by erin thursby
For almost 30 years, Farah’s has been part of the Downtown landscape in one spot or another. These days, the home of Farah’s Uptown is on Hogan Street in the shadow of the First Baptist Church. Looking down the street just outside their door, you can see the pyramidal shape of the Bank of America Tower. Farah’s seems to fit well in the cityscape even though the current location just opened this year.
They’ve extensively renovated the building they’re leasing, bringing it up to code and then some – a process good for property values Downtown and for the surrounding blocks.
Location-wise, a few blocks really do matter, especially for Downtown office workers who leave their cars in a garage and walk to lunch from their workplace. Farah’s Uptown is convenient to City of Jacksonville workers, and it’s in a prime location to capture business from the new courthouse when it opens. Framed on the wall is a letter from Mayor Peyton thanking them for choosing the spot.
Besides the Mayor’s missive, you’ll see quite the hodgepodge of interesting items, many of which were rescued by owner Kamal Farah from restaurants and venues of Jacksonville’s past. He’s got tapestries from the old Steak and Ale after a fire burned it down over 20 years ago. Stained glass from Doodle’s is on display. There are also vintage-style prints of the early days of the bicycle from the now defunct Bombay Bicycle Club. In another corner, there’s a cabinet filled with family portraits.
In the back, they’ve got a space for meetings outfitted with a handsome antique boardroom-type table and cushy leather chairs. The walls here are dominated by a mural of cartoon dogs playing poker and quirky caricatures of Laurel and Hardy.
Like most Downtown eateries, they are open for the weekday breakfast and lunch crowd. Breakfast is tasty. You can grab a breakfast on-the-go in the form of a hearty and delish egg and bacon sandwich. At a mere $3.25, it’s worth adding the cheese for another 50 cents. The savory burgers, well-built subs and crisp salads are a popular lunch pick, and some folks can’t wait for their Thursday and Friday fried grouper. Get a slice of their red velvet cake or baklava on your way out the door to stash away for your three o’ clock snack attack.
The word is out. Since opening in February, it’s become THE hot spot for the work-a-day lunch bunch. “Before lunch,” says owner Kamal Farah with a smile, “people know to be early birds.” By noon there’s a line out the door and strangers blithely share tables. Despite the large numbers of people coming through their door, waitress Haley Lauri still knows her regulars. It’s clear that people are happy to go to Farah’s and the staff is happy to be there.
by erin thursby