Saturday, March 28, 2009

Food: j. doobies

Almost every politician claims to be a friend of the small business, especially in harsh economic times. But whether a small business lives or dies usually depends on how well it competes, not on how much lip service or government assistance it can wrangle. Many small businesses survive by finding a niche and filling it, like j. doobies, a restaurant that opened last year here in Gainesville.

On the face of it, j. doobies should be dead already. There are a ton of competing burrito joints in this town (both big chains like Moe's and local favorites like Burrito Bros.) and j. doobies' menu mostly consists of wraps and quesadillas that aren't too dissimilar from everyone else's. j. doobies has higher prices and smaller portions, too.

j. doobies does have one huge ace in the hole, though - it's open until at least 3 AM every day and until 4 AM Thursday through Saturday. After I talked with the owner, it became apparent that without the late night college crowd, the place would not survive. When you're out for a late night dinner, the extra one or two bucks that you pay over the market standard is justified by the convenience of the place being open. Niche filled.

Ironically, the highlight of the menu, in terms of value for your dollar, are the side items. j. doobies buys very good French fries from an unnamed supplier, and you can taste the difference. The brownies and hummus aren't bad, either; the former is studded with walnuts and raspberries, while the latter is a deep purple-grey paste with an interesting flavor.

So, if you're ever in Gainesville at 2 AM and you need a burrito, you could do a lot worse than stopping by at 20th and 34th and eating at j. doobies.

2/4 stars


At 8:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice review. I used to go to the California Chicken Grill in the plaza, but started to get sick of it. I love j.doobies!


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