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Restaurant lunch highlights:

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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!


Leonardo's Millhopper

Lunch stop favorite never fails L. Dirk

By 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.

Leonardo's by the slice

LEOShayatSome food entrees are perfect for Meatless palates. Leonardo's by the Slice serves up more meatless ingredients than you can literally put on one pizza slice of Italian goodness. I admit I am getting older. I try to be tolerant and understanding of changes, fads, new ideas. That said, walking through a door and seeing a wall of yummy pizzas ready-made and waiting for me to choose one is infinitely more pleasing than answering a list of questions to find out how I want my lunch served to me. The only thing better is when the lunch stop has a Special of the Day board with unique entrees created by the resident chef.  Leonardo's staffer, Hayat, went a step further and presented the entire spinach, roasted red pepper, Feta cheese, and roasted tomato pizza to the GLOB Master. What a flavor combination this slice-big-enough-for-two contained. The roasted tomatoes melded wonderfully with the feta cheese for a juicy, sharp flavored bite. The roasted red peppers and spinach enveloped their tastes around this slice for a hearty, homey, healthy feeling and taste bud delight. I take pride in the fact that I use the Gainesville Regional Transit Bus System. No parking problems for me. The old Westbound #5 bus route has a bus stop right across the street from this very popular mid-day lunch stop.

- GLOB Master



Get in line for chaos, coolness, great pizza

By Lynn Dirk, GLOB Content Editor

leosSLICEsfLeonardo's By the Slice at the corner of University and 13th St is chaotic and cool and has scrumptious food – plus it's historical. It's part of the Leonardo's epic saga that I have detailed in part at other places here in the GLOB, and because it is as much a part of Gainesville history as Tom Petty, it is fitting that it sits at what some might consider the heart of Gainesville.



So when you walk into this by-the-slice heaven, if it's lunchtime, you will generally walk into a large crowd gathered in front of the counter where you order and can visually identify which pizza slice you want. The crowd of customers is a melting pot of cultures and generations. You quickly learn to just go with the flow. If you are alone, you might enjoy either eavesdropping on neighboring conversations or just plain old people watching until you get to the counter.

Originally Leonardo's served only slices of Chicago thick crust pizza with the standard toppings: sausage, pepperoni, onions, peppers, mushrooms. Now, there is also whole pie and thin crust options. The thin crust slices have more sophisticated toppings like spinach, artichokes, and tempeh, but for the pies, you can get any of their many toppings on either the thick or thin crust.



When you get to the counter to order, the pizza is laid out on shelves behind the counter. You make your choice and order a slice or two. Slices are slid into a big black cast iron oven to be crisped and/or heated up. This is a extra step you probably won't see at any other restaurant that serves pizza by the slice. After a couple of minutes, by which time you have probably paid for your meal and wandered off to get your drink and find a table, the slice is slid onto a parchment paper-lined small cafeteria-type tray that serves as your plate. You can get actual silverware over by the drink fountain.



The menu, which is posted above the ordering counter, also includes salads, which  are some of the best in town. Plus the salads come with 3 of the famous Leonardo's garlic rolls. Last but not least, Leonardo's By the Slice also serves up calzones and pasta dishes.  I have not had one of their pasta dishes yet.

But back to the pizza, it's no secret I have been a fan of Leonardo's for many years. After comparing a Blue Highway thick crust pizza to a Leonardo's (always Chicago-style thick crust), I decided I liked Leonardo's better because:  They have great tomato sauce and their sausage is crumbled. BUT Blue Highway's thick crust is a nice yeasty crust.  Both good for different reasons.



This little restaurant is cool. It has excellent contemporary décor – both art on the walls and style all around, including the brushed steel counter. There are comfortable, solid tables and chairs as well as booths to enjoy your lunch. There is outdoor seating in front and in back.

They have local Swamp Head draft beer on tap.



And, as mentioned above, Leonardo's is an integral part of Gaineville's history.  The birth of Leonardo's Pizza in 1983 was greeted with a cry of controversy over the DaVinci man signboard jutting out over the sidewalk. The near nudity – there IS a fig leaf properly placed - drove some in Gainesville crazy. The story about the controversy can be studied on the scene:  In the back of the restaurant are 2 large framed collages of legal documents, newspaper stories, and letters to the editor, all testifying to the trials and tribulations of using that bodacious (ha ha) icon.

Leonardo's By the Slice has personality. It's a perfect lunch spot for its location. On top of that, it serves up fast food that is good food . . . well, as good as pizza can be for you. And if pizza is not healthy enough for you, they ALSO have great salads.

The Pluses and Minuses of Leonardo's by the slice:

Leonardo's by the slice:(+) indicators: Great food in interesting and lively surroundings.

Leonardo's by the slice:(-) indicators: if you are driving, make sure you go early or late or you probably won't get a place to park.

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




Cici's Pizza, CLOSED: August, 2019

Choices abound at this pizza buffet

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

CiciDoorposterI was out in what I call the Archer Rd. Triangle to take pictures last week and thought pizza would be the answer to lunch. I walked past Cici's, a pizza buffet restaurant, in Butler Plaza twice before the thin-and-crispy, everything-on-it light went on in my head.

This review isn't for pizza snobs who demand certain ingredients, perfect crusts, or haute cuisine to satisfy their hunger.

This review isn't for foodies who turn their nose up at plain ol', ready-to-eat fast food. As Ferris Bueller says, life can move pretty fast sometimes, and this lunch stop is the perfect food-on-the-go factory.

Kudos to the Cici's for emphasizing customer-friendliness. Audra and Kaitlin teamed up to drive this all-you-can-eat bus, and they did it with a smile and attentive behavior, as they flew around the restaurant making sure everything was just right from keeping tables clean to answering any lunch question at all.

"Lunch is popular, be we do a lot of families and students for dinner, GLOB Master," Kaitlin said stopping by my table. "Customers are really coming in for the flatbread pizza," she added.

I am saving the flatbreads for another visit. According to the Cici's website they have 20 different pizzas available. It looked like Audra's and Kaitlin's mission was to have all of the pizzas available before lunch was over. There is a complete Cici's menu at the restaurant link below.

I found a website called that goes into detail about attacking a buffet lunch line, and I'm paraphrasing some of their better, humorous tips: Break out the Fat Pants -- Don't even think of showing up at a buffet in pants that actually fit you. You want two sizes above normal at a minimum. Sweat pants work great too.



I started with a very nice salad from the salad bar that included all the standard items including some tart, sweet pickles and yummy garbanzo beans. I saw several ingredients that deserved my interest if I should make a second trip to the salad bar.

Now, here's my take on Cici Pizza, and pizza buffet rules:

PIZZA BUFFET RULE #1: Wait for the pizza that's fresh out of the oven. The whole pizza experience is amplified by fresh, hot, bubbly pizza.



So many choices GLOBers. I surveyed the 60-ft-long ingredient landscape and tried to cover my plate with a varied selection choosing, from left in image at top of this review:

SAUSAGE & PEPPERONI:The Sausage was tasty; wish I had caught this one coming out of the oven. The Pepperoni and Sausage had very pronounced flavors. I could detect a certain sweet flavor to the red sauce.

PIZZA BUFFET RULE #2: Sit close, but not too far from the buffet line. Even a little bit of walking will contribute to buffet fatigue.

VEGGIE SLICE: Perhaps I should have called this slice a three-way. I had 2 of these, which had black olives, green peppers, and mushrooms. My slices were just warm, which made the crispy crust come into play for a flavorable combo with the green peppers. I did taste the 'shrooms, which complimented the crispy peppers very nicely.

PIZZA BUFFET RULE #3: Take a break. After your first plate is probably a good time to break out that book and pause for a bit. Avoid the temptation to down a mug of soda. The only digestive aid you should use right now is time.

CHEESE PIZZA:  Like climbing Mt. Everest I guess I selected  this slice of pie becaus it was there.  They just pulled this pie out of the oven and the cheese was hot, melted, and gooey.  A nice starter slice amidst a cornucopia of flavors, textures, tastes, bites, chews . . .



All right I couldn't resist. I saw the chocolate brownies when leaving the buffet line, and they really looked good. Walking up to the buffet line, I saw Audra adding a new pizza to the lineup called the Buffalo Sauce Chicken and Cheese. I swear I heard it sizzling GLOBers. It was bubbling like it was alive. I had to try that too, which turned dessert into a sweet and savory experience.

Kaitlin came by again and I said, "That hot buffalo chicken pizza is really good."

"Yeah it's my favorite, it just doesn't stay on the buffet too long," she replied.

CCstuffedWe are talking about Cici's being a crispy and crunchy multi-ingredient lunch stop with ingredienst any restaurant would be proud to serve to customers, GLOBers. It has more pizza choices than should be allowed for a professional eater and an every-day price at a little over $8.

Audra only charged me $7 for lunch and when I asked if it was a mistake she said customers over 55 years old eat for $7, children eat for $4.  I'm going back to Cici's, as soon as I get enough nerve to face the Archer Rd. triangle again.

The Pluses and Minuses of Cici's Pizza

Cici's Pizza + indicators: This was good, hot, fresh pizza in more varieties than seemed possible to eat.

Cici's Pizza – indicators: Stick to rule #1: The "older" buffet pizza slices are for the REALLY hungry lunch outers.

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



Family takes on all-you-can-eat pizza challenge

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

CiciDoorposterI wanted to try another pizza lunch buffet and quickly thought of PBB – that's Pizza Buffet Bliss – at Cici's Pizza in the Butler Plaza Shopping area.  Cici's must have something going for it considering it was closed for a while and then re-opened to much fanfare from inquiring Cici's pizza lovers.

On further consideration, I decided I need to take a different approach to multiple platters of sliced pizza pies sitting under heat lamps.  My new approach to PBB was to see how the hot slice lunch line worked for a large group Gainesville pizza lovers gathered together at one time. Just like Noah, I proceeded to round up pizza eaters.



"And so the Sanford clan descended upon Cici's pizza for an all-the-pizza-you-can-eat-and anything-else-sitting-under-a-heat-lamp" family feast.  There we were, five Sanfords representing three generations; three females and two males; one granddad, one mother, a high schooler, a middle schooler, and one elementary schooler in search of perfect pizza satisfaction.

Did I say we were also all hungry for pizza?  Cheese pizza, pepperoni pizza, veggie pizza, everything pizza, pizza with pineapple, white pizza, spinach pizza. All five Sanfords were surprised to also find spicy chicken wing pizza, spinach Alfredo pizza, and Mac & Cheese pizza.



Everyone agreed the pizza was good. The Sanford girls were leaning more toward the cheese pizzas. Kaci was all over the Spinach Alfredo slice, plus she was curious enough to give the Mac & Cheese pizza a taste. Kaci had a hard time choosing her favorite. This string bean of a middle schooler wins the pizza eating award of all time for gobbling down nine slices of pizza, a healthy plate of salad, and a couple of very tasty pizza rolls called garlic knots. Oh yeah, Kaci also requested a couple slices of custom made pineapple pizza and they were duly baked up especially for her.

"That was a good dinner," Kaci said with a small, quiet burp. "I would come back.  There are still a few slices I would like to try," she added.



Buchholz High School freshman Kali Sanford was more middle of the road in her pie slice choices. "It was all good, I like the cheese pies, the salad was good, and I REALLY liked the garlic-knot rolls."

Hawk Sanford is in the middle of serious training for his youth football team and, being smaller than everybody else, settled for two slices of cheese pizza. One thick slice and one thin and crispy square slice. When asked what his favorite pizza is, he quickly responded "Big Lou's Italian Pizzeria downtown."

Mom Lindsey sampled an everything slice and a slice of the spinach pizza and gave them a two thumbs up. It appears that the fewer slices of pie allowed Lindsey more room for the garlic knot rolls.

This was good meal. The pizza was hot and cooked fresh and was quickly removed from underneath the heat lamps by hungry customers. I agree with Hawk that the crispy cheese pizza was very flavorful, and that the everything slice and Alfredo slice had a lot of cheesy flavor.

CiciSTEPHIt was a very special fun pizza adventure. Kudos to the very customer friendly server, cook, chef, cashier, host, manager named Stephanie, who was very accommodating and eager to make our all-you-can-eat-pizza adventure special.

Thanks Steph! The GLOB Master likes the way you throw a pizza pie!

After much calculation, it was decided that the Sanford clan had consumed 26 slices of pizza, several servings of salad, more garlic rolls than we really want to talk about and at least eight brownies.

The Pluses and Minuses of Cici's Pizza

Cici's Pizza + indicators: This was good, hot, fresh pizza in more varieties than seemed possible to eat.

Cici's Pizza – indicators: This was good, hot, fresh pizza in more varieties than seemed possible to eat.

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


Tijuana Flats

I've come to the conclusion that if I was going to be a serious meatless individual Mexican cuisine would be my cookery of choice because of the varied ingredient choices, spices, textures, and robust. Since I am now trying to forego flour, sugar and other 'white food products' the taco salad above offers me a fantastic opportunity to enjoy a cornucopia of taste delights sans the giant, molded taco shell. Carumba GLOBers! My Tijuana Flats Taco Salad in a whole wheat tortilla shell, spring mix greens, cheese, refried beans, guacamole, and a side of salsa is a fantastic lunch. I like a flavorful hot sauce and the TF has a interesting 'wall of sauce' and I always choose a green, and red sauce to enhance my lunch time flavors. My taco salad also can be ordered with additional proteins of black beans, chicken, mahi, steak, or carnitas. The scoop of 'guac' was special, the added pinto beans included a very nice flavor to my lunch of proteins resting on a bed of beautiful chopped greens. The added avocado dressing mixed went well with a very spicy, delicious salsa I asked for on the side. FYI GLOBer the next couple of weeks the Tijuana Flats across from campus in Midtown is not quite as busy as it will be in 30 days. At lunch the other day I was discussing meatless options, as opposed to red meat hamburger options. You know my fine friend, and eating partner if you get your lunch all the way, or add several of your favorite ingredients to your mid-day entrée, there is a good chance you couldn't really tell if you were eating meatless, or not. All the flavors combine, intermingle, meld together for an extraordinary adventure of taste, texture and flavor, plus you would be helping the planet in many different ways.

- GLOB Master



Taco heaven is located on University Avenue

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

It could've been the below average taco I ate last week at Las Margaritas.

I could say I'm lunching out at Back-to-back Mexican restaurants to inform GLOBers of some excellent Tex-Mex lunch stops.


I do want to feature Midtown's Tijuana Flats to demonstrate the distinctly different lunch opportunities of Las Margaritas and Tijuana Flats to lunchouters:

Let's call it the, 'GLOB Mexican Two-fer.'

zzGLOBbullet  TWO different styles of Mexican lunches.

zzGLOBbullet  TWO completely different approaches to the Mexican taco.

zzGLOBbullet  "Taco TUESdaze"

Tijuana Flats is directly across from the University of Florida campus and takes a certain amount of resolve to find a good parking spot. However your patience is rewarded with a visit to this contemporarily hip, comic book like Mexican lunch experience. There is also a TF Location on SW Archer Rd.

TF's is quick to show the new customer that this isn't your parent's taco stand. They work hard to demonstrate a healthier approach to Mexican cuisine.

Included on the menu is the 'LO Items Under 500 Calories' category. These entrees are made with a regular size, whole wheat tortillas and what they call Power Lite ingredients. Other healthy features of the TF menu are:

zzGLOBbullet  Free of charge you can add low fat cheese, and fat-free sour-cream from TF's Power Lite items.

zzGLOBbullet  Whole wheat tortillas can be substituted in place of the regular flour tortillas.



Tijuana Flats has some different combo platters including the Steak & Cheesy Burrito, Blackened Chicken Caesar Burrito along with many nachos, flautas, chimichangas and quesadilla choices. A rice bowl is also on the menu that loads rice, black beans grilled onions, green peppers, tomatoes and green onions into a large, crispy, whole wheat shell for the veggie lover. For protein additives chicken, steak, refried beans or black beans can be added to your rice bowl lunch entree.

This myriad of choices almost pulled me away from my lunch time mission. I was in Tijuana Flats in search of tacos. Hard shell tacos to be exact.

The GLOB lunch gods must've been watching over me. Plain as day, in the middle of the menu the DOS O TRES TACO special screamed at me, "globalización maestro!" That's GLOB Master in Spanish.

What a lunch! Two 9" inch in diameter hard shell tacos loaded with black beans, jalapenos, onions, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and cheese for $5.49. My first taco included chicken as the protein. My second taco was a beef taco.



These tacos were bigger than my extended hand, and for an additional $1.99 I added rice, black beans and a soft drink with free refills.

TF's also has a very cool 13 different hot sauce bar are available to customize your Mexican heat quotient with clever names and variable dgeres of heat with names llike, 'Smack My Ass & Call Me Sally... Jalapeno The Second Slapping,' to 'Just In Queso Foundation,  Share The Love Feel The Burn.'

I was in crispy, crunchy, taco heaven!

Tuesday's are TACO TUESDAZE, a fantastic taco special that includes two 'tacos on steroids', chips and a drink for $4.99.



TF is a very hip, comically cool lunch spot. The walls of the restaurant contain many of the Tex-Mex, comically themed graphics that are displayed on the Tijuana Flats website. You should check this web site out if you are into comics, color or graphic design. I will go back to check the web site out again just for a dose of coolness.

I didn't mean to over look all the other lunch time swlections on the TF Menu including salads, tostados, burritos, nachos, flautas and many other Tex Mex entrees.There is a lot of good information on their web site. I also applaud Tijuana Flats for 'having their head' in the right place in regard to appealing to their customer's awareness of their health, well being and social consciousness. (there is a restaurant menu link at the bottom of this feature.)

Me, personally, I'm going back to Tijuana Flats for TACO TUESDAZE.

The Pluses and Minuses of Tijuana Flats

Tijuana Flats (+) indicators: TACO TUESDAZE, 9" taco shells, visiting the comically cool TF website. (see example above.)

Tijuana Flats (-) indicators: Plan to go to TF early, when UF is closed, or, be patient and enjoy this unique environment while waiting for your lunch.




The cafeteria like cacophony of midtown's Tijuana's Flats was music to the GLOB Master's ears. I will admit it takes a special perspective to walk in bravely , following the Tijuana Flats wall around the corner and up to the ordering counter in a sea of millenials chowing down, getting up, sitting down, coming inside, rapidly exiting. The wall-to-wall activity made it seem like there were 300 fellow lunch outers in my midst. Seeing the friendly server behind the counter was for welcoming experience for this non-millenial. "Hi welcome to Tijuana Flats," she said with a giant smile. "Have you ever been here before," she asked with a curious look. After exchanging pleasantries I order my go to Mexican meal these days of a taco salad with whole wheat tortilla shell, mixed greens, choice of Chicken (chipotle or blackened), or Beef, steak, refried or black bean and crispy fish, toppings, guacamole and a choice of ranch, salsa, avocado ranch or Southwest citrus vinaigrette dressing. I was lucky to get the last table in the corner allowing me to have my back against the wall and to be able to watch the college lunch day madness unfold in front of me. I love the Mexican flavors of the taco salad. All the ingredients combine for a wonderful fiesta of tastes. The spicy chicken melds nicely with the sharp cheddar cheese, and crunchy onion, and lettuce flavor. The big scoop of guacamole and the fresh jalapeno peppers made my lunch salad special.  I went over and picked two of very good sauces from the sauce bar. I selected a green sauce for flavor, and a red sauce for a little scoville punch. The TF website has a clever statement identifying all the politically correct Tijuana Flats processes: No microwaves or freezers.

zzGLOBbullet Vegetarian lard-free beans.
zzGLOBbullet No canned foods ever.
zzGLOBbullet Zero trans-fat cooking oil.
zzGLOBbullet Hormone-free chicken & steak.

-Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor





Hurricane Burgers Tacos Wings

Excellent burger, street corn highlight menu

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

BTWsf250The plan was to make a stop by the new Hurricane Burgers Tacos Wings lunch stop in the old Burritos Brother Taco Company Midtown location just off of University Avenue.

Hurricane BTW owner Jack Gandolfo had different ideas.

"Are you a burger, wings, or a taco guy Mike," he asked sounding like Las Vegas card dealer ready to serve me up a lunch made to order.

"I like to call myself an eating professional," I responded trying to slow down the apparent food train coming directly at the GLOB Master.



"So who makes the best burger in town," the hamburger stand owner asked. "I've heard about Gainesville's Relish hamburger and I like it, it's a good burger," he added.

"You look like a double cheeseburger kinda guy to me," Jack said waving for a server to come take our order. "I'm telling you GLOB Master give the Hurricane BTW Double Cheeseburger with guacamole, and bacon a try and you will find out what a really good hamburger is," Jack said.

How would you react to challenge like this after bragging about being an eating professional, and listing my favorite local burgers . . .  I ordered the Hurricane Burger Tacos Wings Double Cheeseburger with guacamole, and bacon.



"You need to add a side of Mexican St. corn to go with that burger. Have you eaten Street Corn before? Before they coat the corn on the cob with cheese queso sauce, they dredge the corn in delicious spices, what a flavor blast," Jack exclaimed.

I was smiling thinking good, no French fries today as I sat waiting for my unplanned lunch.

I liked the design of the Burrito Brothers restaurant and not much has changed, however there seems more of an emphasis to the bar area being the center of activity in Hurricane's BTW.



As far as the menu goes milkshakes and bottled water are available as well as Imported, and local craft beers Swamphead on tap, and First Magnitude in cans.

Street corn ($3.50), is the highlight of the short list of HBTW appetizers. Guacamole & Chips ($6), French fries ($2), and Kimchi Slaw ($2) are available.

An $8 price point seems to be the driver for main lunch entrees. There are substantial varieties of both chicken wings, ($8 for eight) and the tacos, ($8 each for six out of seven choices).

Of the five hamburger choices two of the selections, including the Hurricane BTW Double Cheeseburger with guacamole, and bacon ($10.50), are titled Premium lunch choices.

There is a complete menu at the restaurant link at the bottom of this page.



The multi-stacked double cheeseburger was a smorgasborg of flavors and textures. I like to think a good hamburger dressed all the away will allow this eating professional an opportunity to enjoy all the flavors. That's what was happening here. The bacon flavor was pronounced, of course the mustard, ketchup, made their obligatory presence. I was surprised that the guacamole spread was a little on the light side for a $1.50 scoop.

The hamburger bun was steamed perfectly, and it was just the correct size for my mega-sandwich. Isn't it funny how a bad bun,  hamburger sandwich roll experience can really mess up a good thing.

I wish I had stuck to my no-thank-you-guns and waited to experience the Hurricane with friend. You know what I'm talking about GLOBers. The idea of sharing lunch can open so many eating surprising  doors.  I'm going back to HBTW with a pal and I will have the DIY half-a-burger, one taco and two chicken wing platter of my own creation, spices and flavors. Plus a plate of the very tasty Street Corn

The Pluses and Minuses of Hurricane Burgers Tacos Wings:

Hurricane Burgers Tacos Wings (+) indicators:  A very good hamburger, a multitude of delicious choices and decisions looming.

Hurricane Burgers Tacos Wings (-) indicators: This is a student driven lunch stop prepare yourself accordingly.

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Maui Teriyaki

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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

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