Locals likes the return of Steamers
By Kim Harris, GLOB Guest Correspondent
Long-time Gainesville lunchers may remember Steamers as a hot, hole in the wall, carry-out place in midtown. After being sold to Tasty Buddha and then closed a few years ago, Steamers has returned to Gainesville, this time at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza in downtown Gainesville.
Steamers is located at the corner of SE 1st Ave and SE 1st St. in a stand-alone brick building and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11am -10pm. There are picnic tables and a bar area where people can eat on-site, but it is still a popular place for carry-out. Don't work or live close enough to walk? Steamers has several dedicated parking spaces for cars and bikes, for Steamers patrons only. Menu prices range from a measly $5 to about $12.
On my first visit to Steamers, I was joined by the GLOB Master and long-time Gainesville foodie, Jules Gollner. They each ordered a beef twister. I guess the twister sandwiches are what Steamers was originally known for, but being a vegetarian, I've always enjoyed the curry dishes. Jule and Mike generally agreed that the twisters were a bit dry and could have used more veggies. It's a $6 sammie and does not come with any sides.
I ordered the veggie tofu curry. I was disappointed that they only serve white rice, and not brown. The curry was flavorful, but there was not much tofu, and the ample portion of potatoes was not fully cooked. It was a filling lunch, though, at $8.99.
There is a complete Steamer's menu at the link below.
Steamers has cold, canned sodas available but no ice, so the drinks were not refreshing for long since we were seated outside.
On the whole, I found the Steamers experience disappointing. It has taken me a long time to write this review, because I really wanted to be more positive about Steamers. I've been back to Steamers a couple times while (I hope) they are working out growing pains.
I went back to Steamers and my hopes were justified -- there have been positive changes. They now offer brown rice and iced tea, improvements that made me very happy. I tried something totally different -- the tempeh burger. This sandwich comes on a white sub roll and is filled with tempeh, your choice of cheese (I can't remember what the choices were, but I went with Swiss), lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. Had there been a menu that listed the ingredients, I would have asked them to hold the ketchup, but now I know for next time.
My friend, Erika, cheerfully joined me for lunch and got the veggie fried rice with no broccoli. She was pleased with it, although it was a little light on the tempeh.
Steamers has also added more picnic tables and a small stage for live music performances on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. There was a decent-sized group of people in line for food, even in the summer heat. Between that line and all the good additions, it looks like Steamers is starting down the road to a successful comeback. I know I will continue to check it out and hope for more consistency and more protein in the curry and fried rice.
I do have one MAJOR complaint. Steamers has two small speakers (that could be computer speakers) placed next to each other in one corner of the patio, next to the order window. Those little speakers are not meant to be cranked at concert volumes and yet they have been turned up to 11 every time I've been there. It not only makes it difficult to hear when standing near the entrance or placing your order, it also makes the experience unpleasant because the speakers sound so horrible—tinny and noisy. No music would be better than what blasts out of those poor little speakers.
The Pluses and Minuses of Steamers
Steamers + indicators : Vegetarian-friendly, pleasant staff, excellent downtown location.
Steamers - indicators: "Sound" system, no indoor seating, $2 for iced tea with no refills.
Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!
- Phone Number: 352 505-5777
- Address: 104 SE 1st. Ave
- Urban GLOB Location: Downtown
- Web Site: Steamers Menu
- Latitude: 29.651267
- Longitude: -82.323676
Jules Wednesday, 29 July 2015 17:09 Comment Link
Excellent article Ms. Harris!
Right on point- and I am So Tired of iced tea for $ 2.00 or $ 3.29, wherever you are.
It costs .15 Cents, tops, to brew iced tea. I understand the cup and ice and lemon, but really?
Looking forward to more great reviews from the Glob Staff!
Kim Harris Wednesday, 29 July 2015 15:32 Comment Link
My friend, Erika, ordered the tempeh fried rice, so it really should have had more tempeh than it did (just about 4-5 pieces, I think). I have not been completely satisfied with Steamers; it is improving and I do encourage others to give it a try.