Uh yeah, so I have now found my favorite place to eat in all of Jacksonville. Without a doubt, hands down, this was some of the best food I have had in a LONG time. This place has it figured out. After the video, read my French Pantry Restaurant Review below.
6301 Powers Avenue
Jacksonville, FL. 32217
Location: I will tell you right now, you will miss it on your first trip there. You will see what looks like a giant warehouse and think to yourself “nope, that’s not it, JaxFoodCritic said it’s tiny”. Well, you are right and wrong. It is a giant warehouse and yes, I did say it’s small. The French Pantry dining area is actually just a small room located in the front of the warehouse. The entrance is easy to miss with the small dated green awning. If all else fails, just look for a long line of people standing by the side of the road, THAT’S THE FRENCH PANTRY.
Food: Good God, the food is amazing. The fact that I’m writing this review at 11:45pm (I work nights) and knowing they are closed is just making matters worse. First off, let me say this. I’ts expensive as far as lunch goes. For my sandwich, dessert and a drink, it was just over $17 bucks. The reason I say this expensive is because you will become addicted to the food and want to eat there everyday. That’s why I consider it expensive lol. Now that is out of the way, on to the review.
So, I get there at 10:40am because one of my friends said “get there early and don’t even think of skipping anyone in line, you will get cut…they are that serious” being that they open at 11pm, I thought getting there 20 minutes before opening, I was good. First in line right? Nope, not even remotely close. There was a full line formed inside and then there were about 10 people outside in line too.
Ok, no problem, I can handle this…it just better be good or the wait will make me mad. As I’m in line everyone is talking to each other, most don’t know each other except from seeing them daily or weekly in line. It’s that kind of place. While waiting in line, I met Tanya Waller. This lady LOOOVVVVEEESSS this place. Tanya was kind enough to educate me on everything to do with the French Pantry. When asked about what her favorite meal was, she named off about 5 different items. Could you do that at your current favorite eatery? I know I couldn’t. Then when I asked her “What should I avoid?” she was speechless, she couldn’t name anything.
Ok, I have to get back on track…thanks for helping me out Tanya! So, once I got inside the first thing that I noticed was how tiny it is in there. I’m not kidding when I say there are only about 7 tables inside! Where am I going to sit?? Also, right inside are the old school black chalkboards. They write the daily menu up there and as they run out of stuff, they simply erase items. Pretty cool.
Once you follow the line and make your way towards the cashier to the place you order from, you have to stand in front of an amazing dessert case. Yeah, thanks French Pantry, I am now one step closer to diabetes. I wasn’t going to order dessert but after staring at it for 5 minutes, there was no way I wasn’t ordering something. Great marketing, whoever thought of that tactic. Bravo, I tip my hat to you. Now that I finally made my way up to order, I went with the Hot Italian sandwich and the Brown Butter Tart and a Coke.
Once you pay, they seat you. And they seat you wherever there is space. The cool thing is that they seat several parties at one table so you will end up talking with other people. At first I didn’t think I would like that, but it was neat. It kind of forces you to pick your head up from your food and have a conversation with people. While you wait for your food, they bring out your drink and some bread and oil. Everyone’s bread was different. Some had cheese on it, some were plain and some looked like it had tomatoes on them.
Neat, it’s like a lottery for bread. Oh, and everyone gets their own bread, you don’t share outside of your party. Then the food came! Holy crap it was food porn. The sandwich looked amazing. You would think that an Italian sandwich is pretty much the same no matter where you get it but you couldn’t be more wrong. This thing was amazing. I don’t know how to describe it but it just was. I literally had to open up my second cow stomach to get through this meal because I didn’t want to waste any.
Everything was so fresh, big, and savory. That’s all I can say about that. The dessert was fresh and tasty and I think I actually had to undo my button on my pants to make it home. I just can’t describe it. I’m hooked. I’m now one of the people that will try and go there once a week if possible (remember, I work nights and sleep all day). After I left, I heard from Tanya and she was glad that enjoyed it but commented that I probably didn’t have their best sandwich…WHAT?!?! stop messing with me Tanya! Now I’m going to have to try something else lol.
Extras: Everyone should try this at least once. There is a reason this place is #2 on Urbanspoon with over 1,000 votes and an approval rate of 93%. Just expect to wait in a long line and feel cramped when sitting down. Not to mention how everyone will be staring at your food and drooling while they wait to order their own.
– The food, that’s what’s good.
– The people that will be around you outside in line and at your table.
– Waiting in line, but it’s not bad really since the food is so good. Kind of a trade off.
– A tad expensive for “lunch” but honestly, I will pay more for good food.
– They are only open Monday-Friday 11am-2pm. This is bad because I want it all the time now.