Your stomach is rumbling. You have a paper due. You’re low on caffeine. The cozy alcove at your parent’s place sounds like a great spot to be right now, but (aw, shoot!) they live four hours away. Plus, the benefits of visiting home for mom’s meatloaf barely exceed the costs of having to mow the lawn, clean the dishes and change the cat’s litter box.
Lucky you, you can just visit East End Eatery, where you’ll get a guaranteed low-cost, high-reward meal. Plus, Monday meatloaf is made by a real-life mom: owner Sandra Carlisi.
Its calming, bright and quiet dining area is just the right place to write papers, complete assignments and relax with a soothing acoustic soundtrack. French press coffee is delivered right to your table. And a menu full of Mediterranean-inspired sandwiches, wraps and salads is prepared to order. Oh, and breakfast all day.
Carlisi opened the well kept secret in 2008 after she decided her catering business, Elegant Events Catering, needed more space. The chic dishes, cake stands, cups and platters that Carlisi used for catering make up much of the restaurant’s decor.
A vegetarian, Carlisi made sure to include options like the grilled tempeh, vegetable panini and her tomato gazpacho. Vegan variations and gluten-free millet bread from Florida are also gladly substituted.
Daily specials and Sunday brunch add variety to the regular menu. The outside dining area, complete with a plastic flamingo, is a charming and welcoming spot to relax. And that’s what Carlisi wants you to do.
“I want people [to] come and feel like they can stay all day if they want to,” she said. “I want it to feel comfortable and homey.”
Got kids? Carlisi has a 5-year-old son, so she’s got you covered. Order the kids their meals (they’ll be ready quick), then it’s off to the play area for them. It’s just like McDonald’s, except Carlisi sources local, organic ingredients when she can. And her food waste goes to Gainesville Compost. So, actually, nothing like McDonald’s. Only the play area. Then you can enjoy your turkey and brie panini in peace.
Don’t forget to bring cash. Sorry, millennials.
1202 NE 8th Ave. | 352-378-9870
Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
East End Eatery’s Tabbouleh
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped mint
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 4 diced plum tomatoes
- 1 diced cucumber
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pour boiling water over quinoa and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Combine the rest of the ingredients.
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