauces, croutons and crackers.

Just as importantly to me I haven't even started talking about how Leonardo's Millhopper is now just 15 minute walk from my Thornebrook front door.





I say thin and crispy. You say deep dish, thick crust. I say loaded with toppings, you say cheese. It's pizza one way or the other. I just counted 18 different pizza lunch stops on the Urban GLOB map. That's not including Domino's, Five Star, Papa John's, and other franchise locations.  Leonardo's Pizza in the Milllhopper Shopping Center holds a gold pizza slicer as one of the all time favorite thick, crispy, multi topping pizzas. If you read below you will see by example GLOB Content Editor Lynn Dirk and her family clan still meet at Leo's for pizza many, many years after graduating and leaving Gainesville. The pizza is really good. And that is coming from a lover of paper thin crust. That's not the case here on the corner of NW 43rd St. and NW 16th Blvd. The ingredients are fresh and generously portioned, the sauce very tomato-ey. Oh and the crust. Well, it's unique, a little on the cakey side for the GLOB Master. That said, this is excellent pizza. Lynn and I will order from the Special Daily Slice menu ($3.77) that changes every day. Lynn has ordered the broccoli and sausage for a 100 years I think, but as a wannabe vegetarian, she is transitioning to onions, black olives, and maybe a 3rd veggie now and then. It is delicious every time. I've been stuck on yummy pepperoni. The slices are just the right size at Leo's. I don't have to worry about leaving leftovers or taking to-go boxes with me. Lynn and I have a good plan where I order the Slice Special of a slice, salad bar, soft drink for 8.49. This special is available all day and night. Lynn gets an additional slice and with drinks we are a little over $20 bucks for one of the best pizza lunches in town.

- GLOB Master



Gville's perfect 'cheese 'n crust superstar' pizza!

By Lynn Dirk, GLOB Staff Writer, Content Editor

leonardossfAs hinted elsewhere in the GLOB (Lynn Dirk Profile), Leonardo's Pizza has a long history in Gainesville – since 1976 . . . almost 35 years!

Despite the intense pizza competition that has developed in Gainesville (some equally good but different varieties), Leonardo's continues to provide pizza that pleases. Interestingly,

although Leonardo's by the Slice and Leonardo's 706 have the same owners, the pizza at By the Slice is identical – or almost so -- to the pizza at Leonardo's Pizza of Millhopper. That's because the Millhopper Leonardo's was started by the person who owns 706 and By the Slice, and the person who bought the Millhopper restaurant (in 1979) kept the décor and pizza just as the original owner did it.So I am talking about the original Chicago style pizza that is served at By the Slice and Millhopper. This is the best broccoli and sausage pizza ever . . . and I've tried it at the other great Gainesville pizzerias but nothing can compare:

LEOSmh3panel- The broccoli: It has to be fresh of course. Other places also offer fresh broccoli as a topping, BUT Leonardo's gets the pieces just the right size: bite size! They stick out from under the cheese and sometimes get browned. That gives it an amazing flavor.

- The sausage: Crumbled into, again, perfect bite size pieces. Italian.

- The cheese: Lots of it and of course that goes wonderful with broccoli. The cheese does NOT slide off the pizza – or at least not the whole blanket of it.

- The sauce: Lots of tomato sauce and pieces of tomato. I never really knew how good it is until I started thinking about the whole group of pizzas in town as the GLOB was being developed. Leonardo's truly has great tomato sauce.

- The crust: Plain old delicious, crusty bread. I always ask that it be well done. I like to do healthy food and I have tried the wheat crust, but it just never seems to be completely done, so I make it a white crust. Recently, they have made it more of a yeast bread. Not as crunchy, but still good.

Put that all together and that is my idea of a perfect pizza. It LEOStiffanyRooftakes awhile to make, usually at least 20 minutes, so be prepared to wait or call ahead. When this same pizza was being served at 706 I would go there with my sister Lori (a former UF Lady Gator 2nd base softball player) and friends, and we would play penny football until our pizza came. Now we play Bananagrams at the Millhopper location.

A special treat at Leonardo's is their garlic rolls: Knots of the crusty pizza bread, white and/or wheat, in a soupy mixture of garlic, olive oil, and . . . well, I hope it is butter, but it might be margarine. I am going to have to check on that. The rolls are not good for you, but they sure do taste good.

Leonardo's Millhopper also has a smallish salad bar. I have never done that because the pizza and rolls are always so filling. But recently I finally gave it a try and it was very good. They have an interesting array of ingredients that reflect their pizza toppings, but also include garbanzo beans. No cukes, but pepperoni makes up for that! Not as healthy but still very good. They have a vinaigrette/Italian option included with the other dressings in the typical buffet container that you ladle out. That was very good dressing.

Service is friendly and generally prompt. They serve half pitchers of beer, which is a nice touch when there's only two or three of you. – of course, you might not want to do that at lunch.

They have interesting art at their booths along the wall. I prefer the Mount St. Helen's booth or the Word Find picture (you actually get a black marker to circle all the words you can find).

Last but not least is their pizza oven. It is amazing to watch. I always spend a little time watching it whenever I go. There's a sliding glass door that slowly closes automatically when the cooks let go of it, and it makes a gentle thud as it closes. Inside are rotating shelves, and the cooks slide in new pizzas, move others up or down to a different shelf – I think that is part of the cooking process, and pull out the ones that are done. Next time you go take a minute to check out the oven: Watch the hypnotic comings, goings, and shufflings of the pizzas and enjoy the wonderful odor, and, on colder days, the warmth that hovers around the oven.

The Pluses and Minuses of Leonardos Millhopper:

The Leonardo's Millhopper + indicators : The pizza

The Leonardo's Millhopper - indicators  : Maybe the rug?? But you know what, this place is NOT noisy!!!! This is one of the few restaurants in town that is actually peaceful. Hey even the negative has a positive at this place!

Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Leonardos Millhopper.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

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.

Pomodoro Café

Authentic, calzone = primo Italian lunch

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

pomodoroThe New York Times story the Gainesville Lunch Out Blog published about creating your own calzones and making your own ricotta cheese got me thinking that I haven't been to an Italian restaurant in some time. Plus, I have a friend that brags about being a regular Italian food lover at the Pomodoro Café on NW 39th Ave. near the I-75 interchange.



That was two good reasons to go experience my first calzone ever, and see what I'm missing.

Walking to the front door of this café I heard Italian music wafting through the air enchanting folks walking by and luring them into the cafe. You've seen those old cartoons where the scent appears as a serpent like smoke charming the victim and pulling them forward into who knows what.

I was immediately hooked, and then when I walked into the front door of a friendly appointed café of wood, and gingham checked accents I knew this was going to be a fun lunch experience.

I was getting into the feel of the PomodoroVASEold world. The wine bottles on the shelves, wooden beams between the tables, and the comfortable booths were appealing as I looked at the Pomodoro Café menu. Bruschetta Toscana Assortita, Vegetali Con Penne, Cappellini Francesco and six Pomodoro pizza's including the Margherita, Julianana, and Mikey's Pizza Pie. I'm going back for the Mikey's Pizza Pie sooner rather than later.

You will find the complete Pomodoro Café menu at the restaurant link below this feature.

And there is the Italian music continually playing in the background. Songs that reminded me of, sounded like, Dean Martin, Tony Bennet, Frank Sinatra.

Life is good I thought to myself looking out the Pomodoro window to their patio seating that had the appearance of a cozy, mountain side Italian patio.

A regular Pomodoro lunch special is an open face Calzone with your choice of two ingredients.

Tami my server explained that calzones are sandwiches made from the pizza dough that is folded over the ingredients much the same way a Stromboli is made.

The soup element of my lunch special comes with a cup of Pasta Fagioli (Fuh-jo-ley). This tasty soup is clear chicken stock with white beans, bacon and small pieces of pasta. The Soup was hearty and tasty. Being a non-Italiano lunchouter in a strange cafe I thought it was odd that the soup included both beans and pasta, but it was very good and a nice compliment to my calzone.


PomodoroSPECIALMy lunch was presented in an interesting, long and narrow tray that was perfect for the three items of my lunch. My soup, the Calzone and a small bowl of marinara sauce to add to my calzone. It was a very cool, interesting presentation.

Since I was in Italy – wasn't I in Italy -- I added Italian sausage and roasted garlic to my open face calzone. That is a nice touch the way Pomodoro's leaves a little pouch of cheese and ingredients showing on the face of the calzone, and toasting up in the oven for the customer's satisfaction when the entrée is presented.


pomodoroMenuBrdMy Italian sandwich was toasted perfectly, the Ricotta and Mozzarella cheese melted into a gooey, chewy combination of cheese joy. The Italian sausage added the spices to the Italian sandwich and the roasted garlic had me ALMOST shouting, "Pasta Fagioli, Calzone si bellissimo!"

We all know the lunch experience is a combination of individual elements working together to make an excellent lunch hour. The Pomodoro Café has their lunch experience elements singing acapella in an Italian opera.

The Pluses and Minuses of Pomodoro Cafe:

Pomodoro Cafe + indicators: Wonderful old world lunch experience. Has any GLOBer tried Pomodoro 's Mikey Pizza pie?

Pomodoro Cafe – indicators: Other than being 'Way out in West G'ville' none noted.

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


Olive Garden

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






Piesanos Stone Fired Pizza, W. Gainesville

Editor's Note: A Gainesville Lunch Out Blog feature of Piesanos Stone Fired Pizza can be viewed on the Piesano's Millhopper Area, and the University Avenue location GLOB page. -- GLOB Master

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



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