Dough Religion, located right across from UF’s campus, is one of Gainesville’s most popular pizza joints. In less than 3 minutes, customers can get some of the best pizza the city can offer. However, under the same roof lies one of Gainesville’s most hidden treasures: OoZoo Bar.
Upon walking in, OoZoo has a very modern and urban feel that welcomes visitors. On the walls, one can find various sports teams and several televisions playing the biggest events of the night. Depending on the day, there are several events and specials to choose from. For instance, I visited on Monday, so Monday Night Football Bingo was going on and signature fries were only $5, instead of $8.
OoZoo’s menu features many American classics, such as burgers, paninis, quesadillas, wings, salads and more. With the game hyping me up and the menu enticing my already growling stomach, I was ready to order some food.
The first appetizer I ordered was the pulled pork quesadillas, which comes stuffed with pulled pork, fiesta blend cheese, sautéed onions and peppers and BBQ sauce. With just one bite, I could taste the incredible quality of the pork. It is cooked for over 16 hours, giving it an amazingly tender texture. The peppers and onions compliment the softness of the meat with a slight crunch. And the fiesta blend cheese gives it a signature Mexican flavor and gooey texture. Finally, the appetizer is topped with BBQ sauce, which gives the quesadillas a more American feel. With every bite, I was shocked at how good a quesadilla can be.
Next, I ordered the buffalo fries. This appetizer takes beer-battered fries and tops them with buffalo sauce, blue cheese crumbles and grilled chicken. After one bite, I was hooked. The fries and buffalo sauce tasted great, but what really made the dish were the blue cheese crumbles and the chicken. The cheese crumbles perfectly and is packed with flavor. And the chicken is so wonderfully tender and grilled to perfection. Combining all the ingredients together, OoZoo created the most addicting and dynamic set of fries I've ever had.
Finally, the burgers had come. I ordered two: the Jam Burger and the Holy Grail. The Jam Burger is composed of a half-pound patty, gorgonzola cheese, sautéed onions, applewood smoked bacon and jalapeño raspberry jam. The Holy Grail, the restaurant's most massive burger, included two half-pound patties, house sauce, four bacon strips, a fried egg, cheddar cheese, tomato, onion and lettuce.
My immediate reaction to my first bite was how incredibly soft the meat was, as it hits medium-rare right on the dot. The 100% certified Angus Beef parties are juicy and wonderfully pink, causing it to melt into my mouth. The beef tastes like if I was in my backyard grilling and watching sports with a bunch of friends, adding to the American feel of the bar.
The buns are also wonderfully warm and fluffy, definitely proving that the restaurant makes its bread in house. And the veggies topping the burgers off are so tasty that I could eat them without any other ingredients or sauces. They are insanely fresh because they're purchased locally, and they compliment the texture of the meat with a wonderful crunch. The very creative jalapeño raspberry jam is sweet but has a spicy back-end that really gives the Jam Burger a unique taste profile.
And finally, both of these burgers are big, especially the Holy Grail. But even after finishing the burgers, I am left feeling full yet refreshed. It does not give the greasy and bloated feelings that most burgers of that size do, really emphasizing the quality of ingredients used. These burgers are perfect for any occasion, whether that be watching sports with friends or grubbing with other burger snobs.
During each minute of my OoZoo experience, I could not believe that I have not been there before. Hidden by the popularity of Dough Religion, many of the restaurants amazing dishes are left under appreciated. Justice must be served, both to the restaurant and food-lovers alike. So, the next time you walk out of class and head to a dining hall for lunch, immediately turn around. Walk to University Ave. and get yourself an entrée at OoZoo.