Okay, I know I usually blog about Craft Beer related bars, breweries and other related activities, but I wanted to take the time to give a proper shout out to a new business in town that not only delivers good food but great service.
Some of my coworkers have told me about a new place in downtown Gainesville that they have frequented a couple of times for lunch. And their rave reviews and an invite to join them more than once had piqued my curiosity.
Friday that curiousity was sated with a visit to Celebrity’s Soul Food of Gainesville. It’s located downtown right next to Mark’s in Union Station and worth finding a parking spot or going to the garage across the street to pay for parking. Luckily I was working downtown today so parking was not an issue and I walked there with a couple of coworkers at lunch time.
We were immediately greeted by a friendly hostess and seated at a booth not far from the bar area. The décor is not what you would normally expect. As my friend the Blarneyman would say, “It’s very posh!” Very nice color scheme and comfortable seating and an upscale atmosphere. Check out the chandelier behind the hostess station when you walk in (below). All of the tables had replicas of the Hollywood sign in on them, and the menus were replicas of the envelopes from an awards show, with the “Nominees” listed inside. And the music playing in the background was some great classic soul music from the 70s & 80s, which is some of my favorite music to chill to.
Our waiter was “Mr. Hollywood”, was very friendly and knowledgeable of the menu and took our drink orders quickly, then returned and answers a coupe of questions about the menu and took our lunch orders as well.
We sat and talked for a short time, then a woman named “Lady J” came out and greeted us. I think she recognized my coworkers from previous visits cause she greeted them like old friends. They pointed out it was my first visit and she gave me a nice warm welcome and asked what we had ordered. When I told he I had ordered the buffalo chicken she said she would be right back with something for me. Then she asked if I liked the white meat or the dark meat. I said it didn’t matter as long as I had some hot sauce. She laughed and said not to worry about that. Not long after she came back with a small plate with a piece of fried chicken breast on and a small side of hot sauce and told me to give that a try. Then she was off to greet some more folks.
I have to tell you the chicken was great. I loved the seasoning they used in the breading and the skin had a nice crunchy texture. It was so good I ate everything but the bone.
While I was working on that Mr. Hollywood brought out our orders. The sandwich I ordered was huge and filled most of the plate, but still left enough room for a large helping of the truffle fries. Both were delicious. The sandwich had slices fried chicken with hot sauce on it, with tomatoes, lettuce and pickles on it, which were a great combo. And the truffle fries were perfect, light and tasty. My only problem was that with the fried chicken piece Lady J brought out for me I could only eat half the sandwich and fries and had to get a to go box.
My one coworker ordered the Pork Chop smothered in gravy served on a bed of rice and a couple of sides, all of which she enjoyed and, to me, looked delicious. My other coworker enjoyed her meal as well, but I can’t remember what it was because it was eclipsed by the order of Mac and Cheese Waffle she had gotten brought out to her (see below).
She shared a taste of it with the other two of us and we all just loved it! It was nice and cheesy on the inside of the waffle with a lightly crunchy exterior on the outside. I will never eat Mac & Cheese any other way ever again after having this. It has ruined all other Mac & Cheeses for me for life!
I have to say this place hits all the right check marks on my lists.
- Good location
- Nice atmosphere
- Friendly and knowledgeable staff
- Great food
Check, Check, Check and Check!!!
I scoped the place out a little while we were there. It has a nice cozy bar area stocked with a variety of hard liquors and wines and beers on draft including some craft beers and at least one local brewery (Hah! tied it into craft beer after all!) I understand that on the weekends they will also feature some live bands. I can think of no reason not to go back to this place and am looking forward to the next visit.
You can find a little bit more about them on the website here.
Or just go and experience it yourself.