Here's a restaurant that does just about everything right. Located in the old legendary Louis' Lunch building, Daily Green has managed to both define its brand and yet honor the building's previous tenants. In a nod to the old-school, Louis' gold name-sign is retained on both front windows. For those who have never been to Daily Green, it has a neighborhood bistro feel, casual, 8 tables and 22 seats. The 'Green' is the commitment to local sources, max organic content, compostable and/or recyclable materials (plates, napkins, utensils) and composting for left-behind food. You feel the sense of community when you enter the space. The menu is ample but tight with options for vegans, vegetarians, and meat-munchers alike. Also available is the option to 'Create Your Own Concoction' where you choose a base and add from a variety of near 50 ingredients. My friend Jason Hedges and I ordered a variety of items to sample: A cold cucumber/avacado/roasted-corn soup (a fresh refreshing zip for a sunny afternoon), the B.R.A.T. (Cherry wood cowboy bacon, radicchio, arugula, heirloom tomatoes with handraised bacon lime mayo on vine country loaf), Bob's Buffalo Meatballs in pomodoro sauce with carmelized onions and topped with aged asiago in WHAT? A waffle cone (a future food trend evolving from lunch truck finger food innovations). The savory waffle cone items are a brilliant and distinguishing move, not to mention a delicious treat. What happens when you take quality moist rich deep buffalo meat balls, blend it with a perfectly spiced sweet-side pomodoro, and top it generously with cheese and serve it in the slightly sweet crunchy/soft waffle cone for a perfect marrige of fun, taste, texture, and cool-factor? The Bob's Buffalo Meatballs! It's a winner. They also have a sandwich version served on a butter croissant. I can only imagine the possibilities. The B.R.A.T. was fresh, filled with flavor, great textures between the bread, tomato, crunch of spicy raddichio, and of course the oft praised holy grail of flavor, bacon. The sandwich came with a relish of cabbage, broccoli, and a couple other organic delicious surprises. The brocolli was nicely cooked without sacrificing snap and crunch, and it was sauced beautifully with something (not a mayo I think, maybe a concoction which included nutritional yeast.) It was pretty damn yummy. Somebody correct me if I'm off on the relish treatment, unless it's a secret recipe. Let's just default to, delicious. I was effortlessly upsold (no arm-twisting required, it was a love offering) a smoothy called the Stimulant. Who doesn't want a stimulant? This blueberry and acai-based concoction was profoundly good. The employees looked like they had their shit together and were all playing on the same team. The service (counter service mostly) was efficient and speedy. It seems clear that this was not a haphazardly thought out business venture. Time and care was taken and Daily Green is not only a most welcome addition to the Gainesville food landscape, I highly recommend it. The only downside I have heard regards the price-point. Yes, the products are pushing a buck or two over the water-table. Having said that, I can tell you everyting was rippingly fresh. If it's consistant, of quality, and made with care and a sense of community, and if the employees are compensated properly (as I have no doubt they are), I will gladly pay to support such a local business. So maybe you don't have to buy the 32ounce fourteen-dollar smoothy, (JESUS CHRIST!) but it's there if you want it. Honestly, most items for lunch are between 7.5 to 10 bucks. That's about what's going down at the better restaurants in the Downtown Gainesville area, and I had more than enough portion to satisfy. My complaint is this: put the address and telephone number on the take-out menus. These are not only information, these are ads that people will welcome. If you have a complement or a concern, Daily Green does provide an email on their food and drink menus. This is a sign that the restaurant values its customers. May the sustainable Daily Green sustain for many more days to come. Heck...years!
Ramblings of a Half-Hearted Ideologue