Restaurant Review: Farah’s Up-town a welcome addition to eating in downtown Jacksonville
First we saw the signs: “Farah’s Up-Town – Coming Soon.” After a couple of weeks, workmen came early and left late, an unusual assortment of furnishings was delivered, the windows were polished up and, finally, the doors opened. From day one, downtown seems to have made Farah’s Up-Town welcome.
We went for lunch on a recent weekday and spent some quiet time going over the extensive menu. Breakfast includes Biscuits and Gravy ($2.29) all the way up to Eggs with Pork Chops ($5.75), served with grits, toast and jelly. Lunch has 28 items from the grill or on the sandwich list. Fresh salad plates range from a Greek Salad ($6.25) with feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, Greek olives and peppers to a Combo Tuna and Chicken Salad Plate ($7.95). Sandwiches are made to order and even include a Fried Grouper Sandwich ($6.95) and a Corned Beef Reuben Stacked High ($6.95).
For some reason, I came in set on a big, juicy cheeseburger, and even the special of the day, a wonderful looking plate of homemade spaghetti and meatballs, didn’t dissuade me. My Farah’s Bacon Burger ($6.50) was enormous, with several slices of thick bacon, a slice of American cheese, tomato, fresh lettuce and a hearty burger prepared perfectly medium. I’d like to say I enjoyed every bite, but it was just too much for one sitting, especially with a plate of hot fries served on the side. But I certainly enjoyed the juicy half burger I did manage.
My dining companion ordered the New Yorker ($6.50), a ham and turkey pita filled to the breaking point. You will need more than one napkin for this two-hander, with lettuce, tomatoes and onions spilling out over the top. The pasta salad is elbow macaroni in a fairly generic mayonnaise sauce – it could use a little pick-me-up.
We also tried the Steak-N-Sack ($5.95) and this was another messy winner, with loads of thinly sliced steak topped with a slice of provolone cheese. Our only complaint was the cheese itself wasn’t melted enough to give it that true Philly steak style. I debated even trying this on a pita, but my friend knows best and ended up with a wad of napkins piled next to his plate.
The owners of Farah’s Up-Town have been in the restaurant business before, so there are a lot of things that are done perfectly right away. The tables are immaculate and well-spaced, some of the furnishings are downright elegant, with large mahogany display cabinets, and a back room for private lunches that houses a giant intricately decorated wooden table with comfortable chairs. The prices are very affordable and our server was efficient, friendly and right on top of everything. In addition, the staff already knows a few downtown regulars and works hard to make everyone feel right at home.