01.22.10: The French Pantry

Because it's Friday...
Because I had a long and mentally exhausting week...
Because I couldn't wait to tell you about this place...
Just because...

I went the French Pantry today. There is no website to link to, but it's easily found on something like Urban Spoon. No sign, not even anything written on the door to really identify the place. The only way you'll recognize it is by the green awning with a line of people out the door starting at around 10:35. They open at 11:00. If you get there at 11:05 you're prepared to wait. 

If it's your first time - stay for the experience. If it's your second, call ahead, pack your picnic basket with your goodies then go find a sunny park and throw down a blanket for the afternoon. Or better yet scoot on out to the beach and enjoy this amazing Florida won't be sorry!!! 

Remember these things...

They're called PAPER BAGS America. 

I call them "the vessel which holds France". My car still smelled good when I left work today. 

When you're inside the door and you see it for the first time all you see are the possibilities the space itself has. It's one half of a giant warehouse type structure. All the magic happens behind "the wall". The dining area consists of maybe 10 "farm house tables", a large display cabinet which houses their desserts (but all you see is wax paper till you get up there and press your nose against it), and a large silver wire utility rack which houses breads baked just an hour or so ago. Oh and you can't help but notice a select group of employees hustling their tushy's off bagging up to-go orders, getting drinks, boxing up dessert slices and a register going into overdrive. I believe this place to be a well oiled machine. 

I think what's great about this place is that you only recognize those things after you've gotten over the smell of the place...fresh baked bread and cakes. Don't forget to wipe the saliva from your chin once you've read "today's" menu and made your decision. Yep, it's THAT fresh. 

So here's what I had...

Crusty, chewy french bread filled with: a baby lettuce variety as green and fresh as grass, purple onions as pungent as they are purple, tomatoes that taste like they were picked from the vine that day, a slice of provolone melted over turkey, goat cheese and fresh pesto. The pesto with crushed black simply won't believe it till you try it. Your sandwich comes with chips, but dare I say you'll forget about them when you see your sandwich. 

Then of course no treat would be complete without dessert. Here's mine...

Chocolate layer cake topped with strawberries and strawberry puree. Simply divine...highly recommended. Nice shot, right? Well I knew I was going to wait and photograph it when I got home's the other side. 

I actually looked at both sides to determine which would photograph better then spooned out the other. It's exhausting being me. No judgments please.

A couple of side notes...

If you dine in you're given half a loaf of crusty french bread and dipping oils/spices while you wait for your lunch. That in itself is a meal. If they provided butter instead of oils I would never leave. They do not give you that if you do pick-up - at least I didn't get that today. Or maybe you have to ask for it?

Also, this is not the place to go if you're anti-social. Because the table space is so limited, there are times when you will be seated with other people. Don't try to outwit the staff - make a new lunch buddy and go with the flow. 

Lunch will run you about $10-$11. Add a drink and dessert and you're looking at around $20. It's one of the few places where you get a lot of bang for your buck!!

The sandwich's are enough for two and the desserts are enough for 2 or possibly three if you're feeling particularly generous. Let's see that dessert again - shall we?

Yes, that's better. 

Here's the 411 you'll need. Am I too old to use that phrase? Did it sound silly? Ok...I promise not to throw you off like that again.

The French Pantry
6301 Powers Avenue
Jacksonville, FL  32217
Monday to Friday
11:00 am to 2:00 pm


  1. P.S. Pix - I didn't find out about this place till December so I owe you a Cami Cake, a trip to the Bubble Room and a lunch at The French Pantry!

  2. Anonymous1/25/2010

    SOLD! I'm coming...March maybe?? Before the craziness of moving gets in full swing. Check your calendar for a good weekend.

  3. How did I miss this comment yesterday??? It's Pix, right? Well honey, you name the date and I'll take the time off. Those pesky Lincoln people should be knee deep in our new jobs by then so I'm sure it would be perfect timing. Me...bitter...noooo.