'Looking glass lunch,' wows GLOB Master
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
I just ate the best Corned Beef Sandwich of my life. I also enjoyed the most unique lunch experience I have had in some time. It was as close to eating in someone's kitchen as you could get.
I was having flashbacks of driving through the old In-&-Out, a two-lane, burger drive thru on SW 2nd Avenue, to pick up a double cheeseburger all the way, a giant order of fries, and a large soda on my way to work at the Gainesville Sun when it was at the Sun Plaza location. Then I was slapped back into reality by Piper G's chef, owner, and brother, Jacob Reisch, filling the order window and confidently bragging about his new Piper Gi's hand-crafted soups and sandwiches that bring love back to food one sandwich at a time.
"It may cost a little more, Mike," Jacob said as he leaned at the window, "but look what you're getting: Homemade side items. We brine and age all of our meats. We buy locally whenever we can, including bread from the Vine Bakery,' he added enthusiastically.
"Piper Gi's specializes in hand-crafted sandwiches, soups and salads. We feature house cured bacon, oven roasted meats, scratch-made aiolis, chips and side," he continued and then paused to catch his breath.
And so began a refreshingly different lunch experience for me where I felt I was immediately accepted into the Piper Gi's family.
I still wasn't sure about picnic tables in the drive thru or the grassy area east of the building.
"It's perfect Gainesville," GLOB Content Editor, Lynn Dirk said. "Like Satchel's Pizza and Public and General, the outdoor eating space has originality and creativity. Also, it's beautiful out here with the plants and the shade from the trees that will keep it cool in the summer,' Lynn said, waving her hand toward the a family with children gleefully playing at the next table. "Plus, the women's bathroom is perfectly charming, with nicely framed, fun positive messages. My favorite is 'Be-YOU-tiful!'"
Mike!" Piper's owner Jacob yelled from the pick-up window. "Your lunch is ready."
Liker I was in 'Wonderland' gazing through the looking glass', I picked up the styrofoam containers holding our lunches.
"We understand the dissatisfaction of using the styrofoam and we are working on that. Also we will be getting a beer and wine license," Jacob said.
The Piper Gi's menu categories are Subs & Sandwiches, Soups and Salads, and sides. Among the many interesting sounding side items I plan to try on future visits are the Pepper Jack Queso and the potato salad, which is described as a weekly rotation of whatever tickles our fancies.
There is also a list of '13 Piper Gi's Add Ons' like housemade Drunken Mustard or Roasted Garlic Bone Marrow Aioli at a la carte pricing.
"Would that Bone Marrow Aioli make my sandwich cost $20," I asked half teasingly.
"What it will make is your sandwich incredible,'" Jacob added quickly.
I was excited to try the Corned Beef sandwich. It sounded delicious with stewed cabbage, Harvarti cheese, and Drunken Mustard on a ciabatta roll. I couldn't wait and included the daily special of potato salad with sirachha sauce.
The soft, flavorful ciabbata roll was perfect, and the delicious ingredients made this aa sandwich for the lunch gods. The inhouse cured corned beef was stacked high over the cabbage, and the Harvarti cheese enveloped this prize package with a mellow richness. The Drunken Mustard gave it an outstanding bite, and I will include it on any sandwich I order in the future.
Lynn was feeing courageous and ordered The Thanksgiving.
"Now is that cold cut turkey?" Lynn asked, not being a big processed food fan.
"No ma'am," Tommy Newman said, "We roast our own turkey breasts and slice them right here," He added.
This mountain of a sandwich has your thanksgiving feast covered with oven roasted turkey, a stuffing patty, and cheddar cheese sauced with turkey gravy and house-made cranberry chutney served on ciabatta bread. Lynn noted that, like any truly delicious sandwhich, it was quite messy, partly because of the stuffing, but she thought it was great.
Lynn and I also shared an order of panko bread-crumb coated fried cheese curds and French fries that were delicious. The cheese curds were a crunchy and chewy at the same time.
There is a complete Piper G's menu at the bottom of this review.
This Piper Gi's family proudly talks about their father being a Philly cheesesteak-cooking chef in Philadelphia. "Dad would have liked this restaurant idea," Tommy said. "We're all working for him," he added proudly.
The menu is correct when it says this family is bringing love back to Hoggetowne's sandwich world. This amazing lunch stop is already grooming third generation chefs in Piper Bailee Newman, left, and Giana Jade Riesch, both 3, who are the namesakes for Piper Gi's. Photo courtesy of Gainesville Downtown and Lena Crane/Reflections of Light Photography.
I'm a big sports fan and one of the disappointing things about supporting a team is when the star or other favorite player leaves for other places. This brother-sister combination of Shanti (left) Tommy (center),and Jacob (rear) are bound for greatness.
The Pluses and Minuses of Piper G's:
Piper G's (+) indicators: Delicious homemade like lunch with pride and love. Large portions big enough to share. Unique side items worth discovering, enjoying. Uniquely beautiful lunch environment and really friendly staffers.
Piper G's (-) indicators: There are no $5 lunch specials at piper Gi's. Think about sharing your lunch AND your lunch bill. Umbrella might be handy on bad weather days.
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