Quick Bites – March 2018

Turnpike Mike’s

9590 SW State Rd 200, Ocala › (352) 237-8460

Mike and Christina Batte’s food truck became the stuff of local legend, an obsession for foodies who couldn’t get enough of their seriously overstuffed sandwiches and familial hospitality.

“We couldn’t find this kind of food when we moved here,” Christina explains, referring to their native Jersey-style eats, including Reubens, famously stacked subs, meatball parm, and sausage, pepper and onion sandwiches. “We thought they need this experience down here.”

“The first year was a little rough, but we stayed in one spot and developed a huge customer base,” Mike shares. “Our customers are like family, and they’re the reason we could open the restaurant.”

Those devoted customers have been packing into the new eatery where their daughter, Kelsey, works the front counter and everything is made from scratch using treasured family recipes. Mike’s meatballs, for instance, draw rave reviews.

“That’s very sentimental to me. That’s grandma’s recipe.” he offers. “Food distributors come in and try to sell us pre-made meatballs. ‘These are the ones we sell to everybody.’ Yeah, that’s a taste that everybody has, and I don’t want that. Sure, it takes us more time—we’re here until two in the morning most days, but we do what we gotta do.”

Want to go? Located in front of the Super Walmart, across from TimberRidge. Open Tuesday through Thursday 11am-9pm, Friday and Saturday 11am-10pm and Sunday from 11am-6pm.

Sips by JJ

2601 SW 19th Ave Rd, Ocala › (352) 512-0224

At the end of last year, Hello Cupcake said goodbye via Facebook and announced that the popular cupcakery would reopen under new ownership. Earlier this spring, Sips by JJ took up residency. The name change is a nod to the new owners, Jose and Jackie Lopez, and their desire to create an inviting place to sip coffee, satisfy your sweet tooth and chill. Any given day, kids munch on cake pops and cupcakes, college students down espresso while working on laptops and customers stream in for to-go orders. Aside from coffee and cupcakes, they offer homemade smoothies, mini empanadillas and free Wi-Fi. Everything is baked on the premises, and cupcake and custom-cake catering is available.

Want to go? The distinctive hexagonal building is located in front of the Regal 16 movie complex at the entrance to the Agora at Paddock Center. Open Monday through Saturday from 7am-7pm, and available for private event rentals on Sundays.

Bojangles Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits

4828 SW College Road, Ocala › (352) 789-6000

If you are familiar with Bojangles’ famous fare, then you are likely a fan. The popular chain has been serving up all-day breakfast, Southern-inspired hand breaded, Cajun-style chicken, hot buttermilk biscuits and tasty homestyle fixin’s since the 1970s. Since opening in mid-January, customers have been literally lining up at both the counter and drive-thru. Though visitors report long wait times due to demand, they also say the food is worth the wait.

Want to go? Bojangles is open seven days a week from 6am-10pm.

Posted in The Dish

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