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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The most “hipster” places in Gainesville are often the best dining experiences. Often serving creative dishes artistic chefs and catering to a wide range of customers (herbivore, omnivore or carnivores), hip restaurants are a lot of fun.

In Part 2 of this series ( we talked about the eccentric Boca Fiesta with their weird meats. Now we’ll look at two of my favorite hipster hangouts: The Top and The Jones Eastside.

The Top

The Top is located right off Main Street a few blocks north of University Avenue. The Top is an American cuisine restaurant with creative dishes and inspiration from around the world.

The Top has existed for many years, and has become a staple of Gainesville. Whenever I have out-of-town friends visiting, I take them here. With the eclectic décor and the sometimes strangely dressed employees, this can either be a joy or a shock to guests. Either way, it’s always fun. More importantly, the food is always good.

The Top is a reliable restaurant. Their burgers and daily specials are always a homerun (at least for me). I always get an appetizer (plantain chips, sweet potato fries and corn nuggets are my favorites). The best night of the week to go however is Taco Tuesday. While you should expect long waits (over an hour easily) it is worth it to try their Blackened Tuna Tacos.

The Top doesn’t take reservations, so the wait is usually long. Go early, get on the list, and hang out at the bar.

The Top is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. (they open early for brunch).

The Jones Eastside

I think I have a crush on The Jones Eastside – I’m always thinking about it. The Jones Eastside (don’t be confused there, there is a second store downtown) is located on 401 Northeast 23rd Ave.

Let me start with this advice: bring cash. This is a cash only restaurant, and you don’t want to be left with no way to pay. Here’s my second piece of advice: go like the Facebook page ( My favorite thing about The Jones is the selection of amazing specials, and you can see them daily on Facebook. While there is a set menu (that changes on occasion) the specials are the way to go.

Creative and diverse, the specials range from vegetarian, to seafood and to a large variety of meats. One of the best specials I have had was rabbit enchiladas (I have not seen rabbit offered in a restaurant before or since). You may also find many ingredients on the specials board that were sourced from local farmers. If you aren’t going for specials, try the Fish and Grits or any of the breakfast selections.

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Don’t forget a gluten free, vegan or just plain delicious homemade dessert. The Jones Eastside is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

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