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Sunday, April 21, 2024

You have no car, no money and no clue where you are going to get food next. Welcome to college.

Luckily for you, your newly adopted community has a veritable smorgasbord of food options within walking distance of campus.

You'll spend the next four years of your life perfecting your human Frogger skills as you cross University Avenue to get from campus to midtown. It's well worth the risk jaywalking, though, because midtown has a goldmine of places to eat.

Midtown contains Pita Pit, a pita joint with a wide selection of concoctions. It is open until at least 3 a.m. every weekday for late-night and/or drunk snacking.

At more respectable hours, you can grab a refreshing and hearty salad at nearby Designer Greens. The salad and sandwich creations at Designer Greens can fill even the stomachs of football players, so these aren't your typical dainty little salads.

A short walk upstairs will land you right in front of Copper Monkey, where you can get great burgers, salads and deals if you come on the right days. You can go to Copper Monkey until 2 a.m. every day except Tuesday and Sunday, when it closes at 11 p.m.

Another staple of college towns - and something that Gainesville is proud to be a home to - is excellent pizza.

Right off University Avenue and Southwest 13th Street lies a positively palate-pleasing palace to pizza: Leonardo's By the Slice.

Leonardo's By the Slice, not to be confused with Leonardo's 706, has been UF's best nearby pizza friend since 1973, which is an eternity in college town years.

With truly addicting pizza creations, ever-popular salads and never-disappointing garlic knots, Leonardo's isn't going anywhere soon.

A bit further off campus is Mi Apa Latin Cafe, serving fresh stuffed arepas starting at 7 a.m. For lunch, you can enjoy a pan con bistec (steak sandwich), and for dinner, some traditional Cuban or Venezuelan ropa vieja (shredded beef).

Walking to Mi Apa Latin Cafe would be around a 35-minute, excruciatingly hungry adventure if you're coming from campus, but it's only a 22-minute, hunger-escalating ride on the 43 Route if you can find a bus stop.

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For those looking for something out of the norm, Farah's at 1120 W. University Ave. serves up flatbread pizza, gyros and their famous wings all under a haze of hookah smoke. Mediterranean food never looks better than after you've been sitting around a hookah for an hour.

Lastly, Gainesville's population of Mexican food is something to die for. Aside from Chipotle or Moe's, Gainesville is home to Burrito Brothers Taco Co., located right next to Chipotle and Target Copy on University Avenue. It's been serving burritos to the college population since 1976.

If you head south on 13th Street, you'll run into La Tienda, which is perhaps the most authentic Mexican experience in town. It faces competition with Boca Fiesta, though. Boca Fiesta is located near Sun Center in downtown Gainesville.

If you have no car, that's not a problem. Just walk over to midtown or hop on a bus elsewhere. However, if you have no money - that's your own problem to fix.

There's a lot of glorious food to eat in Gainesville - all that's left is to do is eat it.


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