Back in high school I remember having my first taste of beer from a several years older high school student. I must have made a sour looking face as my co-conspirator suggested, "Beer is an acquired taste Sanford, you'll get used to it." As I munched down on my Formaggio's Portabello Mushroom sandwich I remember how I was not a big mushroom sandwich guy. Diet constraints have forced the GLOB Master to make some considerable changes in his lunch time diet. One of the treats of this meatless sammy is the baguette encasing the sandwich's ingredients, image above. This toasted, crusty, carbohydrate is the perfect compliment to the imported artichoke hearts, sun dried tomato pesto, arugula, Boursin cheese, and Portobello mushrooms. What an excellent sandwich GLOBers. And that is not even considering the amazing toasted bread roll not only made the meatless lunch Sammy delightful. The thick pieces of mushroom added a boatload of protein texture and was a wonderful palette for the tomato pesto, and tart, spicy Boursin cheese.
It was Gainesville Lunch Out Blog Image Editor Erica Corbett's birthday and she opted for a delicious looking FBWB Turkey and Brie sandwich with Imported French brie, Honeycup mustard, fresh romaine stacked inside along with the roasted turkey breasts:
"Formaggio's in Thornebrook is serving perfectly sized portions for an early afternoon bite. The turkey and Brie sandwich with a side of caprese salad is one of the many choices on the lunch special menu. An additional bonus is the spacious outdoor patio which offers sunshine for those craving a boost of Vitamin D during this extra cold and cloudy winter season," Ms. Corbett said. Special thanks to EVC for the fabulous looking GLOB INSTAGRAM image bellow of her tasty looking lunch plate.
Bistro creates intimate lunch scene
After a restaurant career that began in New York Chef Michael Ragusa and his wife Clara relocated to Florida to open and work in South Florida restaurants in Fort Myers, Miami, and Orlando before realizing the fast pace of big cities and large restuarants was not what he wanted.
"This is perfect," Chef Ragusa said waving his arm across his intimate dining area and pointing out to the tables just outside his bistro. "Conversation, friendship, and excellent Italian cuisine right from this tiny kitchen," the Chef added.
You have heard the GLOB Master talk about ambience, home cooking, and lunch stops that just feel good. If I could bottle an elixir that would automatically paint a dining room with the comfortable, "I'm home dear" ambience of Formaggio's, I wouldn't have to write this blog any more.
All the pieces fit in this six table lunch stop with a very small bar. Plus when spring finally explodes on Gainesville the Formaggio's patio seating will be a very nice place for a crusty Italian sandwich, antipasto plate or their amazing Arugla Salad and your favorite beverage.
The menu currently lists soups, salads, and sandwiches. Chef Ragusa said hot dinner entrees from his grandmother's recipes will appear soon as they get their feet underneath them in the kitchen.
Clara Ragusa is the Bistro's 'front of the house manager' and she suggested the Formaggio's Arugula Salad would be the perfect appetizer to start this Italian lunch adventure. On a bed of baby arugula for two was a very appealing presentation of fresh Mozzarella cheese, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, shaved squash, vine ripe tomatoes, lemon, and olive oil with a splash of balsamic vinegar. The peppery flavor of the arugula melded nicely with the balsamic vinegar and sweet tomatoes. This was an excellent salad, and a fun way for me and my pal, Gainesville Lunch Out Blog Historian, Jon Roosenraad, to start our lunch experience.
Formaggio's does have a lunch special for $7.95 that is your choice of one-half of six different sandwiches and a cup of the Soup Du Jour. Cream of tomato soup is always available at Formaggio's.
I was thinking this would be a perfect time to do a Meatless Monday lunch opportunity and I chose the Italian Caprese sandwich and a cup of porcini mushroom soup. My toasted sandwich of fresh Mozzarella cheese, ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and aged balsamic vinegar was encased on one of the tastier, crunchiest, toasted French baguettes I can remember. You do have a choice of a French baguette, whole wheat baguette, or a multi-grain baguette for your half of a sandwich.
The Formaggio's soup of the day was a porcicni cream of mushroom delight -- chock full of bits and pieces of very tasty mushroom, this soupld could have held its own in last month's St. Patrick's Soup challenge. The creaminess made for a very hearty, warm feeling inside the GLOB Master on what was a very cold lunch hour in Gainesville.
Of the 13 sandwich selections on the Formaggio's menu there were several meatless sandwich choices including a grilled vegetable and a portabello sandwich.
JR picked the FB&WBItalian Combo Sandwich, which contained Italian Parmacotta ham, Genoa salami, pepperoni, sharp provolone cheese, fresh roasted peppers, ripe tomatoes, red onions, and Italian dressing all wrapped in a fresh toasted French baguette. Jon liked his sandwich and really enjoyed the ambience, and homey feeling of Formaggio's.
Formaggio's also has cheese and antipasto platters for one or two lunch outers that would be perfect lunch time conversation starters when the sun starts shining deep down in Florida damn near every day.
I told the Ragusa's I was coming back for lunch again. In fact, I'm thinking a late afternoon worldwide Gainesville Lunch Out Blog staff meeting at Formaggio's Bistro & Wine Bar could be very special.
The Pluses and Minuses of Formaggio's Bistro & Wine Bar
Formaggio's + indicators : Intimate, personal lunch stop with good lunch special
Formaggio's - indicators: Small dining area might be an issue for some lunch outers
I have never been disappointed at Formaggio's Bistro & Wine Bar. The service is friendly and impeccable with Amy very attentive to our needs and questions. The FBWB lunch time menu is perfect for a refreshing soup, salad, or sandwich, They also have several lunch entrees on their menu including an Eggplant Parmesan , and Pasta and Marinara. The Formaggio's patio is ideal for a friendly, casual lunch. Web/ Graphic Designer Jane Medley and I met there to discuss the upcoming project of the GLOB Master self publishing several manuscripts. The conversation, setting was so delightful we could have set there the entire afternoon. Sticking to my protein and vegetable regimen I swear the Formaggio's Salad had the GLOB Master's name on it. With mixed greens, cucumbers, grapes, cherry tomatoes, red onions, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette I imagined a cornucopia of flavors. Goat cheese . . . Excuse me, GOAT CHEESE is fast becoming my favorite flavor alert. The Formaggios goat cheese was wonderfully creamy, tart and delicious. The greens , tomatoes, and cucumbers flavors melded with the balsamic vinaigrette to afford me a flavorful filling lunch. You can add a chicken, or shrimp protein to your salad for an additional $3.99, or $4.99 charge. Talking with Amy I opted for $4.99 half salad with chicken and was p[leased to see my lunch was still under $9. Jane selected the Formaggio's Lunch Special the half sandwich & cup of soup or garden or Caesar side salad where you choose a sandwich, salad or soup from a specific menu of varied choices for $7.95. She complimented the bread for being not only tasty but the correct balance between a nice wrap for the ingredients but also not too much bread for her. One of these days I am making Formaggios Happy Hour my destination because I am thinking good conversation with friends on the FBWB veranda would be absolutely delightful. Plus I could sneak next door for some Thornebrook chocolates to perhaps impress my happy hour companion . . . There is a link to the Formaggio's Bistro and Wine bar menu at the bottom of this page.
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- Phone Number: 352 505-6202
- Address: 2441 NW 43rd St Ste 12, Gainesville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: Millhopper Area
- Web Site: Formaggio's Bistro & Wine Bar
- Latitude: 29.6760807
- Longitude: -82.3879443
georganne Wednesday, 27 July 2016 18:55 Comment Link
Had lunch at Formaggio's the other day – by accident because we met at the restaurant next door, but it was closed for July. I had the eggplant parmesan and it was wonderful. Service was good too!
- Georg :)