GoLO at the Delis of Riverside Avondale

20 Jan

Riverside Avondale boasts some of Jacksonville’s best locally owned, locally operated delis.  These lunch-only, casual eateries are some of the best places to witness our city’s personality and local color and load up on riders, burgers, and cherry limeade.

Riverside’s Whiteway Deli has been a bastion of local color since 1927, when the Ramallah-born father of current owner Sam Salem opened a café in Whiteway Corner (the deli recently moved to a newer, bigger, brighter spot on King Street).  The names of many sandwiches – most of which are made with pita pockets – are influenced by local politicians and other local icons.  Try the Late Bloomer’s Special: turkey, bacon, tabbouleh, avocado spread, banana peppers, and provolone in a toasted pita.  Spice it up with a few sprinkles of Louisiana hot sauce. Don’t miss the archive of candid customer photos near the cash register.  If you look closely, you’ll see the “hidden” camera behind the counter.  Owner Sam can operate the camera remotely, with the push of a button – you’ll never even know he captured your image for posterity.  He’s essentially documented Whiteway’s customers for the past 30-some years, and the photos fill boxes and boxes (labeled by year) that you can browse through.  1237 King St, Jacksonville. (904) 389-0355.‎

Pinegrove Market & Deli, located on Pinegrove Ave in Avondale, has a definite old-school feel.  The deli’s website claims it has been a neighborhood icon for over 60 years.  It’s in a tiny building in an otherwise residential neighborhood, and both the exterior and interior are no-frills.  Who needs frills when you can get some of Jacksonville’s best sandwiches, burgers, and fresh meat here?  Pinegrove’s burgers and cubanos are the stuff of local legend, as are their heavy pita sandwiches like Da Fritz (grilled pita with pastrami, turkey, provolone, and tabbouleh).  It’s local gourmet without any stuffiness or pretention.  1511 Pinegrove Place, Jacksonville.  (904) 389-8655.  http://www.pinegrovemarket.com/

Gina’s Delicatessan in Five Points is just what a deli should be – simply decorated, no frills, casual.  And full of local pride.  On the wall behind the condiments station is an eighties-inspired spray-painted mural that reads, Gina’s Welcomes Jaguar Fans.   The friendly owner is happy to sit down and chat about her family, which hails from Palestine, and the deli, which has been in Riverside for fifteen years.  The menu is bursting with fresh salads and Middle Eastern goodies that the owner and her staff make from scratch every morning.  Gina’s tabbouleh rider might just be the best in town.  The pita is thick, warm, and chewy and generously stuffed to the brim with hot kibbeh and fresh, lemony tabbouleh.  And the tabbouleh is where the freshness of the meal really shines, with its grassy parsley, hearty bulgur, crunchy squares of cucumber, ripe tomato, and hint of mint.  818 Post Street, Jacksonville.  (904) 353-9903.

Michael’s Deli is another excellent lunch-only deli in Riverside.  The eatery mainly offers classic sandwiches made with Boar’s Head products, plus salads and soups.  There are a few Middle Eastern options available, and you can choose to have your sandwich made on a number of different breads or have the fillings stuffed into a pita pocket.  The steak-in-a-sack is overflowing with substantial slices of juicy steak and sautéed onions with a good amount of mayo thrown in. Even during the lunch rush your sandwiches and fries are finished very quickly and delivered to your table by a very friendly member of the staff.   Don’t miss the awesome Jags paintings on the wall!  1639 Barrs Street, Jacksonville.  (904) 384-3909.

Goal Post Sandwich Shop is a classic deli located in a plaza on Herschel Street in Avondale.  From the outside, it looks like this eatery has been around for a long time.  Indeed, it has.  According to the deli’s Facebook page, it’s been family-owned and -operated since 1979.  Goal Post claims to have founded the tabbouleh rider, and it is hailed by many as the best around.  The tabbouleh at Goal Post is tart and grassy, and they don’t skimp on it.  They toast the pita pocket with two kinds of cheese inside, so the cheese gets all melty and warm and the pita gets crisp.  They also throw some mayo in there for good measure. 3984 Herschel Street, Jacksonville.  (904) 384-9262.

Richard’s Sandwich Shoppe is an old school deli hidden away on Oak Street just behind Riverside’s Five Points neighobhood.  It has a certain old timey charm with its green and white checked curtains, fake greenery hung on the walls, and framed articles from Jacksonville newspapers that date back almost twenty years.  Oh, and there is liverwurst and Waldorf salad on the menu!  Go for a rider, a regular deli sandwich or a chef salad, and check out the white board near the cash register for daily specials on sandwiches, soups, and desserts.  This would be a great spot for lunch if you work in the area, especially because your sandwich will be ready literally within thirty seconds after you pay.  And you won’t find friendlier folks working at any other deli in Jacksonville.  Richard’s has a good flow of lunch clientele, and many of them seemed to be regulars.  As they walk in the door, customers are greeted with, “Find a parking space today?” and as they leave, “See you tomorrow!”  1030 Oak Street, Jacksonville.  (904) 358-3120.

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2 Responses to “GoLO at the Delis of Riverside Avondale”

  1. Jean January 20, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    Thanks for the great post, Cari. I’ve been a regular at Whiteway’s for more than a decade and am continually impressed by the freshness of the food, and the speed with which it’s served up. Pinegrove is another favorite, too-Nader makes a mean egg white-and-tomatoes/onion/banana pepper omelet in a whole wheat wrap that I’m addicted to.

  2. Jason January 26, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    Ginas has the best BLT in town, trust me I know. Its my favorite sandwich.

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