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The Jones

Off the beaten path, The Jones is settled in a tiny strip mall on 23rd Avenue. The place is tiny (it seats maybe 30 diners) and the restaurant only takes cash, but the generous menu makes up for it. The Jones ‘ shtick is providing sustainable/local/organic/hippie-friendly food. Vegan options are a plenty, but they serve meat as well. (I ordered bacon.)

For breakfast, the Jones Rancheros is an egg dish served Mexican-style with black beans, salsa, cheese and avocado – perfect for midday dining when you can’t decide between breakfast and lunch. The brioche French toast will satisfy a sweet craving and comes with fruit served on the side. All breakfast dishes are made better with the addition of the homefries, which are perfectly cooked and seasoned.

The sandwich offerings are plentiful as well. Just Like Mama’s is  a fresh take on a grilled cheese using provolone, Swiss and cheddar, served with soup on the side. All sandwiches are made using your choice of fresh bread. The rosemary sourdough added a slight tangy flavor without being overbearing.

The Hot Dang Buffalo Burger, made with local grass-fed water buffalo, is served up differently every week. Recently, it was topped with cheese and a fried egg for a gooey, but delicious, mess.

Instead of the standard Coke or Pepsi, the restaurant uses Blue Sky Natural Sodas, which, while expensive, offer a different taste with any lunch entrée.

The Jones is a great place to go for a different dish and easygoing atmosphere. Just don’t forget your cash.

Price: $$

Service: 3/5

Atmosphere: hipsters

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Gator Dawgs

Italy has pizza. Japan has sushi. Britain has terrible food. And America has hot dogs.

And with its arrival to Gainesville, Gator Dawgs has a near monopoly on specialty hotdogs in the area. Ever wondered what mac ‘n’ cheese would taste like on a ‘dog? Now you can find out for yourself. (It’s delicious, for the record.)

The restaurant is located at 1023 W. University Avenue, within perfect walking distance of the UF campus, making it a great place to grab a quick bite in between classes or after a game. While you’re waiting for your hot dog to be made, you can check out the concert posters and band memorabilia that line the walls, or you can play a game of PacMan on one of the game machines.

Once your hot dog is served, you’re in for a treat. The Bacon Cheese Dawg – a virtual kosher nightmare – is perfect for any pork lover and comes topped with ketchup and nacho cheese. (Be sure to grab some napkins.) The Frito Dawg, a personal favorite, comes with chili, cheese and Fritos, and is great for anyone who likes a little crunch to their food. Miss the 10:30 a.m. cutoff for McDonald’s breakfast? Drive a couple more blocks and grab the BEC (bacon, egg and cheese) Dawg for an early morning pick-me-up.

Despite its name, Gator Dawgs also serves specialty burgers, sandwiches and sides. The seemingly Elvis-inspired Peanut Butter Burger is slathered with mayo, bacon and everyone’s kindergarten favorite, peanut butter. Feeling hungry? Try the Fat Ass Burger, a monstrous beef patty sandwiched between two grilled cheeses with tomato, bacon and mayo. If that’s not enough, the Bulldawg – the piece de resistance of Gator Dawgs – is a hot dog wrapped in a hamburger, which is then deep-fried and topped with chili, cheese sauce, bacon, peppers, onions and french fries.

All the hot dogs are available as Yves Vegan dawgs. Vegan buns and veggie burgers are also available. With most prices under $10, Gator Dawgs is a great place to grab a quick bite and try something off the beaten path. Be sure and check out the weekly specials on the table decks as well – the Cuban Dawg may be calling your name.

Price: $

Service: 5/5

Atmosphere: casual, with a hint of the 80s

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