Metro Jacksonville's Brandi Gregory visits European Street Café, a Jacksonville favorite and a visitor must-try.
With rave reviews no matter which website you peruse, European Street Café is a Jacksonville favorite. That is why I am ashamed to admit that it has taken me an entire four years of living here to step into European Street Café or, as it is affectionately called by its biggest fans, E-Street. It only took one meal—one fresh, scrumptious meal—to keep me coming back as an unapologetic regular.
I was impressed and extremely ecstatic the first time I ate at E-Street because, as a vegan, I didn’t have to special-order anything. They already had vegan options on the menu, which was an unexpected but much-appreciated surprise. Imagine my enthusiasm when I discovered that they not only have vegan items, but raw vegan items, too. They work alongside Shakti Life Kitchen, a raw vegan wholesaler that provides E-Street with delectable food items, from cashew “cheeze” and crackers to mint chocolate pies. I have tried nearly every vegan item on the menu, but my current go-to is the falafel pita. It is a pita pocket filled with falafel, hummus, tomatoes, cucumbers, and spring mix. It is, hands down, my favorite E-Street meal to date. Still, if you are a carnivore and rabbit food isn’t your style, there are plenty—and I do mean plenty—of other options on the menu that I guarantee you will love.
I have gone during the busiest times, such as Trivia Nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I have gone during the quietest times, like early Sunday afternoons. Yes, there are small tables, small chairs, and an abundance of flowers and baskets, but don’t let its quaintness fool you; it’s all part of the charm. I have never had to wait for a table and the servers are always quick and kind. As a bonus: they have never gotten my order wrong, which is practically unheard of as a vegan. It’s just one more reason to love them.
According to their website, E-street originally started in 1980 as a small restaurant in Regency Square Mall, inspired by German eateries and New York delis. Since then, it has turned into something bigger. In 2015, they now have four different restaurant locations in Jacksonville that are open every day from 10:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. (with the exception of the Beach Boulevard location, which opens at 10:00 a.m. but closes at 9:00 p.m.). Their expansive menu includes everything from Mediterranean to American, so you are bound to find something you’re in the mood for. If you’re wondering whether or not desserts are available, the answer is a resounding yes! Its desserts are reason enough to stop by. It’s nearly impossible to walk by the dessert case without internally selecting what you’ll be having when you finish your main course.
There is no shortage of deals at E-Street, either. The menu is reasonably priced and entirely affordable every day of the week, but on Mondays there is an extra deal: children 10 and under eat for free when an adult purchases a meal and beverage. Quite renowned for their large selection in beers, they received an award for “Best Beer Selection in North Florida.” That being said, seven days a week you can stop by for Happy Hour, which typically lasts from 2:00-7:00 p.m., but recently has been pushed until a half hour before closing. When the Jags play at home, though, Happy Hour (understandably) starts at 10:00 a.m.
You can check E-Street out yourself in one of their four locations: Riverside, San Marco, Jax Beach, and Beach Boulevard near University. Or, go to their website to learn more: http://www.europeanstreet.com/
Article by Brandi Gregory