"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!
NE pizza shop is a feast to your senses
I 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.
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