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Restaurant lunch highlights:

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Dragonfly

Perfect location for beautiful lunch outside

DragonflySFBy Anonymous, Guest Columnist

I was looking forward to a wonderful lunch at Dragonfly in downtown Gainesville last Thursday, and I was not disappointed. These guys sure know how to run a restaurant. From the minute you walk in the front door, you feel special. The hostess always remembers where I like to sit, and I have never had a so-so waiter here. Pleasance, not 'attitude,' seems to be a key component to employee training at this sushi/Asian restaurant. Customer friendliness is so refreshing to see in bigger Gainesville establishments like this one.

DFhomepageMy friend -- the Gainesville Lunch Out Blog Editor Mike Sanford -- and I chose to sit outside and watch downtown meander by this lunch hour.

Mike had never been to Dragonfly for lunch, so I took it upon myself to order for him.

DflyquoteWe started our lunch order with Edamame, which the GLOB Master devoured pod and all. Fine with me. Edamame is a preparation of immature soybeans still in the pod commonly found in Japan, China, and Hawaii. The pods are boiled in water together with condiments such as salt and served whole.

We next enjoyed a Tuna Flatbread, plenty for a full lunch or to share as a starter. This is thinly sliced tuna sashimi over a crisply grilled wheat pita with tomatoes, onions, jalapenos and shiso and is finished with a honey wasabi aioli

This was the favorite selection of the day.

The GLOB Master's lunch entrée was Chicken Katsu Don, which is panko-crusted chicken breast over brown rice with veggies and an egg omelette sandwiched in with the other ingredients.

I had Thai Bangkok Noodles with tofu and veggies. This can also be made with chicken or beef. A cooked egg 'round' is placed under the noodles and tofu as a base so the other flavors of the dish sit atop the egg. This is a very good dish. I love the spiciness; it needs no additional srirachi sauce.

I do wish Dragonfly was open for lunch every day, but alas, only Thursday and Friday.

Sitting outside, enjoying the fall, greeting an occasional passerby and comparing lunch time notes with pet dog Rusty makes Dragonfly a favorite Gainesville lunch spot for me.

 

DflyJULEScutline

 

063015dragonflyFISHY For International Sushi Day, Dragonfly Restaurant used their popularity in the Gainesville and Orlando communities to create a more impactful type of awareness. Both locations decided to "use their margin for a mission" to raise money for two local charities: the Ronald McDonald House of Gainesville and Community Food and Outreach Center in Orlando. The proceeds from this "Craft Your Roll" night at each Dragonfly location not only drew quite the crowd, but allowed patrons to become the sushi masters for a night while knowing that 100 percent - yes, all of the money spent - would become a charitable donation. Dragonfly took it one step further by asking sushi creators to name their masterpiece and let the social media realm know that's just #HowIRoll. Above is an image of Dragonfly's popular Volcanic Rolls. We named our roll the Here Fishy, Fishy Roll, image right the And the charitable numbers are in: Dragonfly Restaurant raised $1,850 for the Ronald McDonald House that night.

- Melissa Kahan

The Pluses and Minuses of Dragonfly

Dragonfly + Indicators:  Taste, style, customer frendly, professional approach to th art of cooking.

Dragonfly - Indicators:  They should serve lunch every day!

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

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Good Fortune

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

The Pluses and Minuses of Las Americas Latin Cafe:

Good Fortune (+) indicators:

Good Fortune (-) indicators:

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Gator Suyaki

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

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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.

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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.

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PERFECTpieOAKS

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.

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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.

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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.

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New restaurants open in Midtown

3nativesSF

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.

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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.

3MEALS

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Fork & Pasta opens in Stadium Club building

ForkPastaSF

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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SababaSF

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.

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Soul Shack opens on Waldo Road

SOULshackPIC

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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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Wholly BBQ opens downtown

WHOLLYbbqCAFE

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 TBN.com readers recognize the Square 1 burger as tops in the hamburger category.

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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.

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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.

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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 .

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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'.

 

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XPRESSgrillSF

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.

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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..."

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

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

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

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

Ocean Buffet

The OB is an Eating Professional's paradise

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

OBstoreFrontI walked into the Ocean Buffet Asian lunch stop on the corner of the Oaks Mall Plaza, and the first thing I saw was rows, and rows of lighted food trays. Lunch time customers were busy scurrying from the lines of food trays searching out their favorite ABE.  That's Asian Buffet Entrée for the non-eating professional.

You have to trust me, GLOBers. I was witnessing a lunch-time professional eating convention where the weak, or timid lunchouter could be trampled, kicked under the buffet line, and left for the afternoon clean up crew.

 

OBshrimpVerticalThe Ocean Buffet has EVERYTHING!: Appetizers, soup, low mein, chow mein, egg foo young, beef, chicken, vegetables, and even a line of American dishes like pot roast, baked ham, baked fish, roasted turkey, and non-stir fried vegetables.

Ocean Buffet also has a complete sushi and sashimi bar, a raw bar of oysters and an assortment of crab and crab claws.

Last but not least, there is a spectacular dessert bar!

Of course all of this is subject to change as the eating professionals (EPs) attack these islands of gluttonous, masticating delights.

 

OBriceThis isn't my first buffet foraging rodeo, so I had a strategy.  I casually strolled the isles searching out my favorites,  AND making sure sure I didn't miss any special yummy entrees gems that would pleasantly surprise my taste buds.

 

OBcroquetes

I quickly adopted the EP assumption that this lunch would be a two-trip visit to the food islands. My plan was to first select my favorite lunch time goodies, and then capture a second helping of my buffet world favorites.

 

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My mother would have been proud of the OB choices I made on my first lunch plate creation (pic at top), which consisted of fried rice, a vegetable medley of broccoli, carrots, baby corn, peppers, and mushrooms. For proteins I selected some stir-fried pork, fried shrimp, and an interesting looking raw oyster. I added a dollop of some of the hottest Chinese mustard I have tasted in some time.

Stir-fried veggies done right have to be the crispiest, most colorful, crunchiest and flavorful way to please a homo sapiens palette. Mixed with the fried rice, the veggies won the GLOB Master best lunch entrée of the day award. The pork was just OK, with an unremarkable taste. Still, I ate all my pork. The fried shrimp were too heavily battered for my prawn pleasure. I think the oyster was of the smoked variety, albeit on the dry and chewy side of yummy. There is an image of my first lunch plate at the top of this feature.

I also picked out a spring roll for the same reason I always order a taco in Mexican cafés. When in Hong Kong . . . ? The roll was crunchy and provided a nice  scoop for the Chinese mustard. How hot was the mustard? Imagine one of those Looney Tune cartoons where the top of your head explodes.  Imagine your sinuses swelling and burning so bad you can't breathe. 

Then I went back for a second Ocean Buffet plate of gastronomic pleasure. It would be disrespectful not to try all the entrees or at least as many as possible, correct?

I did get some more fried rice and veggies the second time and they were very good. I also went American and tried the sliced pot roast and gravy. The pot roast was ok but a little chewy and on the dry side. (Just like that unusual looking oyster!!)

 

OBdessertsI skipped the dessert bar, however there were some baked goods that ALMOST pulled me into their web of sugar love.

The buffet lunch is nominally priced at $8. It is easy to see why this is such a popular lunch spot for serious Hogtown eaters.

I'm going back to Ocean Buffet -- but not any time soon.

The pluses and minuses of Ocean Buffet:

Ocean Buffet (+) indicators: A zillion lunch time choices; fresh, crisp veggies; and excellent fried rice.

Ocean Buffet (-) indicators: Crowded, lunch line-like attitude; I ate too much.

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

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Bento Cafe

Bento brings sushi-boat load of good eats

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

Both Bento Café locations on Archer Road and Newberry Road in Hogtown are not new concepts. However, students, parents and people of all ages flock to this chain pan-Asian and sushi kitchen regularly. I wouldn't even attempt going during peak lunch or dinner hours unless you are prepared for an extensive wait time.

BENTOrpCHRFS

The cooked entrees range from teriyaki, curry and stir-fry creations with protein and veggies to more inspired dishes, like the Cantonese Pork Chop bowl or the Pineapple Thai Fried Rice bowl. Don't even get me started on the sheer number of sushi rolls and bowls available, from veggie-only to standards like the Mexican and Volcano rolls to sashimi bowls and everything in between. For under $10, a sushi Bento box offers a little of everything: a selection of 2 classic rolls and a California Roll ( 4 pieces + 4 pieces + 8 piece California Roll = 16 pieces ). The long lines are almost welcome to give patrons enough time to wade through the sea of meal options. But that is a big ALMOST welcome.

MK480everything

At the Newberry Road location on a Tuesday at 7 p.m., the GLOB team and I were lucky to have just missed the swarm of hungry diners eager to get their hands on some reasonably-priced, casual Asian fare. We had a diverse palate for this particular venue: Mike is not a fan of raw fish; Lynn is slightly more open to the idea; And I love sushi more than most. With that being said, we went in with open minds and empty stomachs to try a little of everything.

 

BENTOrpWINGS

It took little convincing, but I sort of took it upon myself to navigate the menu for the team, as I have ordered Bento much more frequently than both of my dining companions. Starting with the cooked items, the steamed pork dumplings were a no frills, tasty appetizer with just the right texture and a tangy dipping sauce. Some clever visual signage persuaded Lynn and Mike to order six of the cilantro wings. The sauce was very tasty and the breading had an enjoyable crispness, but they seemed to be more breading than protein content. I liked that an additional dipping sauce was not needed. Without hesitation, I urged Mike to consider the Spicy Cream bowl as the main cooked entrée, especially knowing his love of spicy foods and the sheer amount of praise I hear about the rice dish. The three of us agreed that while it did not pack too hard of a heat punch, it had a great creamy flavor and texture that offset the thick chunks of slightly breaded chicken. Even the veggies in there had a little something extra to them, which I think is completely due to that sauce.

 

BENTOepROLL!

After a 5 minute wait time for the cooked stuff, the raw side of our menu arrived about 5-10 minutes after. First up was the very large Bamboo roll, which I think was the unanimous winner among the three of us. For $9.50 you can get easily an entire meal out of this 10-piece roll: I was surprised that with a filling of tuna, tempura shrimp, masago, cucumber, jalapeño AND Japanese mayo, the flavors were so cohesive. The avocado, eel sauce and tempura flakes piled generously on top, however, truly shown through with each texturally-rich bite. Sushi is just one of those foods that almost requires you to take a large, somewhat unlady-like bite of food to get all of the flavors as intended.

 

BENTOepTOPPERb

The Veggie Delite roll -- image at the top of this review -- l was a much smaller, albeit refreshing change of pace filled with a ton of crunchy veggies and fried tofu. I usually like to order a more traditional or popular roll to see how an establishment measures up, and I figured a pretty standard sushi roll, the Volcano roll, would aid in this determination. As Mike described it, the roll was much "mushier" than the others, a filling of krab, cream cheese and avocado certainly playing into it, while the salmon, although baked with the addition of spicy mayo, contributed to such a texture. This fishier roll was still devoured in its entirety, as it was pretty well-crafted. That's an understatement: All of the sushi rolls had a beautiful presentation and were certainly crafted with care and attention to detail. Even the edible garnish was eaten. We had to take the spicy tuna-salmon don bowl to-go because there was so much food, but that is my usual order when I dine at Bento so I knew what to expect.

BENTOrpSPECIALSThere are specials offered every day, so Lynn and I thought we would take advantage of the Tuesday one to each get a boba tea since they were BOGO. I ordered a milk tea with red bean flavor and boba tapioca pearls, while she ordered the green tea with passion fruit flavor and tapioca pearls. I greatly enjoy boba milk tea, so that was a treat. The flavor list is quite extensive, so I will have to come back another Tuesday to take advantage of the mix-and-match special.

MKdrinkAIn addition to the three other Florida cities that Bento is expending into, it is no wonder why the fast-casual Asian spot has developed quite the following in Jacksonville, Gainesville and Orlando (I would go as far as to say it's partially due to a cult following for that Spicy Cream dish). Next time, I would love to try some of their lighter menu options in the form of the Kawaii rolls. These protein and veggie-filled rolls take on a healthier approach to sushi, as they are wrapped in rice paper or lettuce, which significantly reduces calories and that overfull feeling that too much rice certainly provides. I also like a more refreshing approach to sushi, and these lighter rolls allow the taste of the fresh fish to be the star. For a chain restaurant, I think the GLOB team will agree with me when I say we are on Team Bento.

The Pluses and Minuses of Bento Box:

The Bento Box + indicators: Friendly service, standard wait time for food, good value for quantity of food, decent quality considering it is raw fish, extensive and varied menu

The Bento Box - indicators: Can get very crowded.

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

 

Bento1

 

Sushi, variety abound in Asian cafe

By Lynn Dirk, GLOB Content Editor

bentoBento Cafe in Royale Plaza on Newberry Road is generally a very busy place, so people apparently like the food. One thing that might contribute to that is cuisine variety and sushi options. The variety comes in a range of pan Asian cuisines including Korean bulgogi, Japanese tempura, Chinese szechuan, Pad Thai, Malaysian curry, and even a Cajun dish and a range of styles: either rice or noodle bowl or the famous bento box.

The GLOB Master, Joan Morasco, and I lucked out and got to Bento Box between rushes. We walked up to the counter and placed our orders and then took our numbers to a table.

The restaurant décor is modern and sleek, not very cozy, but the tables are very neat – the tops are lighted from underneath. Bento Box is a chain restaurant that uses either red or blue as the theme color. So far there are only two in town (thus the GLOB listing as chain restaurants with more than 3 restaurants in town are excluded). I've also been to the Newberry BB, and it has the blue theme.

 

bento4

Generally I have restricted my sushi experiences to the vegetarian sushi from Publix. Joanie persuaded me to share a grouper sushi and I am very grateful because it was fantastic. The grouper had been battered and fried so the sushi had an unexpected crunch that was a great complement to the rice. And my favorite part of sushi is actually the wasabi combined with the soy. Yum. Sushi also includes sliced pickled ginger, and the BB ginger had a much lighter, sweeter flavor than what I had tasted at Publix. Very nice.

About the time the sushi disappeared, the entrees arrived.

Joanie had come along specifically for some bulgogi, and next time I'm back at bento box, that's what I'll get. The sauce had a very rich, spicy flavor, but yet was not overpowering.

I had the chicken and broccoli with rice. It was a bit dry, so thankfully I was able to pour on a little umami with the soy sauce.

Both mine and Joanie's dishes were similar in that the meat was thinly sliced and tender. As in most restaurants, the veggie part of the dish is not predominant, which always bothers me. BUT the broccoli was crispy good.

 

bento2

The GLOB Master had his first bento box – the Cantonese pork chop. I was a little sorry I didn't also get that style of entrée because the dish comes with standard sides of sautéed green beans (yum, again) and a small salad consisting mainly of iceberg lettuce. The ginger dressing redeems the salad. There is also always rice AND noodles, which I think is a strange combination, but being a carb lover, I'm all for it. Finally there is a cute little coconut macaroon for dessert. Mike thought the pork chops were a little dry.

Overall, the meal was satisfying and the portion was large enough to justify the price. This is one of those fast casual restaurants – it's in between fast food and fine dining. As an example of that, BB does a good job.

The Pluses and Minuses of Bento Box:
The Bento Box + indicators: This good variety of food; there is outdoor seating; great grouper sushi.
The Bento Box - indicators: Can be very busy; the ambience is not cozy or welcoming

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

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Miraku Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Miraku Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yamato Japanese Steak House/Sushi Bar

Yamato's serves complete lunch with no sacrificing

By: Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

I can't begin to list how many restaurants people try to cram a party of 8 plus people into for a birthday celebration. Many locally-owned restaurants, while having delicious food, tend to be on the smaller side. Let's face it: Good food is being sacrificed for available space. Again, these smaller places are some of my favorites in Gainesville, but they are not feasible options for large parties.

yamatoCHEFWhile it is not a cozy boutique or a posh Italian eatery, Yamato Japanese Steakhouse, off of Newberry Rd. behind McAlisters Deli, gives the complete meal experience. Not only do you get dinner and a "show," but it comfortably, and purposefully, seats a large party around a large hibachi stove top. You can dine in with your significant other and a few other smaller parties, or you can nicely gather a pile of partiers — I've seen up to 12 —around the same stove-top for more unique dining.

This was the case of one of those birthday dinners, and I was greatly looking forward to the location choice. I have yamatoFIREeaten at Yamato multiple times since arriving in Gainesville four years ago (oh, how the time flies), and I have had nothing but delicious and fulfilling experiences. It is a dimly lit restaurant, complete with up to 10 hibachi stove-tops ready for viewing pleasure, but more on that soon.

Our large party crowded around the stove top table, and of course everyone went straight to the Teppan Yaki menu, where you will find the list of items ripe for the taking, a.k.a. ready to be grilled over the hibachi stove. I always order the steak and shrimp hibachi; it's good, it's filling, and how can you say no to surf and turf for $17 complete with a salad, soup, rice, noodles, and grilled veggies? All of these sides are included with any of the protein/veggie hibachi options. Yes, all of that is included. On this recent occasion, I mixed it up from my tried and true steak and shrimp option with a tofu protein main dish for the hibachi grill. Note: I am not in any way giving up on the steak and shrimp as a favorite or saying it should not be tried, as it is delicious. But I, your resident food adventurer, have to shake the palette up a bit every now and then.

So I'll take you through the night at Yamato's. Each stove-top has a chef assigned to it for the duration of the meal, along with a server. The server takes drink and meal orders, and the hibachi grilling starts soon after. This does not mean that sushi is not be an option; whenever I have ordered sushi at Yamoto I have been thoroughly satisfied, but when in Rome.... Anyway, after orders are taken, all those who selected hibachi start with a bowl of miso soup and a small ginger salad. I have never seen a time when servers did not bring out a bowl to everyone at the same time.

YamatoRICEShortly after the salad and soup are brought out, the chef arrives at the stove in front of everyone with my favorite part of the meal: the shrimp sauce. I slather the sauce on at every phase of the meal, from meat to veggie. Regardless of calorie count, for that one night, it is the most amazing addition to be consumed because it makes everything taste so much better.

The chef begins preparing fried rice, which at many dinners I have been to, is the unanimous favorite and many times replaces the noodles all together for a double side of rice. The meat for each person is brought out and tenderly cooked to each person's specifications. The chef does some spatula slight-of-hand with an egg or two, and we are all served piece by piece each stage of the meal.

yamatoSHRIMPveggiesWhen the veggies arrive, prepare for the onion volcano: A stack of raw onion rings, ascending in size as it is made to look like a volcano, is lit on fire in the middle of the stack with the help of some oil, creating an overwhelming gust of "lava" that is sure to warm your cheeks. These little tricks are a great way to stall the fact that each item has to be made separately to accommodate everyone at once, but it works in everyone's favor.

Once the veggies are grilled and served, noodles are then served — along with heaps more shrimp sauce — and the plate is full, so to speak (you've probably made a dent in some part of the meal somewhere, but it is a ton of food). A $17 price tag, or $11 for my tofu hibachi meal, can seem a bit too pricey, to which I agree for just another night out to eat. However, for a nicer or an out-of-the-box occasion, it is well worth it. Not to mention that the amount of food you get, from the soup and salad to start and the rice, noodles, veggies and meat to conclude, leaves more than enough to take home as well. And it is all so good. Just don't forget the sauce.

YamatoSFAnother thing to not forget: Make dinner reservations. I can't stress enough that a reservation is almost essential for smaller as well as larger groups. Just call ahead. Oh, and your entire party has to be at the restaurant before you can be seated, but once you are all there, I guarantee it'll be an enjoyable outing for all ages.

The Pluses and Minuses of Yamato Japanese Steakhouse

Yamato Japanese Steakhouse + indicators:  Seats larger and smaller parties; varying meal experience; good food and atmosphere; great food to price value

Yamato Japanese Steakhousel - indicators: you may have to be rolled out of here.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about the Yamato Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!<>

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Sushi Matsuri

Gator, Volcano Roll are lunch time gems

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

sushimatsuriI have made it my mission to find all the restaurants in all the nooks and crannies of Gainesville. During my first year in Gainesville, if the restaurant wasn't in my line of vision around the University of Florida campus, I was unaware of it. Even though now I have expanded my culinary horizons, four years after moving to Gator Land, there are always a few places that fly under the radar. Sushi Matsuri, next to Hungry Howies, off of Archer Rd., has been one such place.

On one of the rare occasions that I am not ravenous, sushi provides a lighter option that also appeals to my experimental side, allowing me to order a variety of sashimi or unusual rolls. Having such a hankering and hearing only positive reviews about Sushi Matsuri, I thought I would try it despite its somewhat tucked away location at 3418 SW Archer Rd. This location probably contributes to it being a regular spot for "the locals," as the majority of tables were full of younger couples with beautiful-looking rolls adorning each plate

As my friend, Thomas, and I were not particularly starving that Saturday, we agreed to narrow our selection to two rolls between the two of us, but selecting just two out of the vast selection of menu items would be a challenge, I love sharing to get the most out of my dining experience at a new location.

 

sushimatRICEPer usual, we each started with miso soup, which was very standard compared with other sushi establishments. The low $1.50 price tag, however, was a new appeal.

 

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The art of strategic selection is not lost on us: It took little convincing and some collaboration for Thomas and I to settle on the Gator Roll, image right, and the Volcano Roll. The Gator Roll consisted of a very filled roll of chopped, spicy tuna and yellowtail complemented by the distinct flavor of scallion and blanketed by a bed of roe (fish eggs) and sesame. I found it noteworthy that for a pretty simple roll, the majority of it was filled with fresh-tasting fish, making me feel that I got the best bang for my buck at $6.95. The Volcano Roll, image bottom right, although more expensive, created an enjoyable contrast to the freshness and no-frills simplicity of the Gator Roll. The Volcano Roll, filled with krab meat, cream cheese, also with scallion and roe, had a rich and hearty consistency, especially coupled with my favorite part of it: the avocado and spicy scallops adorning the top.

The wide selection of variably-priced sushi rolls, as well as the entire separate menu of cooked options, from katsu to tempura, enticed me to want to return for more. The delicious sushi and the prompt service created a cohesively exceptional sushi experience, complete with intimate, dim lighting.

The Pluses and Minuses of Sushi Matsuri:

Sushi Matsuri ( +) indicators: Good sushi, diverse menu selections, many options for non-sushi eaters, quick service and food delivery, open seven days of the week, reasonable prices.

Sushi Matsuri ( - ) indicators: somewhat tucked away location, off this eating Adventurer's lunch path.

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

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Tatu Sushi

T.S. is excellent alternative to hurried lunch

By Lynn Dirk, GLOB Content Editor

TatufrontNestled in the plaza on the NW corner of University Ave and NW 17th St is an elegant lunch stop that serves classy food where you would least expect it to find it, surrounded as it is by fast food and bar food restaurants in this college lunch stop mecca.

Tatu Sushi is a respite from the chaotic, demanding Western world. Step inside and it is dim – though not dark – and sounds are muted compared with most restaurants these days thanks to a low ceiling and wooden floor! There is sophisticated independent singer-song writer music that is playing at just the right volume – you can hear it clearly but at the same time it is easy to hear what your friend across the table is saying at the same time.

TatuwallTatu does not have a typical lunch atmosphere. It is just what the doctor ordered . . . if you have some extra time at lunch.

The GLOB Master and I did not want to drive far and were cruising University Ave looking for some little place not yet featured on the GLOB. We intended to go to the Fritanga Latin Grill in this shopping/restaurant complex but learned it had just closed in the past week. We kept walking in that direction anyway, and there was Tatu.

Asian. Hmm. Normally we would have saved this review for Bubba Scott, our Asian cuisine expert, but we were hungry and it was the best option at the time. Bubba would have been pleased to see that each table was aesthetically (not a Bubba word!) laid out with a small jar of soy sauce that you would not be likely to find at Publix or Winn Dixie and chop sticks on nice large napkins. I think Bubba will be making a visit eventually.

TatusushiNeither the GLOB Master nor I are sushi aficionados, but we knew we would have to try some, so we picked the Veggie with asparagus, avocado, cucumber, and kampyo (a kind of squash). Note the unusual combination of ingredients. I chalk that up to either authenticity, creativity, or both. We also ordered Beef Yaki-Niku ("fire-meat"!), which includes onion and scallion.

For the sushi, we were able to get some additional sauces besides the usual wasabi and pickled ginger. The additional sauces were unremarkable compared with the wasabi and soy. BTW, Tatu has fresh organic wasabi. I LOVE wasabi -- I like just a little sushi with my wasabi. Speaking of little, we got what I thought was a rather small amount of wasabi, but maybe because it was fresh and organic, it seemed to go a lot further than I expected. The rolls themselves seemed a little loose. Does that matter? Probably not, except that I usually like to eat half a roll at a time. You can imagine what that does. So I'm messy! I loved the black sesame seeds TS sprinkled on the sushi rolls.

TatuspreadThe Yaki-Niku came with salad, and the ginger dressing was fantastic. Once again, not the usual that I was familiar with – I asked our server to find out why it was so orange. It also had carrot, apple, and several other ingredients that made it special. There was a very nice mix of red and green baby field lettuces.

The GLOB Master thought the beef was tender. I agree. It was flavorful, not sliced too thin. I would have liked more sauce, Tatuplatebut maybe that's the way it's supposed to be with most of the flavor coming from a marinade. The rice was appropriately sticky.

We cleaned all our plates of this Asian lunch, and we were both very satisfied. Our always smiling server was very accommodating and patient with our questions.

There is quite an extensive variety of Tatu Sushi menu choices, so, as the GLOB Master says, I'm going back. As this is a fusion restaurant, there happens to be, from the kitchen (as opposed to the sushi bar) a Coconut Cream Curry (chicken or shrimp) and a Pad Thai, and I want to try both. So far I haven't had a Pad Thai better than that at Tim's Thai next to Ward's (not open for lunch!) so I'm always on the look out to see if a restaurant can match Tim's in my stand-in throwdown challenge ala the Food Network's Bobby Flay.

The Pluses and Minuses of Tatu Sushi:

The Tatu Sushi + indicators: Great ambience, interesting ingredients, very good food.

The Tatu Sushi - indicators: Service is slow (though worth the wait).

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

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