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Restaurant lunch highlights:

TGI Fridays

TGI Fridays

Lunch stop is good any day of the week

By: Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

TGFridaysThere are defined categories of restaurants, from sports bars to Mexican establishments and so on.  Probably based on the sole fact that it doesn’t, in my opinion, fit into just one of those restaurant categories, TGI Friday’s is the one place that typically slips my mind when deciding where to dine out, It’s not usually the place I’d turn to for sports-watching. It doesn’t come to mind when I want a classic American hamburger. But I think I may have misunderstood, or perhaps underestimated, Friday’s appeal.

I was headed to Gainesville's Ale House for a football game-watching experience when the overstuffed restaurant was no longer an option due to the 15(!) groups of patrons ahead of me waiting to be seated. Where could I go that would have the accoutrements of a sports restaurant — namely multiple, tuned-in televisions and cold beer on tap — with decent food? TGI Friday’s, 3598 SW Archer Rd., was nearby, and with multiple tables open, I was ready to give it a shot.


TGIFsaladI feel bad in saying this, but I completely forgot that Fridays has, ya know, everything and more on the menu. With half-priced appetizers at various times, the 2 for $10 and 2 for $20 appetizer/entrée deal, and specials almost every day of the week, I was pleasantly surprised.

A pint of Bud Light was $3: sold. There were snack-specific menu items meeting my current desire: check. And my dining buddies could get a sandwich, and a side for under $10. Not to mention that we were surrounded with flat screens and other screaming football fans. The warm pretzels with craft beer-cheese dipping sauce pretty much leapt off the menu and onto the table as a starter, and they were just as appealing in person as on the menu, which, from my experience, has not always been the case (cue every fast food restaurant commercial of a burger). Despite the appeal of two of my favorite items, cheese and beer,  I was not a fan of the cheese sauce -- it tasted a bit unnatural.  The crispy, garlic-sprinkled outer pretzel layer that led to the warm doughy insides on first bite was a delight.



TGIFburgerI was in my game time snack-mode, so a side of sweet potato fries hit the spot, but my dining pals each ordered a meal. As part of the 2 for $10 deal, Amanda chose a plain cheeseburger and fries with the fried mozzarella starter. Again, as a favored food item, cheese, and in this case with a crispy fried coating, usually wows. I especially appreciated how the burger patty was adequately thick, and the fries were warm and somewhat fluffy (photo).



TGIFsandwich400Having a love of rye bread — really just bread in general — this food adventurer has been more taken by a well-crafted deli sandwich than a burger. So when Alyssa needed some help deciding on a menu item to order, the Triple Stack Reuben with all the fixings was one that I, somewhat selfishly, urged her to order. Three slices of bread, a heaping helping of corned beef brisket lining every inch of the sandwich innards, caramelized onions, sauerkraut, sauce, and Swiss cheese oozing from the sides of the sandwich confines created a multitude of flavor sensations. The subtle sweet notes of the onions and the sour sauerkraut created a symbiotic relationship with the other ingredients to make a pretty decent deli sandwich. Note: I am somewhat of a deli sandwich snob, so this is relatively high praise.

It wasn’t until other football fans caught on to the dining haven and the tables filled up that the experience took a turn for the worst. The service became ridiculously slow. Our server was apologetic when it took an unbelievable 30 minutes to bring our checks after requesting them, but also my $3 beer took 20 minutes to be delivered to the table and was $4 on the bill.

Aside from the service problems, the food was not bad, and the pictures on the menu make me want to go back for more. Next time: the Jack Daniels burger, out of sheer curiosity and intrigue. And apparently, in there, “It’s always Friday.”

The Pluses and Minuses of TGI Fridays:

TGI Fridays ( +) indicators: Varied menu items, good food, great advertised menu items and specials, open late (until 2 a.m.)

TGI Fridays ( - ) indicators: Very slow service, bill mistakes

Last modified onTuesday, 14 July 2020 06:40

Additional Info

  • Phone Number: 336-1231
  • Address: 3075 Clark Butler Boulevard, Gainesville, FL
  • Urban GLOB Location: Archer Road
  • Latitude: 29.625866
  • Longitude: -82.383050
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