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McAlisters Deli, Archer Rd.

A comfortable big box deli franchise 

 By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

McAlistersSFThere is something about McAlister's Deli in Butler Plaza that makes this sandwich deli that softens my usual disdain for franchise-land, big box lunch stops. Like most Archer Rd. franchises, McAlister's Deli tries very hard to serve you a menu of all possible lunch items you could ever want, including baked potatoes with a lot of toppings, but the staples are sandwiches. salads, soups, and desserts, and the quality of the food is acceptable for a quick typical lunch fare.

My daughter, Jana, and my grandaughter, Penelope, were in town and joined me and the GLOB Content Editor, Lynn Dirk, for lunch. Jana ordered the Cobb Club Sandwich.  Jana said the sandwich was tasty, and there was enought for her to share bits of Butterball™ smoked turkey, applewood smoked bacon, Gorgonzola cheese, guacamole, lettuce, and tomatoes, with Penelope.

I must admit the menu of McAlister's "Spuds" (baked potatoes),  is eye catching (image at top). They have come up with some interesting toppings for your backed potato lunch palette such as pot roast and gravy with carrots  and "Spud Ole' (chili with or without meat) as well as typical toppings such as lots of bacon and cheese together or separately.

Being deep in the middle of Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, Lynn was hoping for a good Meatless Monday option too, but she said the veggie options were pitiful.  For example, the "Garden Salad" was the only salad without meat added and it also had cheese.  The remaining ingredients were:  greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and croutons. She was so discouraged she just ordered a turkey sandwich.  I know.  That doesn't make sense to me either.  To misquote dead rocker Jim Morrison, "People are stranger when you're not strange."

This deli, however, made me feel comfortable, and I think one of the reasons was that it seemed smaller than most big-box delis and also it was not so noisy - maybe because we were seated in a cozy corner both way in the back. Also, the service at this McAlister's was very friendly and customer pleasing - a staff person came to check on us regularly to see if we were happy, and she was happy to retrieve addition condiments and a takeout box for us.  The one part of the deli that was just like all the others was the McAlister lunch line process.  It was fast and efficient but there was no escaping the approximately 125 plus choices on the wall in front of me. Waiting in the lunch line and trying to decide what I am going to eat before it is my turn to order creates true lunch time angst.

If I were in a hurry and there was a McAlister's close by, I could stop there for a quick satisfying lunch again.  The sandwiches are good.  The salads looked appetizing and also way too big for one person.  I'm not understanding this foodie trend to put more food on the s plate than makes sense.  Keep in mind GLOBers this is coming from a guy who grew up with his momma reminding him at every meal to "Clean your plate son, there's a lot of hungry children out there who would love to eat your dinner."



This was my first trip to McAlister's since they relocated to Butler Plaza's from their old Butler Plaza corner spot which is just a few doors south of this Meatless Monday Lunch Stop. Trying to think outside the sliced, toasted, open-face sandwich box, I ordered my first loaded baked potato for lunch. Sounding like an old lawyer friend, let me say this, "First of all, I am looking at the biggest darn baked potato I have ever seen.  Secondly I wear a size 11 shoe which I consider to be on the large side of footwear. This BP was a size 12 potato. This spud must've weighed two pounds. Three lunch outers could have enjoyed this tuber extravaganza with some leftovers remaining. Most importantly my McAlister's Veggie Spud was hearty, filing, and packed with flavors, textures, and yummi-ness on a king size bed of starchy, white, perfectly cooked potato. This lunch potato has it all -- red onions, bell peppers, diced tomatoes, black olives, and cheddar-jack cheese. I enjoyed my lunch. They could have left the potato in the microwave a little longer because I would have liked my BP a little warmer and gooier from the melted cheese.  This big box deli has several veggie/meatless lunch items for the no meat for lunch crowd.

Do you eat the skin of a baked potato GLOBers? I do. And this spud skin had an interesting 'chew' to it. It wasn't like chewing on my tennis shoe, but I did notice serious masticating taking place on my second and third molars.

- GLOB Master



McAliCHILIOur weather has turned distinctively hotter in Hogtown, and being out in the Butler Plaza area, I was thinking I needed a bowl of chili. I knew from the Urban GLOB Map there are more restaurant choices in the SW Archer Rd-34th St area than you can shake a soup spoon at, but it took me awhile to come up with a potential chili source -- McAlister's Deli in Butler Plaza. Come on fellow GLOBers. They have bowls and bowls of soup, plates and plates of sandwiches, 5-lb baked potatoes (see below), plus too many other lunch choices to remember them all. When I got there, there was a small lunch line -- possibly a cold weather effect.  At the counter, I pleaded, "Please tell me you have a chili!"

The respone?  "We serve chili every day. And in fact we have a Choose Two Special, with a cup of soup and half portion of any starter, salad, spud or sandwich," the friendly attendant said pointing above her to a sign that said exactly that. It was as if the lunch gods knew exactly what I was looking for, because the picture in the sign featured a Four Cheese Griller they called a "grown-up grilled cheese" that includes provolone, Swiss, American, and parmesan cheese with fresh tomato slices on a ciabatta roll. I added onion to my sandwich, selected a brownie for dessert, and headed to my table with my extra large customer indentifying number in my hand.

These places never make you wait too long, and my lunch was delivered promptly with a friendly smile. The chili was chunky with bits of ground beef floating in a pool of chili flavored red tomato gravy. The McAlister's chili gets a good grade. It was almost thick enough. The chili is spicy enough to please the average chili lover. My mistake was not asking for toppings of cheese, and chopped onions for the bowl of red . . . I will remember McAlister's as an any-day, any-time-you-want good bowl of red place.

The Four Cheese Griller was disappointing. The bread was barely warm and if the ciabatta roll was grilled, it must've been toasted the day before. Plus the inside of the bread was chewy and had a stale texture. The cheeses were flavorful. I love a good grilled cheese.

Leaving McAlister's, I looked one more time at all the pictures of all the sandwiches on the wall-to-wall menu boards and wondered how in the world I selected a D-Minus sandwich in a field of so many choices . . .

- GLOB Master

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


Hero's 'Great Sandwiches'. CLOSED: April 2019

Hero's 'Great Sandwiches' true to their word


HEROsfBy Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

I have come to a strong conclusion: There is no need to deny yourself that one food that truly makes your taste buds sing like a hallelujah chorus. I cannot deny my love, my overwhelming desire, for bread. If past features are any indication of this romance, I am not breaking up with the sandwich-hugging food any time soon. So when another insatiable craving for the fluffy yet crispy bread encompassing a sub sandwich arose, I enlisted another foodie adventurer, Erin Carlson,  — happily, I might add — and we ventured to a Gainesville sandwich staple: Hogan's.


102213HogansBOARDI have attempted to dine at the sandwich shop before, but this whole cash-only thing that many local Gainesville spots seem to be enforcing is not my favorite. Without cash in hand, I left with the promise of a return. The vast number of items and, I suppose for the lazier of sandwich-pickers (myself included), already-paired sandwich offerings are what solidified my return. Although not geared toward the vegan consumers, the variety of meats and pre-set menu items of the "Combination Heros" was quite impressive. From cappicola and hot or cold salami to proscuittini and turkey, the possibilities are endless.

Upon entering the small shop on this most recent occasion, I noticed a few consumers were dining in, but the handful of tables available was worrisome as to whether a seat would even be available if more than eight people ordered in. This is definitely not the place for a multi-person lunch outing; I would say three or four people might be pushing it. The cold temperature of the shop, which is connected to a bar-type back room serving beer to accompany your sandwich if you so choose, drove me to order a hot sandwich. The number 12 Combination Hero, image at top, comprised of hot pastrami and corned beef peaked my interest. I came to put some serious sandwich goodness away!



Complete with all the fixings, minus the onion, I was surprised that an 8-inch sandwich was under $7. It doesn't include a side, such as chips or a pickle, though, so there's that. Along with the price, another thing I noticed was that it's not often that a sandwich shop offers 6, 8 and 12-inch options for multiple levels of hunger.

Erin and I managed to grab a table, but despite one customer in line before us, it was about a 10- to 15-minute wait for our sandwiches. This doesn't sound like much, but when you are spoiled by the speedy assembly of a Jimmy John's, Jersey Mike's or even Subway conveyer line sub, it just doesn't compute. Nonetheless, we picked up our subs from the counter with open arms, marveling at the amount of food presented.



102213HogansFRIENDErin opted for the meatball sub, which was much more impressive than I had envisioned. The open-face presentation of the sandwich, the thick slices of white sub bread providing the bedding for a sheet of small meatballs under a blanket of melted cheese and marinara sauce with a sprinkling of oregano, called for a knife and fork. The bite-size meatballs were tender, welcoming the aromatic oregano that complemented the cheese and marinara sauce well, as with pizza. Although I am not much for meatball subs, this was more of a meal than a sandwich, so I had to at least consider it for a future choice.

On to my pastrami-corned beef beauty: I have to say, it was worth the wait. The first thing I noticed, after the size, was the bread used (of course), as it was not akin to a thinner, rounder baguette typical of a sub but more of a thicker, pressed panini-style bread. One very large bite was a flavor explosion, each bite as tasty as the last. The corned beef and pastrami, while not particularly hot as advertised, melded well with the bevy of toppings, from the unexpected sweetness of the crunchy pickles to the crispness of the banana peppers and lettuce and to the melted Swiss cheese, which a staff member recommended with this particular sandwich.

Unlike the meatball sub, I was not as fond of the oregano on my meaty masterpiece, as it was shrouded under the mustard and mayo condiments that coated the insides of the bread. Also, due to the close proximity of the other small tables to each other, I was definitely conscious of my conversation with Erin in comparison to the others around us. This seems like a setting for a nice solo meal experience, honestly, unless you don't mind strangers hearing about your eventful weekend.

Judging by my empty tray, I was extremely satisfied with my Hero's dining experience, despite a few setbacks.

The Pluses and Minuses of Hero's 'Great Sandwiches':

THE PLUS (+) indicators: Large, packed sandwiches at a great price; plenty of parking

THE MINUS (-) indicators: Could be lengthy wait time; very little seating; little expectation of private conversations; "hot" sandwich more on the lukewarm side

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


Ballyhoo Grill

Seafood, black beans & rice get high marks

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

ballyhoosSFThe Ballyhoo Grill on Newberry Rd. is a popular lunch spot that I should have featured before now for many reasons:

zzGLOBbullet  Ballyhoo's has an excellent patio for dining, music, conversation and lunch outings when the climate gets cooler.

zzGLOBbullet  They have a varied menu of seafood, sandwiches, hamburgers and pasta entrees.

zzGLOBbullet  Ballyhoo's has the only Tim TREEbow ever created.

Ballyhoo's island get away theme works throughout this friendly, fun restaurant.

I have spent most off my adult life thinking tacos are those crispy, crunchy, deep fried corn meal shells that contain ground beef, lettuce, cheese, onions and Mexican hot sauce. YUM!!

BallyHooTacosJANUARYI recently discovered the wonders of what tacos can really be.

Shrimp. Fish. Duck. My Latin American food pyramid foundation has been shaken with the discovery of the wonderful proteins that a corn tortilla can be wrapped around.

Ballyhoo's shrimp tacos are very good, very large, and very flavorful.

You know about the good angel and the bad devil that sit on your shoulders when its time to make a decision? These lunch partners show up when the server asks, "And what will your side dish be?"

In my case, the devil screams "FRENCH FRIES" and usually wins the debate.

Like my mother used to do, the angel looks at me, hands on her hips, tapping her toe, expecting the correct answer.

"I think I want to try the black beans and yellow rice today," I tell Courtney, our server.

TimTreebow"Good choice," Courtney says nodding her head in agreement with my selection as I sit up straighter enjoying doing the right thing.

Ballyhoo's blackened shrimp tacos were top shelf, prize-winning lunch time entrees. I will be back to order those beauties again.

The best thing I ate at Ballyhoo's this lunch time, however, was the black beans and yellow rice.

There's a Maria Muldaur tune titled, 'It Ain't the Meat, It's the Motion', that I will paraphrase when I say, "It ain't the beans, it's what you cook them in" that makes them wonderful.

Ballyhoo's black beans are some of the tastiest beans I have had in some time. The island spices included in the cooking broth create a fresh, bright, flavorful back drop to these yummy black pods of protein.

There is a birthday club at Ballyhoo's that you should join -- Members receive a free lobster on their birthday.

Not to be outdone by all the deals and offers of the Archer Rd. franchise restaurant establishments, Ballyhoo's has four different food challenges: fish, pork, hamburger, and hot dogs. Click the restaurant web link below this feature for more food challenge information.

Ballyhoo's was a great lunch stop. I became an unofficial Red Hat BhoosPatioSociety member. I reaffirmed my love for fish and shrimp tacos. I have discovered what I think might be some of the best black beans in the Urban GLOB.

I'm going back to Ballyhoos!





I was meeting good friendKate Valdovinos for lunch at Ballyhoo Grill.  I was excited about ordering the Ballyhoo guacamole that is made at your lunch table.   You can't get any fresher than that. Courtney, our server, was adept at combining the cilantro, onions, herbs, garlic, lime juice and tomatoes into a BallyhooSaladcreamy, chunky, very tasty green conglomeration of goodness.  Avocados are one of the GLOB Master's favorite food and this guac was delicious.  Since this was my first face-to-face meeting with Kate I applaud myself for not eating all of the guacamole.  The guac was very good, and made a very nice additional topping to the shrimp tacos mentioned below.  BTW Kate V. is the Editor of Kate's Salad Blog, and you can read her assessment of her Ballyhoo lunch salad on her blog.

The Pluses and Minuses of Ballyhoo Grill:

Ballyhoo Grill + indicators: Excellent seafood, extraordinary black bean.

Ballyhoo Grill - indicators: I was disappointed it was too hot to sit outside on the patio.

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




Perfect lunch satisfies low carb requirements

 By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

Hogans13thLast week I was lunching out with Lynn Dirk at Hogan's on NW 13th St. When the server placed a delicious looking tomato crown with tuna fish, peppers, cottage cheese, and onions in front of me.

"That is the perfect low carb lunch," I exclaimed to Captain Dirk as I gleefully scooped up a bite of cottage cottage cheese.

I was reminded the next day of my Friday lunch when I came across a story proclaiming we were all eating wrong and needed to focus more on out intake of carbohydrates:

Research suggests that mice given fewer calories to eat live longer. So it seems that separating what we eat from how much we eat is important in terms of understanding human health, and that's hard to do when countries as a whole have unusually gluttonous habits.

Gluttonous habits.

HOGANSmeatless300That's a nice way of saying in my opinion 'clean your plate' shouldn't be today's standard for meal consumption.

Somehow, for what reason I'm not really sure of, I have learned to not eat with two hands. I'm proud of the fact that I can no longer finish a whole lunch entrée. Smaller entrees, sharing have become the GLOB Master's modus operandi.

This is why I was feeling good about the Hogan's Tomato Crown lunch in front of me. All the flavors were there. The tart, sour pickle and crunchy onions. A medley of several peppers some marinated, others crunchy. A good size tomato sliced into wedges with a nice scoop of tuna fish salad beckoning me to enjoy the creamy flavors of the tuna fish and mayo combined with the yummy flavors of the gooey, fresh taste of the tomato.

Did you know Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

More important for the small price of under $6 the Tomato crown is a delicious cabaret of flavors satisfying my appetite while making the GLOB Master feel smart and full.



How good was my lunch. It was only once or twice did I think about asking Lynn to share her toasted Hogan's sub with provolone cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato. onions, vinegar, black olives, and sweet peppers with no stems. When I finally succumbed to my white bread desires and suggested we share our lunches Lynn's reply was a surprising, "Eat your own lunch."




Foot longs, hoagies, subs -- I was growing tired of sandwiches in cheddar and onion, sourdough, or multi-grain sandwich rolls. I wanted a sandwich like my momma used to make when I was kid. That's when I remembered Hogan's Great Sandwiches had a menu category called 'Deli Sandwiches' where I could have regular sliced bread. When I got to Hogan's, I asked the customer-friendly server at the counter, Kayla, what her favorite sandwich was, she replied, "The Proscuittini is an Italian, peppered ham that is REALLY good on a sandwich." She convinced me and I ordered The Proscuittini Deli Sandwich on toasted, dark rye bread with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, chopped banana peppers, and spicy mustard. OMG! I was in real sandwich heaven. The toasted rye bread complemented the crunchy lettuce and juicy tomato slices; the spicy mustard and peppers opened my eyes; and the ham with a recognizable taste and crunch of black pepper created a hearty flavor. Along with the macaroni salad and dill pickle spear, I had a fabulous lunch that was large enough I would have happily shared it with a lunch partner. Too bad I was lunching alone and had to eat the entire sandwich myself.

- GLOB Master




Reuben Royalty: 'The way momma likes it'

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

I just made a second shift lunch stop.

Hogans13thWinding up some great conversation, talking a little football with some friends it was time for a sandwich. Not just any sandwich. I was tired of sub-sandwiches, hoagies, french roll delights, Cuban sandwiches. I wanted a sandwich like my momma used to make,

You know what I'm talking about. A toasted rye or pumpernickel bread, stacks of sliced meat, textures, flavors on top of flavors.

Hogan's Great Sandwiches on NW 13th St. has just what my mother would have prescribed.

Walking into Hogan's I immediately check the tables on the right to see how many folks are sitting, waiting for their sandwiches.



I've never been in this place that there isn't at least on customer waiting for their order. With a very long list of regulars, locals, and returning happy customers it is easy to see why Hogan's is one of the more popular spots for sandwich connoisseurs.

However it's a civilized waiting process in Hogan's. No lines to stand in, or unhappy children invading your space. Heck, if 'waiting is the hardest part,' you can walk back, have a beer and catch the latest sports news on one of the many TV screens in the bar area.



Megan and Elton the customer friendly tandem behind the counter greeted me a smile. I'm not sure they were ready for all of my questions.

"What would you order if you were me Meagan?"

"How many sandwiches do you make in a shift Elton?"

"What sandwich makes you groan, 'OH NO' when it's ordered?"

Elton knows his business. He answered all my questions while never missing a beat making the two sandwiches in front of him.

"Try the Reuben Mike now that's a good sandwich,' Elton suggested. "Thousand island dressing, a tiny bit of spicy mustard, sauerkraut, and a mountain of thinly sliced, wonderful corn beef."

Elton might've talked me into the corn beef sandwich, but I am very happy he did.

It was fun watching Elton hone his craft. Did you see the GLOB news video of the Japanese knife company's guy slicing the tomato into 140 slices? That knife seller in England has nothing on Elton.

I wanted to ask him to make the sign of Zorro with his blade but I refrained thinking I would end up with a giant slashed 'Z' on my shirt.

The Reuben sandwich was superb, and I have also made two new friends in my quest for sandwich nirvana.

You know what? I'm going back to Hogan's real soon.

The Pluses and Minuses of Hogan's Great Sandwiches:

Hogan's Great Sandwiches THE PLUS (+) indicators: I M O Hogan's makes some of the best sandwiches in the GLOB.

Hogan's Great Sandwiches THE MINUS (-) indicators: Popularity breeds business. You will have to wait for your sandwich, but it's not a bad wait.




Hogan's has a nice alternative to the sandwich on the menu: The Tomato Crown. No, it's not a fancy carved out tomato stuffed with a salad, but it's still good. It's a quartered tomato with a scoop of salad – chicken, tuna, or egg -- in the middle with a side of cottage cheese and a boiled egg. It's very good, but I am not a big fan of cottage cheese. I AM a very big fan of Hogan's sweet and hot peppers, so I got a great idea: substitute peppers and onions for the cottage cheese and get potato salad instead of the typical options. I've done this before and it worked very well. I just spend a little time chopping up the peppers and onions and mixing them into the potato salad. YUM! Last time I tried this however, the substitutions were just too complicated for the cook, and the amounts did not come out right. This time, I tried a different strategy and even the waitress thought it looked very good: I just got all sides and requested they all be put on a plate together: egg salad, potato salad, sweet peppers, hot peppers, and onions. I chopped up the veggies and mixed it all together and it was as good as the tomato crown. I didn't miss the tomato as, let's face it, tomatoes ain't what they used to be, but it was still a great meatless meal for about $5 – if you don't mind doing a little chopping!

- Lynn Dirk

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


Flour Pot Bakery

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







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






Pita Pit, Midtown

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Gelato Company

Panini leaves Eating Adventurer satisfied

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

GelatoCOUNTERaI had never been to Gelato Co. for anything but gelato, but a lunch outing with a colleague merited a new experience.

I informed my coworker I was heading to lunch with a friend and when I said Gelato Co., he immediately dismissed the idea. I shrugged it off and went on my way over to the local spot boasting a decent selection of lunchtime fare and, of course, some killer gelato.

On arrival to the small shop next to Emilianos, I was pleased with the selections. From tuna to a variety of turkey sandwiches and more. I felt a simple, light lunch craving could be satisfied here, and a sandwich had been on my mind all day. My friend was adamant that the Pollo Panini was the way to go, and, although I hate to order the same thing as a friend, I felt a recommendation as strong as that one was not to be taken lightly, so we both selected the Pollo Panini meal, which included two sides: chicken salad and cream of mushroom soup. For about $8-$9, that seemed like a pretty good deal.

It took a good 10 minutes longer for my meal than my friends, but I was hoping it was worth the wait. The first thing I noticed, after finally receiving my food, was that my bread was different from hers: her focaccia bread was seasoned with rosemary and mine was sans rosemary. Needless to say, I was very disappointed in that. However, the longer wait time had me ravenous, so I was eager to dig in regardless.



One aspect differing from my idea of a traditional Panini was the extent to which it was stuffed. The generous amount of shredded chicken smothered in a swirl of mozzarella cheese and basil pesto and topped with tomatoes lent itself to a sizably thick sandwich, despite the pressed nature of a Panini. Each bite was as delicious as the first, the bread had a crunch that complemented the soft chicken mixture, and the mild mozzarella cut some of the richness of the pesto. The size of the sandwich did not set the stage for the size of the sides: I received what I would consider a dollop of chicken salad, which was just OK. Also, the soup was thinner than a cream of mushroom should have been. The sandwich, however, was fabulous and left me feeling ideally satiated.

When I returned to work and told my coworker about my lunch, he could not believe that I did not eat gelato. I hope this article will remove the stigma of Gelato Co. being solely in the frozen treat business, as its lunch options were quite good, but not so good as to knock gelato out as the reigning contender for why this establishment merits a visit.

The Pluses and Minuses of The Gelato Co.:

The Gelato Co. (+) indicators: Friendly service (try as many gelato flavors as desired!); tasty sandwich; amazing gelato

The Gelato Co. (-) indicators: Somewhat longer wait time for a lunch break; small and lackluster sides compared with the main dish

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



Frozen treat company offers lunch surprises!

By Angie Shepherd Keen

EDITORS NOTE:  Angie is a legal assistant, and a lover of all things downtown.

The Gelato Company is absolutely, in my opinion, one of downtown's most finest lunch treats!!  I simply love the atmosphere that this tiny little eatery offers.

gelatoComboAlong with the fabulous Gelato, they have some of Gville's most creative sandwich offerings, delightful and tasty salads, along with my favorite raspberry tea!

I try and eat salads at least 2-3 times per week for lunch and have found that it can be both challenging and mundane, however, Gelato's house dressing and homemade croutons are the bomb!  I also love their chicken salad on greens with the house dressing and those croutons simply send it over the top,

For a bargain price, you can order one of their many daily sandwich specials (which includes a drink), or splurge a bit for a salad and drink (which comes with a Gelato).

They make countless different flavors of their Italian Gelato & cakes daily and they will let you sample each one if you like. It's all yummy goodness!!

The service is always with a smile, and the servers seem to go out of their way to make sure you enjoy the Gelato lunch experience.

If you are lucky, or ask, they will also give you a 10% off card, and there is a Gelato Addict Card, so after every eight visits, the 9th Gelato is FREE!!!

And did I mention FRESH? It's all fresh, homemade breads, croutons, salads and more.

I just love that place and can't say enough goodness about The Gelato Company!!

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




Designer Greens

Heart healthy lunching pad & 52 choices

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

My thought was, if it was a heart healthy lunch day, Designer Greens sounded like the perfect spot to get the healthiest dish going – the salad.

The very cool restaurant name alone is a good reason to check out this Midtown lunch spot across from UF campus and The Swamp restaurant on University Ave.

DgreensMy suggestion is to arrive early. My 11:25 arrival not only allowed me to be first in line but I also found a parking spot in the small very crowded parking lot of Gator Plaza, where DG has its salad port.

Scott and Eric, the tag team manning this lunch time starship, were standing behind the counter of this launch pad lunch line to a have-it-your-way salad universe that boasts 36 salad toppings, 5 different proteins, and 13 different salad dressings put together by choices you make in 5 steps.

Waiting to be asked for my order, I watched an open grill lined with chicken breasts being beautifully charred to presentation-perfect doneness. "When the day is over, we will have cooked close to 60 pounds of chicken," Eric said.

Then as I stepped up to the two LTSC (Lunch Time Starship Commanders), they began their ignition sequence to creating salads, soups, and flat bread sandwiches for hungry hoards that arrived en masse shortly after me.

I was having a problem with my decision making so I was relieved there were "Chef Designed" salads to choose from – 9 to be exact, including the Waldorf, Bruschetta, and my choice, the Mexicali Salad.


DGmexicaliSALADfloppedMy Mexicali Salad was loaded with Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, black beans, corn, multi-colored tortilla strips, and cheddar and pepper jack cheeses. Eric topped this colorful salad with a tasty chipotle/lime juice salad dressing.

The DG has a half and half special: combine half a flat bread (FB) sandwich with half a salad. This gives you an opportunity to try one of their 9 FB sandwiches including Cuban, Tuna Melt, and Turkey Portobello along with one of the 9 salads.

designrergreensThe Designer Greens salad and sandwich shop was the perfect way to launch myself into a universe of healthy food. And even though it opens a world of healthy options, it's good to know that it is a Florida native: According to the menu, it was started in Orlando, and Gainesville is the 2nd one to open. UF students might be most likely to appreciate the fact that it was started by someone fresh out of college. If this is what colleges are churning out, there is hope for the world, let alone the universe.

I'm going back because I think a couple of those sandwiches were screaming out my name as I was leaving . . .

The Pluses and Minuses of Designer Greens:

Designer Greens (+) indicators: Who would think their could be so many great salad choices.

Designer Greens (-) indicators: Location, location, location . . .

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



When the Gainesville Lunch Out Blog decided meatless lunches would be the next GLOB FAB FIVE lunch out experience, my first thought went to Midtown's Designer Greens across from campus. With more salad choices than you can imagine, DG has a Half 'n Half salad and flatbread sandwich special I could eat for lunch every day. The friendly staffers behind the counter are quick to accommodate your request. My most recent Half 'n Half was the Avocado Salad and a half of the Chicken Pepperjack Flatbread Sandwich. It was at the suggestion of the 'Designer Greens Girl' that I substituted a portobello mushroom for the chicken breast. The pepperjack and mushroom combination made for a nicely spicy sandwich on toasted flat bread that satisfied all my protein needs. The melted pepperjack cheese did an excellent job of melding the earthy flavored mushroom and flatbread together into a gooey, flavorful sandwich.  The DGG also suggested the Avocado Salad because it contains a lot of ingredients, including romaine lettuce, mandarin oranges, corn, red onions, hard boiled egg, candied sunflower seeds, and goat cheese as well as the avocado. I not a big fan of sweet items in my lunch, however the orange slices and citrus dressing brightened this salad and presented the GLOB Master with a very fresh, surprisingly tasty, crunchy salad experience. Designer Greens is a no brainer for GLOBers looking for a Meatless Monday alternative.

- GLOB Master

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