Seafood, black beans & rice get high marks
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
The Ballyhoo Grill on Newberry Rd. is a popular lunch spot that I should have featured before now for many reasons:
Ballyhoo's has an excellent patio for dining, music, conversation and lunch outings when the climate gets cooler.
They have a varied menu of seafood, sandwiches, hamburgers and pasta entrees.
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!!
I 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.
"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 Society 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 creamy, 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!
- Phone Number: (352) 373-0059
- Address: 3700 W University Ave, Gainesville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: University Avenue
- Web Site: Ballyhoo Grill
- Latitude: 29.652322
- Longitude: -82.379527
Barbara Tuesday, 18 June 2013 14:56 Comment Link
You're right! The guacamole is OUT OF THIS WORLD! I'm not a seafood person so I passed on the shrimp tacos but I will tell you that the chicken and ribs combo was very delicious and a good-sized portion to boot. We ate inside and watched the basketball game on the big screen because it was so hot outside but there was music playing outdoors. Anyway, thanks for steering us in the direction of an enjoyable meal.
The Ballyhoo Grill Kentucky Steak Salad was great for an afternoon lunch! It wasn't as good as their Tuna Chop Chop salad though, but I'm a huge fan of sushi. Seafood can be difficult to master and I think they do a good job.
I can't wait to start my salad column with the GLOB!!
Jackie Friday, 02 November 2012 11:06 Comment Link
Mike....you look good in a lady hat! Ha ha. I love BallyHo avocado and chips. They make the guacomole right in front of you and it's truly a meal in itself.
You forgot to mention Friday, Nov. 2, HABITAT FOR HUMANITY WOMEN'S BUILD FUNDRAISER at Tioga Ampitheater, 7-10 pm with MoTown Sounds. I'll be tending bar at this fundraiser so come on by!
Patrick of gainesville Friday, 11 November 2011 12:02 Comment Link
going to catch a few beers after work at the usual Friday spot. Ballyhoos of course. where else in the world can you get a microbrew for a buck seventy five hang with the local rednecks and business whos who and eat well. nowhere else that I can think of. if theres another let me know. they went and changed the menu, the menu type and waiters and bartenders garb. looks like a cross between Steak-n-Shake and Marks Steak House in the middle of Key West. I haven't been able to follow the theme yet but the food is great and at a reasonable price. my drinking buddy (he drinks coke I drink beer, bourbon, scotch, rye etc) says the sandwiches are really good try a burger. I normally don't eat burgers ground-up something with crunchy stuff that may be a fingernail or two along with bone fragments. But the man says go. Best burger I ever ate. pastrami burger (pastrami on a burger!) with remoulade sauce cooked the way I like medium on fresh made pumpernickle rye. two sides. I'm in the cole slaw and black beans and rice track. great. healthy portions and tastes great. I'm in heaven with a Bally Brew to chase it all down. bartenders are always on target and serve me well so I am putting in a good mark and deserving tip thanks
Jules Wednesday, 31 August 2011 22:44 Comment Link
I have not been back to Ballyhoo's after that lunch 2 years ago. It is way too loud in there, and the food is mediocre for the price.
Service is so-so; uncaring and sometimes rude.I cannot figure out why management continues to put up with untrained staff. That includes restaurants everywhere.
Best staff in town: Dragonfly,Mark's Downtown, Indian Cuisine, Buddha Belly.
The last thing I want when I go out is a highbrow, 'I'm better than you' wait person.
More tips on service staff another time.
Marty Liquori's quartet is at Ballyhoo on Tuesday nights from 6:30-9:30; they play live jazz there every week! There may be music on other nights too, but I'm not sure...This is the music area indoors under the big mural, not out at the Tiki Bar.
Keith Monday, 22 August 2011 09:52 Comment Link
Used to be good, now service is slow and rude. We want for happy hour and with 15 minutes left we were told we were too late. I pointed out the time and the waitress curtly said we have our own clock. I guess its 5:15 somewhere in the world.
Harry Seafood Bar & Grill has excellent fish & Shrimp tacos I order blackened and add loads of spicy green sauce on them!
The Warehouse Restuarant has two Duck tacos for lunch that are extraordinarily good, as per my feature I just wrote several days ago.
TaikoSol Sunday, 24 July 2011 16:16 Comment Link
Good fresh seafood. They have just recently changed their menu and a few of their recipes. I always get the fish tacos, they serve it with 3 different fish (grouper, talapia, ??) and the blackened/cajun is the best. The new recipe is a little saltier, but still good. I met my parents there this past Saturday and my mom had a chicken salad that was served in a edible crunchy bowl and my dad got the fish, shrimp & chips special. Everyone left stuffed and happy.
They've added a few "food challenges" to the menu - maybe a great stop for the show Man vs. Food. :)
Looks like it would be a really crowded place on Game Day. They have an outdoor covered patio with fans (great in this Florida heat) and a small area for live music - although of all of the times I have ever been there, I have never seen anyone use it.