Thursday morning – er, afternoon – I was sitting on the couch, texting friends and trying to find excuses to get out of the house. Finally, the “SOMEONE DOES LOVE ME! *happy cry*” feeling came over me as my phone rang. I picked up, and listened to my friend tell me about how her personal and business MacBook died the night before, and she was on an emergency mission to replace it ASAP. This lead to the question, “Do you want to go to Orlando with me?” For my readers who don’t know where that is in relation to where I live, it’s three hours away. That was the closest Apple store that wasn’t closed for renovation and had the computer with the specs she wanted. By some stroke of luck, I was off work that day and didn’t have to be back until later Friday – off we went, adventure-bound.
For dinner Thursday night, we went to a restaurant in Altamonte Springs called The Elephant Bar. In short, I don’t recommend it. However, we got lucky on our drive home Friday afternoon by stopping at a place called New Deal Cafe in Gainesville, going by a couple of tasty-sounding dishes recommended on Urbanspoon.
After driving around in circles and finally calling for directions, we found the unassuming cafe located in a strip mall next to a gym and some other retail shops.
We walked in, half-hoping they’ll have a couple of edible vegetarian options (both of us are vegetarian; my friend is pescatarian) and ended up being pleasantly surprised with the menu. Read on after the jump for the review.
The inside is quaint, colored in muted blue and maroon hues and is fairly small with five or so tables in the front area and more tables in a connected room towards the back of the restaurant. We seated ourselves at one of the front tables, which runs parallel to the front register, kitchen, and server area, separated by a wall and frosted glass. It’s a cozy, diner feel with upscale food.
The menu includes dishes such as Baked Goat Cheese, Roasted Button And Oyster Mushroom Flatbread, Tempeh Burger, fish, paninis and hamburgers, all of which feature local greens, tempeh and beef. Prices are moderate, averaging about $10 per entree.
I chose the tempeh burger as my meal ($8), opting for a house salad as my side instead of fries ($1 upcharge). It was served as a tempeh-steak style burger, with two hefty tempeh steaks cooked to perfection stacked on top of each other with cheese melted on top (optional; I chose cheddar). The top of the bun was served on the side, dressed with tomato, avocado aïoli and sprouts. I added mayonnaise and mustard, but the sandwich would have been delicious as is. It was filling, leaving me satisfied. The side salad was bright, fresh greens that were crisp and cold, served with a champagne vinaigrette, which was also good.
My friend opted for the tempeh sloppy joe, which I tried and was also quite good. If you are a fan of sloppy joes, I highly recommend it. The accompanying fries were golden, crisp and hot.
The service was excellent as well; our server was friendly and able to answer any questions we had. She mistakenly brought my friend a tempeh burger instead of the sloppy joe, and when my friend asked about it, she apologized, and told her to keep the burger for dinner and that she would bring her the sloppy joe instead. The wait for the food was minimal and our entire dining experience lasted maybe 35 to 45 minutes, taking our time for a leisurely lunch meal.
If you’re in the Gainseville area, I highly recommend New Deal Cafe. It’s exciting to see fresh and healthy food being served in an innovative, yet comfortable and approachable way.
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