My Iveys last supper, er, brunch
Surprise, surprise: The GLOB's resident Eating Adventurer went out to brunch. And I certainly won't apologize for it. Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but brunch is without doubt the most wonderful meal of the day...only preceding dessert by a little.
As with many people, I get into food phases. This is very true of breakfast foods: At one point I ordered nothing but Eggs Benedicts, from crab cake to lox with capers right down to traditional and vegetarian. I could not get enough of that rich hollandaise streaming down poached egg mountains and enriching all that lay underneath. The current brunch fling that I have been flirting with the last few months has got to be a hash/skillet. If a breakfast dish of assorted veggies and meats are sautéed together with breakfast potatoes and resting under eggs, cheese and the like, I am in. While on a recent trip to New York, your food adventurer dared to try a corned beef, sweet potato and beet hash with two poached eggs, and, boy, was it tasty.
I was aware of this previously, but it recently occurred to me that Iveys Grill in the Publix shopping plaza on the corner of 34th St. and University Ave. is in danger of closing due to the entire plaza closing down for renovations. What will become of our beloved Ivey's? Regardless, I wasn't going to miss out on the well-established brunch/lunch purveyor any longer at the risk of never being able to taste its food again. My last Iveys experience was a lunch affair, so I had to make sure I got there for the highly-regarded breakfast foods on this recent visit.
It was about 12:50 p.m. on a Sunday when we arrived, so a wait was expected, but some grim weather left plenty of outdoor seating available and we were not opposed to an overcast backdrop if it meant being seated ASAP. There was an exemplary brunch menu, touting enough unique items, such as potato pancake eggs Benedict and French toast made from banana bread, to keep the adventurers happy while still serving classics including regular pancakes and omelets. The omelets included a build-your-own option offering a variety of local produce options, and my dining companion, Thomas, chose this for his meal. I opted for my "flavor of the week" in the form of "Spuds a la Grande" (image at top), with an extra side of cheese grits. Thomas and I also decided to split an order of the banana bread French toast (bottom right image), just in case this really was our last Ivey's excursion.
There are a few known facts about Ivey's: The wait during the weekends is long; the service is usually something to be desired; and the food is fantastic. The fresh, local nature of the produce and all ingredients truly shone through each dish. I could not get enough of my spuds: the sautéed onions, tomatoes and mushrooms were cooked just right and melded perfectly with the generous helping of thick breakfast herb potato wedges, all while two runny sunny-side up eggs and warm, Swiss and cheddar cheese blanketed the top. The banana bread French toast was a fantastic decision too. Using banana bread as the basis for this breakfast dish is genius, and I will try to duplicate this new twist topped with banana slices and powdered sugar.
Another phase of mine lately has been warm, perfect biscuits -- I cannot get enough. This is not your Pillsbury kind; these are the real deal and they are unbelievably addicting. I knew the spuds meal was for me when the side was a biscuit, and it was warm, fluffy and so satisfying. I ate half of Thomas' biscuit, too (bless his heart). Another of my latest trends has been ordering grits at basically every brunch place I go to see which wins in each category: consistency, taste and temperature. Ivey's cheese grits were extremely tasty, and I was especially pleased that they weren't just grits with some melted, shredded cheese on top but had cheese cooked into them. If they were warmer, they would have made top two overall. The only mistake was that the sides of sausage and bacon were meant to be in Thomas' omelet, not on the side, which was a relatively small error and these "left-outs" were well-received nonetheless, as was the well-crafted omelet, the quality of which Thomas made note (and he is very picky about restaurant omelets).
A local favorite in the spuds/hash category still has to go to Peach Valley's Picker Skillet, which has the best crispy breakfast potatoes and sausage gravy this side of Marion County. However, I was so glad I went to Ivey's for possibly the last brunch. It was enjoyable throughout and the quality food was well worth the wait. Stop by before it is too late!
The Pluses and Minuses of Iveys Grill:
Ivey's Grill (+) Indicators: Local ingredients, well-established, varied menu, did I mention how great the food was.
Ivey's Grill (-) Indicators: Small seating area (longer wait times almost imminent)
Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Iveys Grill. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS
Magic turns Sunday lunch into mystical brunch?
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
It was a Sunday, college students were on Spring Break, and it seemed like a perfect day for lunch at Ivey's Grill, located on the southeast corner of the 34th St and University Ave. intersection.
Ivey's has spent 25 years creating a Hobbit-like feel in this cafe of wooden booths and highly varnished, knotted, and burled tabletops inviting lunch-outers to an interlude of friendly conversation and adventurous food.
Settling into our wooden lunch niche, Lynn, and I were ready for an eatumological adventure. I was surprised when the waiter, who appeared from our sitting position to be taller than an Ent from the Lord of the Rings responded to my lunch order with a 'good news, bad news' reply:
"I'm sorry, we only serve breakfast on Sundays."
The good news was received well by Lynn, who was excited about seeing Potato Pancake on the lunch menu.
The bad news was I had to forego the Applewood Smoked BLT sandwich I had selected. But it turned out not to be so bad after all because my second choice was a Black Bean Burro that ended up being very tasty.
In what is now a typical process for Lynn and I, before the food arrived, we decided to share our Middle Earth brunch munch.
Lynn's giant wedge of potato pancake, seasoned with cheddar cheese and onions was larger than Lynn's plate and came with garlic sauce and apple sauce. My burrito was stuffed with seasoned black beans, scrambled eggs, and cheddar cheese and came with a picante sauce and sour cream. We added an order of perfectly cooked, crispy Applewood bacon for additional protein.
The various condiments were like a patchwork cape majestically wrapping around our entrées: the sour cream and picante sauce performed wizard-like magic to the potato pancake as well as the burrito, and the apple and garlic sauces melded nicely with my burrito.
It was a fantastical lunch! The charm and fantasy-like ambience and décor of Ivey's Grill was only rivaled by the adventure of an ordinary Sunday lunch turning into a Middle Earth brunch.
The Pluses and Minuses of Ivey's grill:
Ivey's Grill (+) Indicators: A mystical sense of being transported to another dimension awaits you.
Ivey's Grill (-) Indicators: Long-time popularity will sometimes result in long wait times.
Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Ivey's Grill. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS
- Phone Number: 371-4839
- Address: 3303 W University Ave., Gaineville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: University Avenue
- Web Site: Iveys grill
- Latitude: 29.6521245
- Longitude: -82.3715143
Ken Tuesday, 13 January 2015 14:04 Comment Link
Seems the food is usually good But the service here is really spotty. Some times you wait for forever to get waited on, other times you order and the food is slow, one plate great and another cold, service friendly and then just sorry. I keep returning a couple times a year with hopes things were just out of sync the last time but they just don't get it fixed.
cathy dewitt Tuesday, 13 January 2015 10:35 Comment Link
In its heyday, Ivey's was one of the top restaurants in Gainesville. Through all the years, it has maintained a high level of food quality and a unique menu. I always felt that breakfast/brunch was their best offering. It will be sad to lose yet another independent, locally-owned business as the powers-that-be continue to cut down stands of 100 year old trees and demolish historic buildings in order to build another cookie cutter development or Wal-mart. If we don't start paying attention, we will soon look like just another Anytown U.S.A.
I went to Iveys this morning. It took 50 minutes from the time I ordered to get my potato pancake. It came out burnt and they gave me the wrong sauces. I paid and they gave shorted me $3 short on what I needed back for change. I then talked to the owner and he told me to go f****** f*** myself and never come back if I want to complain.
The service at this place is awful and the fact that the owner is so bad that he would do that is disgusting. I highly recommend to NEVER go here.
Pamela Tuesday, 29 November 2011 19:09 Comment Link
Every time I go to Ivey's I feel older. The noise is louder, the seats harder and the wait longer.