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Restaurant lunch highlights:

Blue Gill Quality Food

Blue Gill Quality Food

'Old Florida Café' perfect afternoon interlude

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

KSmeSMOOCHMy friendship with UF/Shands Research Coordinator, Ms. Kristina Steinfeldt, has pleasantly opened a lot of doors for the GLOB Master in the areas of the arts and entertainment. Kristina is a big music lover with a Texas flavor and we have spent many conversations on the topic of Joe Ely, Robert Earle Keen, and Lucinda Williams.

An interesting benefit for me is I have had the pleasure of Ms. Steinfeldt's lunch time company in places in Southwest Gainesville that have been off the GLOB Master's radar screen.

Blue Gill's Quality Food is one of those places. I was excited waiting for Kristina in the Shands lobby seriously thinking about a BG Fried Pig Sandwich and the gooey, cheesy pleasure awaiting there.



It was a good, quick walk to lunch in spite of all the hospital construction work, noise, and pedestrian barricades positioned between us and the SW 13th St. building that housed our destination. The good news is we made it safely around they obstacles.

Entering the dimly lit café absent the loud, abrasive tractor, loader, heavy equipment noises was a wonderful, immediate confirmation of our intentions for a good lunch and even better conversation.

Many of the Blue Gill favorites were still on the lunch menu from past visits including the Tuna Melt ($8.00), Club Sandwich ($9.00), and the yummy sounding B.L.T.P. ($7.50). The B.L.T.P. is all about bacon, lettuce, tomato, and pimento on whole wheat. Come on GLOBers. You have to smile, smack your lips about any sammie with a dose of pimento cheese.

An interesting new entree that caught my attention was the Country Fried Chicken Sandwich with a saltine crusted chicken breast and a side item ($8.00).

Sandwiches and tacos at Blue Gills are served with sides of homemade potato chips or house salad.

There is a complete Blue Gills menu below for your eatification.



The Blue Gill's Quality Seafood Fried Pig Sandwich was no longer on the menu.

Now don't get me wrong. I was excited about lunch with Kristina. Perhaps I was a little overboard in my adjective-filled description of what I was thinking was one of the better sandwiches I have ever eaten.



I must admit a slight frown covered my face when the server very nicely said, "That sandwich has been replaced with the Country Fried Chicken Sandwich which is really good," with a re-assuring smile.

"It all looks good GLOB Master, and I'm not really that hungry," Kristina interjected.

I seem to be fixating on giant portion entrée sizes these days so rather than planning to take leftovers home we decide to share the Country Fried Chicken Sandwich entrée.



"Will you be adding homemade potato chips to your lunch," The server asked with a knowing smile.

I looked at Kristina. She looked back at me with a blank, indifferent look to what sounded like prized lunch time delicacies.

"I think we will go with the side salad,' I said wistfully dreaming of crisp, golden brown, deep fried potatoes I no longer get to enjoy.

I like this SW 13th St. Café. I grew up in Brevard county not far from U.S. Highway #1 and Chef Bert Gill has done a excellent job of insinuating memories of old Florida highways going south all the way to the tropical palm trees, old Florida orange crates, and mason jar drink glasses.



Thanks to the impeccable service I have come to expect at a Bert Gill restaurant, our shared chicken sandwich was halved and presented very nicely to Kristina and me.



The chicken was fried perfectly. The white meat was juicy and tender with a ton of flavor. The saltines added an interesting crumble texture that created a crunch.

The tart, crisp, flavors of the house side salad with pickled onions, cucumbers, carrots and greens were a perfect, light complement to the fried chicken.

The company was fantastic. The setting was very special to this old born and bred Floridian. I could have easily spent the entire afternoon in Blue Gill's Quality Café enjoying the company, reminiscing about the good old days, and contemplating a fried pig sandwich never to be seen, eaten again.

The Pluses and Minuses of Blue Gill Quality Food:

Blue Gill Quality Food (+) indicators: Excellent lunch! Saltine fried chicken coating is a unique idea. pickled onions made hte salad.

Blue Gill Quality Food (-) indicators: Construction work around Shands hopsital is getting very old . . .

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



'Foodie' GLOBers rejoice in holiday dinner

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

BlueGillSFGLOB gatherings are the perfect opportunity to talk shop and catch-up on the happenings of fellow staffers. I look forward to the periodic meet-ups and the prospect of dining out and enjoying each other's food, er, company. I will admit, half the fun of GLOB dinners is the communal dining experience. Even new GLOBer, Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD, right in image below, who we are pleased to welcome onto the GLOB team to contribute a regular nutrition column, says she will try just about anything. It seemed like Michelle would be a seamless fit to our food-happy bunch.



Speaking of food-happy people, it truly is amazing how food can be discussed in such depth, critiqued, and picked apart, literally and figuratively. You know who those people are because when they get around food of all kinds, they won't shut up about it (in the best way of course). When it comes to food-happy folks talking about really great food, brace yourself for a whirlwind of elaborate sighs and an endless stream of alluring adjectives.



To my delight, Blue Gill (BG) Quality Foods was the chosen spot for a GLOB get-together before the holidays, and for a few members to meet Michelle. In a previous GLOB article, I gave the BG burger a slot on my top-five Burgers in Gainesville list. To that I add that I have nothing negative to say about any of BG's other menu items either. The best part is that, despite each dish being of such consistent high quality, every menu item, including the items on the constantly-rotating specials board, sounds so great, I try something new every time I dine in there. Luckily, with four food enthusiasts looking to sample as many different things as possible comes four different opportunities for tasting.



I must have gushed about the Blue Gill Burger, $10.25, for so long that Michelle felt obligated to order it. I didn't fight her. For those who have never had this delectable creation, a marriage of pork and beef in a juicy, thick patty that rests on a soft bun smothered with pimento cheese. Of course, what is a burger without a little bacon? Not a single bite was left on anyone's plates, and I was informed that I didn't oversell it.



Mike had his heart set on a meat-lover's dish fit for a die-hard carnivore, so he landed on the pork chop special. This bone-in chop would have been a substantial size for one person and easily shareable. To our delight, The GLOB Master was happy to share -- the chop was lightly breaded with the chestnut-laden brown sauce, which was very satisfying. The true star on that plate, though, was the whipped, smooth-as-silk sweet potatoes that, given the chance, the lot of us would have licked the plate clean for.



GLOB Content Editor Lynn Dirk was leaning toward a vegetarian dish, the Fiesta Mac and Cheese, until she happened to mention the Pork Rind Fried Chicken, $15, under the "Bird" section of the menu, and the rest of us insisted on ordering such a masterful-sounding creation. I was sold on its Southern-style sides, which I am always partial to in any setting – cornbread, collards, and mac and cheese are all golden in my book. Blue Gill did an exceptional job executing all three, actually. I was particularly glad the mac wasn't swimming in a cheap-tasting cheese concoction, but seemed to be baked with higher quality cheese. I could eat cornbread by the loaf, so I was in a love-hate relationship with the cornbread, which is one of the better versions in Hogtown. All sides aside, the chicken was cooked to perfection. As strong a statement as that is, I cannot get over the crispiness of the fried coating. It was so good I couldn't stop devouring it, especially when dipped in the most addicting honey mustard-esque sauce. Who would have known pork rinds make the most sinfully amazing crumb coating for chicken?



My meal addition to round out the array of dishes was fish: the grouper special, $27, and was the unanimous choice. Compared with the other outstanding dishes, it paled a little in comparison. It was prepared very well, though, and the veggies with butternut squash risotto were very tasty, but I think everyone agreed the fried chicken and burger were the winners. Considering the cost difference between the burger and the fish entrée, that also speaks volumes.



If for some reason you have another stomach reserved for dessert, as I do, the rotating dessert specials at Blue Gill are not to be missed. From fried pie to ice cream made in house, any choice is a sinfully decadent one. The four of us split one generously-sized slab of cheesecake that night, and let's just say we were glad we didn't order any more considering the number of entrees we had already devoured. It had a great balance of that density from the cream cheese while still having that whipped texture. Mike and Michelle used it as an opportunity to compare their respective cheesecake recipes, so I am hoping more cheesecake will be in our future very soon.



GLOB Staffer selfie shows off their holiday gift clocks,
from left Mike Sanford, Lynn Dirk, Melissa Kahan, Michelle Cardel

There was nary a bite consumed between the four of us that didn't merit a "yum" or "mmmm" reaction. You would think with everyone ravenously devouring each morsel of food that there would be a silence that would fall over the table. It was quite the opposite: We all could not commenting on how great everything tasted and reiterating our favorites. For any non-enthusiast, we all might have sounded like we had too much good food and it went to our heads. Blue Gill is one of my favorite local spots not only because of the quality and consistency, but it doesn't try to be something it's not, and it excels at what it does. There doesn't need to be a fancy gastrique or impressively expensive exotic ingredients to make a memorable dish. Everything Blue Gill did, they did it right, and I was happy to share the experience with my band of food-happy GLOBers.

The Pluses and Minuses of Blue Gill Quality Food:

Blue Gill Quality Food (+) indicators: Consistent quality; good price for value; varied menu options; extremely tasty; sizeable portions; always friendly staff; excellent cocktails 

Blue Gill Quality Food (-) indicators: That they only serve biscuits on Sundays

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



A couple of months ago, I created my GLOB best burger list with five of Gainesville's best burger choices, from the quality patties at Copper Monkey to the late night, greasy creations at Relish. However, upon a recent visit to Blue Gill, I feel it would be an injustice not to amend my best burger list and include the Blue Gill Quality Food Burger.

Complete with ground beef AND shredded pork, all melded into one succulent, thick patty, this burger was enjoyable from first to last bite. Perhaps it was the pimento cheese sauce smothered over the delicious patty, or perhaps it was the perfectly-crisped bacon that rested atop it, but I cannot even describe the enjoyment I had eating that burger. Admittedly, I did have great company, which always enhances a dining out experience. Further contributing to my enjoyment of the burger, however, was the lack of onion as a burger topping – it only including tomato and lettuce, which is exactly how I like my burgers. It seemed that this burger was made for me.

The side salad, also, was extremely enjoyable, as it was the same one served at another favored burger joint that did make the best burger list, New Deal Café. I just felt it would be a tragedy to not include a burger that truly merits a top five Gainesville burger spot. If you dine in at this establishment, it seems tempting to go for one of their seafood specials, which are very good as well, but the burger, for under $10, is an amazing meal choice.

- Melissa Kahan

Cafe takes lunch to another dimension

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor  

So let me get this right. I am sitting in a parking garage on SW 13th St. I feel like I'm sitting an in old Florida diner over on US Highway 1 just off of the Indian River in a grove of orange trees. There is a Stuckey's-like Florida map painted on the wall. Looking out the front window of this café, cars are racing by in both directions, going north and south, oblivious to me and my lunch time diversion.

BlueGillSFI grew up in Brevard County just off US Highway 1. Seeing the old-time tourist map of Florida on Blue Gill's wall and the menu with items like boiled peanuts, pimento cheese sandwiches, corn fritters, and sardines quickly sent me to another dimension.

In reality I am sitting in the cool, relaxed confines of Blue Gill Quality Foods in the new Shands parking garage on SW 13th St., and I am munching down on a most excellent ham and turkey club sandwich.

Excuse the big word but this is quite a juxtaposition. Me sitting in a parking garage on SW 13th St. imagining I am lunching in a quaint, old style, Florida diner with breezes blowing and a river flowing by.

BlueGwindowBlue Gill Chef/Owner Bert Gill has that lunch time warp working here in BGQF. I was making my first trip to Blue Gill's with lunch partner, and VA Hospital staffer, Lynn Dirk, eager to find out if this lunch spot had enough intrigue, ambience, pizzazz to lure the multitude of health center employees outside their medicinal confines for a little lunch, relaxation and decompression in an alternative dimension to their work world.

I think Blue Gill's is going to work. The Chef has created a lunch menu of snacks, seafood, sandwiches, and salad entrees that should bring health center GLOBers back for second and third visits.

Quality Food is the perfect moniker for this diner, er, uh, restaurant. Chef Gil knows what's cooking in the kitchen, and it's great lunch choices.

The Blue Gill menu includes a wide spectrum of lunch options from fried fish to sloppy Joe tempeh. You can check the BGQF menu at the restaurant link below this feature.

If you noticed the pimento cheese feature story on the GLOB's home page today, you will know pimento cheese is chefs' designer food' for the month of July.

A GLOBer needs to try the Blue Gil pimento cheese sandwich and report back on how it compares to your momma's PC sandwich.

BlueGtomatosLynn and I took the sharing route for lunch. Lynn chose the Fried Green Tomatoes and I picked the Blue Gill Club Sandwich. The fried tomatoes were prepared just right. Large slices of tomato battered and deep fried in Panko bread crumbs creating a very crisp, crusty shell that housed a juicy, flavorful, thick slice of green tomato. The thin crust was fried just right and didn't over power the tomato inside.

This appetizer was perfect for the two of us to share. I will do a Food Network Chopped judge imitation here: "The fried green tomato was excellently prepared and very well thought out. However I was disappointed that I didn't get any of the smoked bacon dressing mentioned on the menu."

The tomatoes would have been the lunch winner with the dressing. But Lynn and I didn't notice the dressing was essentially missing until the dish was almost gone, so it was still good if incomplete.

BlueGsandwichThe smoked turkey, ham and cheddar club sandwich on whole wheat bread was the grand prize winner. This sandwich also sent me to another place and time where sandwiches are always made with thick slices of bread enveloping layers of bountiful ingredients waiting to make your mouth smile.

My sandwich included a side order of homemade potato chips. These fried potato delights were crisp, crunchy perfections loaded with potato flavor.

My club sandwich was stacked high with thinly sliced ham and large chunks of white turkey breast melded together with slices of white cheddar cheese. Each sandwich ingredient held its own in the melting pot of taste in my mouth. This club sandwich was an excellent lunch entrée that was also large enough to share.

I can see Blue Gill Quality Food acquiring a nice list of lunch time regulars. The unique and convenient location to the G'ville medical world will create a whole new group of lunchouters seeking this new dimension of good food in a place that will seem much further away than a 10-minute walk.


The sparse, South Florida-accented space with pieces of fruit crates, tin roofs, and unfinished wood framing inside Blue Gill's Quality Food always takes me back to several of the Dixie Highway diners of days gone by. That said, I have never experienced a sandwich like the Fried Pig smothered in cheese that Blue Gill serves. I admit the idea fried pig gave me cause to pause. And my only question when it appeared on the table in front of me was if the sandwich was of the open BlueG1face variety. The waitress said it wasn't. My thought was, no matter what she said, I wasn't about to wear that cheese sauce the rest of the day. I think I say "This is the best" a lot. So let me say the deep fried, thick chunks of . . . pig coated in a very crunchy crust and THEN immersed in a glorious cheddar cheese sauce made for a prize winning-sandwich. The portion was big enough to share. For the record, I will never be sharing my BG's Fried Pig Sandwich. You can order chips or a salad with the sandwich. Need more convincing? The fried pig sandwich is the cheapest sandwich on the Blue Gill lunch menu. I'm going back for another pig sandwich. Heck I could go back every day for this other white meat wonder.

You unlock this door with a key of imagination, beyond
it is another dimension. A dimension of sound, a dimension of sight,
a dimension of mind . . . Welcome to the twilight zone"

The Pluses and Minuses of Blue Gill Quality Food:

Blue Gill Quality Food (+) indicators: Excellent sandwiches choices, salads and unique snacks/appetizers. Plenty of Parking available, However if you have time, this lunch spot is made for a nice walk to and from lunch.

Blue Gill Quality Food (-) indicators: None noted

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

Last modified onMonday, 04 November 2019 05:55

Additional Info

  • Phone Number: 352 872-5181
  • Address: 1310 SW 13th St., Gainesville, FL
  • Urban GLOB Location: 13th St
  • Latitude: 29.637212
  • Longitude: -82.339562
More in this category: « Adam's Rib Co. The Spot »


  • Cathy DeWitt
    Cathy DeWitt Tuesday, 02 April 2013 17:02 Comment Link

    The food is always unique, and almost always excellent. Very creative cuisine here. They also have a wonderful bar, and again are very creative in their concoctions there.

  • leon is awesome
    leon is awesome Wednesday, 03 October 2012 03:50 Comment Link

    Hi to all, the contents existing at this web site are truly remarkable for people knowledge, well,
    keep up the good work fellows.

  • Mike S. GLOB Master
    Mike S. GLOB Master Monday, 22 August 2011 15:12 Comment Link

    Hi Lisa!

    Thanks for that piece of information, and I will check that link on the previous rest page link right now!

    This address below will get you to Blue Gill's!

    Mike S., GLOB Editor

  • lisa
    lisa Monday, 22 August 2011 15:11 Comment Link

    1 Tried to look at your column for Blue Gill, but got page not found---eating there this week and wanted to see what you had to say! Thanks--love the GLOB. lc

  • Kinnon Thomas
    Kinnon Thomas Thursday, 28 July 2011 16:33 Comment Link

    Bert Gill is arguably the most creative executive/working chef in North Florida. And he does not disappoint with his new effort: Blue Gill Quality Foods. He has already set the hamburger standard at his New Deal on University next to Mildred's. But his latest burger is his best ever. The patty is mainly beef but also has pulled pork mixed into it as well. Then he adds bacon...and more importantly...pimento cheese to make the best burger I've had in years. His pimento cheese is as good as my gourmet cook Mom's used to be. His newest establishment is highly matter what part of town you live in.

  • T.Mullen
    T.Mullen Thursday, 28 July 2011 16:31 Comment Link

    Finally! Healthy, fresh food options within walking distance from Shands for lunch - plus a freaky burger and delicious fried chicken when I feel like getting crazy! Real food, Real good.

  • C.B.Staunch
    C.B.Staunch Thursday, 28 July 2011 16:30 Comment Link

    Fresh and delectable food. The exceptional kitchen crew consistently delivers a high quality product. This is a real restaurant that has passion, skill, and takes pride in their work. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone that has a palate for fresh, well-prepared, gratifying food.

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