Plant-Based Fare At Reggae Shack Café In Gainesville, FL

Reggae Shack Café
619 W. University Ave
Gainesville, FL 32601
(352) 377-5464

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by Michael Wilkins

 

Reggae Shack Cafe Storefront

Reggae Shack Cafe Storefront

 

I attended the Jacksonville VegFest in April of this year which is where I found out about the Reggae Shack and where I met Danielle. The Reggae Shack’s booth at Veg Fest always had a long line. I was busy doing other things and could not spend the time waiting in line to sample their food. I made the decision to visit them on one of my dive trips to Blue Grotto or Rainbow River. I had the opportunity this past weekend to stop there on the way back from Rainbow River.

 

Reggae Shack Cafe: Interior

Reggae Shack Cafe: Interior

 

The Reggae Shack is located in Gainesville, Florida on University Avenue. It is very easy to find since is located on one of the main roads through downtown. Once we were seated I had a chance to look up the owner. I had a great time speaking with Omar and asking him questions about how he does things. They purchase their food as much as possible from local vendors and look for the highest quality freshest products they can get using local, organic and Non-GMO products. All of their food is cooked from scratch using many of their own seasonings grown in a small garden behind their restaurant.

 

Reggae Shack Cafe: Interior 2

Reggae Shack Cafe: Interior 2

 

 

Reggae Shack Cafe: Curry Tempeh

Reggae Shack Cafe: Curry Tempeh

 

He took me on a tour of the facility and was very enthusiastic about showing me his herb garden behind the restaurant. He let me sample a scotch bonnet pepper and some moringa leaves.

 

Moringa Plant

Moringa Plant

 

I was unaware of what moringa was, which led me to start asking questions. He was very enthusiastic about this plant and the nutrition that it possesses. This plant contains 10 times more vitamin A than carrots, more vitamin C than oranges, 17 times more calcium than milk, 15 times more potassium than bananas, 25 times more iron than spinach and nine times the protein of yogurt. He uses it in smoothies and other concoctions that are offered at the restaurant.

 

Moringa and Scotch Bonnet

Moringa and Scotch Bonnet

 

There are many vegetarian dishes on the menu and I was all set to order the Escoviech Tofu until the waiter informed us they were out of it. He told me that his second favorite dish was the Curry Tempeh which I ordered. My wife ordered the Brown Stew Tofu which was also delectable. Every dish comes with rice and peas, steamed cabbage and plantains. All of the vegetarian dishes are 100% vegan. We both saved room for dessert counting on having vegan coconut cake and vegan carrot cake. We were all set to order this when the waiter informed us that they were out of both items. While this was somewhat disappointing it did not dampen our spirits.

 

Reggae Shack Cafe: Brown Stew Tofu

Reggae Shack Cafe: Brown Stew Tofu

 

It just gives us another opportunity to come back and sample the cake. Hopefully they will have the Escoviech available when we return.

 

This establishment can be reached very easily from I-75. If you are going North, take the Archer Road exit and follow Archer Road to 441, turn left and then continue to University Avenue, Turn right, and go about 0.5 miles, The Reggae Shack will be on the right. If you are traveling South on I-75 take the ML King Blvd.(441) exit, turn left and follow 441 to University Avenue. Turn left at University Avenue and go about 0.5miles. The Reggae Shack will be on the right. If you’re driving south from Jacksonville just take a right off of 301 on to 24 and you will go right past the Reggae Shack. It will be on the left. Say hello to Omar and tell him the guy who didn’t know what Moringa was sent you.

 

Michael Wilkins is a respiratory therapist, an avid scuba diver and an accomplished photographer. He has been living with hepatitis C for more than two decades and is a cancer surviver. Michael has kept liver cancer at bay by employing the healing properties of a plant-based diet.

A year later, after a strict plant-based regimine, his tumor markers are normal and his MRIs are clean! This has made Michael more passionate about staying on a vegan diet. He has met lots of wonderful passionate people with amazing stories while walking down this path. Michael’s area is Northeast Florida, particularly the Jacksonville area. Contact Michael to share your restaurant finds, make comments, or just to say hello!

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