When I can spare the time for lunch, one of my favorite downtown spots is Olio Market. They have an impressive list of creative sandwiches (my favorite food) with fresh ingredients that aren’t hard on the wallet. I’ve visited a number of times in an attempt to eat my way around the menu–I find it a good sign that there are still things I want to try.
Olio is usually only open for breakfast and lunch, but I got to try them for the first time during their special extended hours for Jacksonville’s Downtown Art Walk.
I opted for the pork Cuban (smoked pork, ham, dijonaise, swiss, house pickles, Cuban bread), and Mario decided to try the burger + cheese, bacon, and fried egg:
I found the bite of Mario’s burger that I tried a tad greasy (as I have felt about a sandwich or two since), but he loved it. My Cuban was delicious, and had the multiple flavors and textures I love in these sandwiches. Olio’s fries and basil aioli are quite unique. I wish the fries were a thinner cut (they’re kind of a waffled steak fry, but–personal preference) but they are freshly cut and fried to order. I didn’t think I would like what is basically a basil-flavored mayo as a dipping sauce for fries, but it has a great fresh taste and is good match for the fries.
On my visits since the first, I’ve tried Olio’s steak & cheese sandwich (mushrooms, aged Gouda cheese sauce, mayo) lamb gyro (arugula, onion, tomato, cucumber, yogurt, and mint on naan, not pictured), and fried oyster sandwich (lemon Tabasco aioli, fried shoestring onions):
I really, really liked both the steak & cheese and lamb gyro (craveable!). The oyster sandwich was a little perplexing to me though. While I wanted some crunchy, poppable oysters like you’d find on a po’boy, these were thickly breaded into a rectangular fish stick-like form. I wish they’d change this.
Olio serves bottled beers and wine by the glass at lunch (and dinner on Art Walk evenings), cooks up daily specials (pot pies in winter, now quiches for spring), and serves breakfast daily. Lastly, some great news for Olio–their Duck Grilled Cheese (which I have yet to try) is a finalist for America’s Best Sandwich on Travel Channel! If you’ve tried it and loved it, you can vote for them here.