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Caribbean Queen

Located just on the out skirts of Downtown Gainesville, Caribbean Queen takes you to the deep parts of Saint. Elizabeth and Brown’s Town, Jamaica. The owner Valerie Phillips, is. a quaint Jamaican woman from Brown’s Town, Jamaica. She is more than welcoming. She greets you by dancing to Bob Marley blasting from a large speaker that sits right outside the front door. If you’re looking for a true Jamaican experience, make it your business to learn how to parallel park across the street and pick from an authentic Jamaican menu.

Caribbean Queen is small, only fitting about 20 people inside, 20 150 pounders that is. The small fit does not however take away from the restaurant. Inside, Caribbean Queen is decorated with a wide array of green and yellow memorabilia. Bob Marley boldly stands over the Jamaican Patty hot stand, pictures of a young Phillips on cruise lines as a beginning chef grace the wall over the only table inside, and Jamaican tailored stickers line the counter top.

Not only is the scenery welcoming, but so is the food. Because Phillips owns and operates Caribbean Queen, she takes your order and puts together the food right away. Her strong accent makes you want to add it as a side to your dish. The most popular dishes for people getting their feet wet at Caribbean Queen are the express dishes, which are little containers packed deep with food. Approximately two cups deep, you would believe that is a full entree. Phillips packs white rice under your choice of meat. The oxtails take you back to when you were younger and grandma had you following the smell around the house into the kitchen. The curry chicken, on the other hand, is packed with a wrestlers punch of Mmmm Mmmm Good flavor. The thyme and peas bring everything to its place right into your mouth.

Caribbean Queen is definitely not an #epicfail. From the moment you successfully parallel park, get past Buju Banton, and take a monstrous first bite, you’ll find yourself being very addicted. Jamaican crack. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Price: $
Service: 5/5
Atmosphere: Countryside Jamaica meets Gainesville. Hello mon.

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Satchel’s Pizza

Where else can you eat a slice of pizza inside of an old Volkswagen Bus that now seats 12 diners?

Clearly, the first thing on anyone’s list of must-haves for owning a restaurant.

Satchel’s Pizza has become legendary in its short time in Gainesville. Opening in March of 2003, Satchel’s has a reputation for being an out-of-the-ordinary eating establishment. The saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” could not have a better home than at Satchel’s. The walls are lined with original art and the building is decorated with bottle caps, car reflectors and many other recycled materials.

What separates Satchel’s from any other pizzeria, besides the colorful decor, is its menu. You will see the traditional pizza toppings found at most pizza parlors across the country here but much, much more.

Toppings such as artichoke hearts, tempeh, broccoli and steak (sauteed with onion) are just a few of the many combinations of concoctions you may devise while ordering.

On top of the toppings, Satchel’s has a variety of calzones and fresh-baked desserts to choose from. Though it is not an extensive menu, Satchel’s has defined itself as a pizza parlor with some added twists. It is far from an “Italian Restaurant” and specialized on its New-York-Style pizza. Each menu has a different back which will provide you with some reading material while you wait for your food. Different philosophies and stories varying from the evolution of how Satchel’s became what it is today, arguments over Coke or Pepsi or Ford or Chevy and other anecdotes that will keep you entertained.

Located off of N.E. 23rd Avenue, Satchel’s is about a 10-minute drive from campus, but it is well worth the trek. And for all of you Gator-1-loving freshman, you’re out of luck here. Satchel’s is a cash-only business and has an ATM conveniently located near the cash register for those of us who only use plastic.

One thing to note: When Satchel’s is busy – you will wait. The menu states “… It is not unusual for your food to take up to 50 minutes. We’ll do our best.” So come into Satchel’s with the mindset of an eating experience and less of a quick bite between classes.

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