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Fest Feature: A Guide To Gainesville's Food Scene...

Posted by: Thomas Nassiff (10/12/12)
As the second part of our Fest 11 coverage (we did a list of 22 bands you need to see last week), we asked our friend Dave Drobach (he plays in an awesome punk band called Grabass Charlestons and works at No Idea Records) for a little help in giving us some food recommendations in Gainesville. As a citizen of this upstanding town, I always speak highly of Gainesville's well-known Mexican restaurants, but there's a lot more to the food around here than just those places that everyone goes to every year. Dave essentially wrote up a guide to must-eat/drink restaurants all around town, ranging from the best places for coffee and beer to breakfast and brunch and dinner and everything in between. Check out his recommendations in the replies, and if you're in Gainesville for Fest this year, make sure you check out a couple of these spots (avoid the Chipotles and Taco Bells that you can eat at home!). If you're not going to be in town for Fest, make sure you save this for a future road trip!
  
 
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01:07 PM on 10/12/12
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Thomas Nassiff
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Dave's Food Guide for Fest 11Fest 11 Gainesville Food Reviews for AbsolutePunk.net
by Dave Drobach

I love this town. Part of what keeps me going is the wide spread of food getting pumped out daily. No bias or favoritism here. I haven’t worked in the food making industry since 1997. Reggae Shack / The Top / Boca Fiesta / Lunchbox / El Indio / La Tienda / Flacos / Satchel’s, ect. are all good popular places well deserving of their reputations. Here’s a list of yummy spots in Gainesville you may not be familiar with. Some are new since Fest 10. All are good eats. I eat at all of these places. Get in touch if you are in a bind about what to order when you are in line via my Twitter.

Please eat during Fest 11. Here’s my picks.

COFFEE
Volta - Right between High Dive and Loosey’s downtown. They have a clover machine. This coffee is like watching the first 4 Rocky movies in one cup. Impressive tea selection. They have some snacks as well.

Karma Kreme - On University Ave between the Holiday Inn and 1982 bar. Organic vegan coffee that’s certified organic. Good sandwiches, vegan ice cream. They use coffee ice cubes in the iced coffee, so you know they are on their game.

8th Ave Bike and Coffee House - Coming from the North side to downtown? They brew Sweetwater coffee, can fix your brakes and replace your tubes while you surf their interweb.

BEER
Swamphead - If you are from out of town and enjoy cold beer, please order a Swamphead. Gainesville brewery. They don’t play mess-around. Fresh, yummy beers. They are available in most bars, just ask what Swampheads they have on tap. At least one a day. You deserve it.

GROCERIES
Citizen’s Co-op - It's a store right next to The CMC. The best place to get an organic banana, coconut water, or high-end beer. Bulk items include coffee beans, soaps, olive oil. Wide variety of organic kale. Local? No problem, they are sure to tell you when any produce or meats come from a local farm. Lots of organic veggie frozen food.

BREAKFAST
Sandwich Inn - Just took the crown as the oldest restaurant in town. I’ve been buying egg sandwiches here since the 90s. They are still under $2. It’s a double drive-thru and a walk-up window. All food comes “to-go”. The only table is over by the trash cans, and under the guard of feral cats. I get my morning meal here 2-3 times a week. It is nearly halfway between my house and my work.

Karol & Bill’s - Closed Sunday & Monday! Best casual cheap diner breakfast in town. Husband and wife juggernaut that has been serving eggs and refilling coffee as long as I can remember. I once bought The Replacements ‘Let It Be’ cd for $2 from a bin next to the register.

BREAKFAST / LUNCH
Dos Mamma’s - They took over when the coven of old hippies moved out. It’s in the industrial district behind Satchel’s. Next door to the place where I get pre-cast cement pieces for my back yard, around the corner from where Fest shirts get printed and one block from Black Bear studio. Big portions, big meals.

Brew Spot - Best spot to have breakfast and set your Fantasy Football Lineup. All baking done on site. French Toast is made with pound cake. Serve beer / wine. Wi-Fi. Free chemistry lectures Monday evenings 5-7.

LUNCH ONLY
Caribbean Spice - Cheap veggie or meat patties. Deadguy played next door. Longest running restaurant on earth that has never advertised or even printed a menu. The dry-erase board and poster board with marker are your only guide. My Carribean Spice shirt is my most commented on shirt when I am out-of town. Here’s the conversation I’ve had plenty of times: “Dude, that place!” “Big time.” “Dude, and that Jamaica poster!” “Totally.” Owner looks like he may be related to a member of Post Teens. Pretty sure they aren’t but it’s funny to me to bring up their likeness. Open around 10:30 AM until he runs out. Slim pickings after 3pm.

LUNCH / DINNER
Bella Donna’s - Italian joint that took over Gator Dawgs. The menu is good, great even. Only trouble is that they have kick-ass slices of pizza for $1.50. I want to be a better person. The Parmesan subs are real good. The pasta is real good. But once I noticed their slices, I can’t order anything else.

Pasaditos - The only place on this list not quite accessible by bike from Fest-land. Great mexican food. It’s worth the trip if you’re not from Texas or Southern California. That distance I’m screaming about is 3 miles north of the No Idea building. Tacos off the grill served with a wedge of lime!!

Loosey’s - One of the best places in town (Damn, we get spoiled here!) to see kick-ass music. The kitchen is making a name for themselves as much as the new stage. Chicken Tacos!

GoGoStuffYourself - Food truck. They roam around Gainesville and set up the goods. Burgers, pulled pork, veggie protein. Still a new enterprise as a truck, but Nigel’s Friday BBQs at Common Grounds have become a thing of legend.

Pelican Brothers - Food truck parked outside High Dive since before it was called Double Down. Every time the menu looks weird, the food is so good. Chicken Waffle Sandwich!

Mark’s US Prime - Best Happy Hour downtown to take a date. If your date likes martinis, get there at 5PM. Trust me. Great steaks as well. High class, high price. The Happy Hour drinks and appetizers are top notch, but in the budget.

Jones B-Side - I was there the first week they were open. They were packed full of hungry tummies. Healthy plates of good food. When you want your date to know you really care. Best spot to keep your eye on the line at High Dive.

Corner Latin Confusion - Real good cuban/latin food. Best spot to eat/ drink while Fest attendees wait in line for Registration. The line will probably stretch past their patio at some point on Friday.

Hong Kong Deli - They make their own noodles and there is normally a whole duck on a rotisserie at the counter. Real deal asian food. Get the chow fun to go.

5-Star Pizza - Gainesville institution. Probably don't need to tell you about them. They are open 24/7. You will call them for a delivery.
01:27 PM on 10/12/12
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phaynes1
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Caribbean spice. Yes. Amazing.
02:20 PM on 10/12/12
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JoeHalby
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No more Gator Dawgs? What the actual fuck? I was planning on going there directly after registration.. there were still so many to try.
05:53 PM on 10/12/12
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Jason Gardner
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Count me in for an egg sandwich.
07:10 PM on 10/12/12
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dani1292
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Corner is my fave. Been there like 10 times since it opened. The arepas are sooo good.
07:47 PM on 10/12/12
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Madasahatter93
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ew. this hick ass town.
09:17 PM on 10/12/12
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TheUpside
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Is Pasaditos the same as La Pasadita on NW 6th street? Not trolling, just checking, I work near there and see a guy on the street with a sign everyday trying to get people in but haven't had time to check it out. Also, if anyone is down with some lox or knishes or other deli favorites I highly recommend Bagels Unlimited on the corner of sw 34th and Archer, near a lot of hotels Fest people will be staying at.
10:17 PM on 10/12/12
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Thomas Nassiff
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No more Gator Dawgs? What the actual fuck? I was planning on going there directly after registration.. there were still so many to try.
They closed down
10:18 PM on 10/12/12
Thomas Nassiff
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lol
12:28 AM on 10/13/12
Madasahatter93
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i get ~just moved here~ vibes from you. you'll learn soon. i shudder when i think about the summers i spent up there with my hillbilly cousins.
07:35 AM on 10/13/12
iden22
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This will come in handy if I transfer to UF in two years.
09:21 AM on 10/13/12
Thomas Nassiff
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i get ~just moved here~ vibes from you. you'll learn soon. i shudder when i think about the summers i spent up there with my hillbilly cousins.
I've lived here for three and a half years. Maybe you were in a different part of town...there are definitely those types of people around but if you live near campus or the downtown area (that's where all these places are) you won't find too many.
10:37 AM on 10/13/12
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first of all, Maude's is killer for breakfast/coffee
Then theres bagels & noodles, also a killer place where you can get scrambled eggs and pho at the same time.
El Indio has to be the best mexican food in town.
Then theres David's BBQ, a Gainesville staple, ffs.
Big Lou's pizza is the best pizza in gainesville.
Dont forget Midnight Cookies, either.
04:01 AM on 10/15/12
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I'm far too excited about the prospect of Munchies 420 being just down the road from the Holiday Inn. I'm pretty sure I'll be there every night after bands.
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