By Avery Centrella / Tallahassee Table
Every employee struggles with the one-hour lunch rush. Where is a good, quick, place to go in Tallahassee that allows you time to get your food, but also enjoy it?
Here’s a list of some of the best places I’ve found for a quick weekday lunch in five sections of the city. These selections range from a quick sandwich at downtown Metro Deli to a meatloaf plate at Grove Market Cafe in Northeast Tallahassee.
Metro Deli: The classic deli is a downtown Tallahassee staple for employees and students alike. Metro is the classic deli, offering toasted sandwiches, cold-cut wraps, hearty soups and salads at good prices. What makes this a great lunch stop are the lunch-hour deals. The Metro Boxed Lunch is a sandwich, chips, cookies and a drink for a little over $10, and the Metro Special is a half-sandwich and soup for under $7. Be sure to try out one of their many sandwich creations including the turkey Philly cheesesteak, which is smothered with honey mustard and heaped with peppers and onions. Another local favorite is The Baze, which is a hoagie stuffed with savory chicken salad, banana peppers, onions, lettuce, tomato and honey mustard, with provolone melted on top. Delivery available; 104 S. Monroe St.; 850-224-6870.
Goodies Eatery: Another popular downtown deli, Goodie’s offers both breakfast and lunch, with a full Lucky Goat coffee bar, which is perfect to save you from a midday slump. The inexpensive menu features deli and specialty sandwiches. Favorites include the grilled chicken club, which has not only a delectable wine and cheese spread, but is also stacked with bacon, lettuce, tomato and provolone cheese. Delivery available. 116 E College Ave.; 850-681-3888.
The Egg Cafe & Eatery: Located in the heart of Kleman Plaza, this gem is a great place to snag a Southern-style snack. Having brunch while at work becomes a reality, as they specialize in eggs Benedict dishes, such as the savory Crab Cakes Benny — two steaming crab cakes smothered in Cajun Hollandaise sauce. Enjoy a selection of sandwiches and burgers if you’re more interested in the lunch side of brunch. 300 S Duval St, Tallahassee, FL 32301; 850-907-3447.
Taco Republik: A popular taqueria nestled in the bustling area of Midtown, Taco Republik is an exemplary place to grab a quick lunch. Priding themselves on using the freshest ingredients, Taco Republik serves street tacos, soups, salads, nachos and Spanish doughnuts to top off lunch. Hint: the more tacos you buy, the better the deal, so order a variety. All tacos are bold and flavorful, including creations such as the Pablo Pescado which is stuffed with mahi, sweet chili-lime aioli, cucumber and Asian slaw, or the El Bufalo which features zesty toppings such as mango-pineapple buffalo sauce, avocado ranch, blue cheese crumbles and black bean salsa. 1122-8 Thomasville Rd.; 850-765-3314.
Hopkins Eatery: Hopkins is a cozy spot to grab one of their many fresh sandwich and salad options. The extensive salad menu features homemade chicken salad, tuna salad, nutritious vegetable variations such as Greek, and all are topped with homemade dressings. If you cannot find one that piques your interest, customers have a build-your-own option. The best part? Their extensive cake menu, featuring three-layer homemade delicacies. Delivery available, three locations in Tallahassee. 1660 N Monroe St.; 850-386-4258.
La Tiendita: An authentic Mexican restaurant with a friendly staff, La Tiendita offers affordable, fresh and flavorful options for lunch. Enjoy a filling platter of fajitas, gorditas, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tortas and more. Be sure to order their famous creamy guacamole to top off your dish. A plethora of vegetarian options are available. 1840 N Monroe St., 850-523-1494.
Decent Pizza: Decent is an understatement for another favorite Tallahassee staple. Decent Pizza was voted the Best Pizza in Tallahassee by the People’s Choice award in town. Delicious weekday lunch specials run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and include a slice and drink for under $6, or a slice and a salad for a little over $10. Stop by this family-owned joint with a coworker or two and split a pie. 1026 N Monroe St.; 850-222-6400.
Collegetown/ All Saints
Greenwise Market: The Publix-owned grocery store, with a large selection of organic foods, is perfect for a quick, healthy, grab-and-go lunch. This is your best option when you can’t decide what type of food to buy for lunch. Besides groceries, lunch options include a sushi bar, burrito station, oven-baked pizzas and pasta, deli sandwiches, salad bar and smoothie cafe. A personal favorite is the Chipotle chicken build-your-own burrito bowl, packed with hearty portions of guacamole, pickled onions and shredded cheese on a bed of chile-lime rice for under $8. Get creative; the foodie world is your oyster at Greenwise. 625 W Gaines St.; 850-577-1915.
Voodoo Dog: Pretend you’re on a gourmet picnic during your workday with a hamburger or hot dog at Voodoo Dog. Choose one from their creative menu featuring bites such as the teriyaki bacon-wrapped Hari Kari dog, which is heaped with pineapple, or the fried egg topped Barth burger. Don’t fret if you avoid meat; the veggie dogs are just as delicious. Treat yourself to a side of their crisp, seasoned fries and try the bold curry ketchup. Delivery through Bite Squad is available. 805 S Macomb St.; 850-224-0005.
Iron Daisy: A bright, inviting spot in the All Saints District, the Iron Daisy is great for a quick bite during lunchtime. Local ingredients are used to craft savory and bold tacos including various saucy street tacos as well as the ever-popular fried green tomatoes. This is an excellent place for vegan or vegetarian eaters; meat substitutes such as Beyond Beef and jackfruit are available and also delicious. 507 W Gaines St.; 850-597-9997.
Vale Food Co.: A branch of this fresh, healthy chain located in Collegetown offers everything from juicy acai bowls to tasty poké bowls to a create-your-own bowl hot bar. This bright, open eatery is a great pick for anyone who is vegetarian, vegan or gluten intolerant. Be sure to try one of their many toasts for a mid-day protein boost, such as their nut butter toast, smothered in a butter of your choice, topped with fruit, and served with a salad. Delivery options are available.815 W Madison St #106; 850-629-7529.
Grove Market Cafe: You can eat indoors or on the spacious patio at Grove Market, a cafe from the owners of Cypress Restaurant and Vertigo. Grove Market offers a wide variety of breakfast and lunch items in hearty portions. Fresh sandwiches, platters, salads and soups will satisfy lunch break hunger with a healthy take. Favorites include the chicken salad and their popular house-made vinaigrette salad dressings, the meatloaf platter and fresh catch. Enjoy your meal in a bright, airy cafe to break from the daily work routine. Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free choices are available. 1370 Market St.; 850-894-5060.
Momo’s Pizza: Come with an appetite to the Northeast branch of Momo’s for “slices as big as your head.” This local spot has a warm ambiance and is great for relaxing with your own slice or sharing a pie with coworkers. Get imaginative with your hand-thrown pie, and try toppings such as their “super-secret sweet and spicy sauce,” buffalo chicken and a myriad of fresh vegetables. Vegetarian options are available. 1410 Market St.; 850-412-0222.
Lofty Pursuits: Known for its old-fashioned treats and retro soda fountain ambiance, Lofty Pursuits also offers a large lunch selection. Pick from deli-type sandwiches, omelets and breakfast items including sausage from Bradley’s Country Store. Top off your lunch with an ice cream treat or hand-crafted soda. 1355 Market St.; 850-521-0091.
Capital Circle/ Mahan Area
Habana’s Boardwalk: The homey restaurant is a source for authentic Cuban cuisine in your own backyard. Find dishes cooked with a variety of root vegetables, marinated meats and more. Expand your palette by trying something new. Favorites on the extensive menu include the beef dish vaca frita, topped with mojo and onions; a pressed Cubano sandwich and croquetas. 2819 Mahan Dr; 850-391-9111.
Fresh Roots Kitchen: Tucked away amid offices, Fresh Roots Kitchen specializes in tasty, handcrafted melts. Choose from up to 18 savory melts including the Mac, heaped with gouda, cheddar and bacon mac and cheese, and the PB&J with melted brie. Create your own if you want to try a specific combination that’s not on the menu. A plethora of delectable options are available for both cold sandwiches and salads, too. Be sure to grab a cup of Lucky Goat coffee for a pick-me-up. 1605 E Plaza Dr. #101; 850-210-0409.
New Orleans Seafood: Great for takeout, this authentic Cajun-style eatery offers an array of Southern seafood and dishes. The cuisine at New Orleans Seafood represents a Vietnamese style of cooking in Louisiana. Satisfy your cravings for everything from red beans and rice to crawfish étouffée to crispy Po’ Boy sandwiches. New Orleans Seafood uses Gambino’s rolls imported straight from NOLA. Spice up your lunch hour with a warm helping of gumbo as the weather becomes brisk. There are two small tables if you want to dine inside. 2819 Mahan Dr.; 850-727-8464.
Here are suggestions from Tallahassee Table readers for other neighborhoods and places. If you have other ideas, please share for a part 2 of lunch ideas.
- John McCaffrey suggested these restaurants from the Southwood area, including: “El Jalisco, Canopy road cafe, los compadres express, Fl wing factory ( they aren’t really quick though) and Hasu Sushi.”
- From Jennifer Young: “We’re on the Southside and quick with homemade desserts TC Bakery feat. Ma Mary’s.
- Eric-Kim Justice:suggested : “Here are a couple I would include on the Parkway side: Arepana Latin Grill; Beef’O’Brady’s Cap Circle; AZU Lucy Ho’s; Smoothie Time.”
- From Donna Heald: “Another good eat-in or take out is Under Wraps on the Parkway and Blairstone, in the Dick’s Sports strip mall. Salads, bowls, wraps. They have a variety of wraps for under $5.”
Avery Centrella wrote this guide to quick lunch spots for Tallahassee Table. To reach Tallahassee Table, contact: TallahasseeTable.com, @TheTallahasseeTable.com on Facebook and @TallahasseeTable on Instagram.