Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Urban Flats

For years Urban Flats has been a fixture out in Ponte Vedra, pulling in large crowds for drinks, entertainment, and flat breads. For all these years we'd been meaning to go but were forever being diverted by some other restaurant somewhere along our journey. But then something amazing happened, a new branch of this small-but-growing franchise opened up on the Southside, shortening our trip and thereby minimizing our chances of being distracted.

If there's one constant factor about the newly arrived Urban Flats, it's the buzz. They're constantly busy, even throughout the rainy Saturday lunch hours during which we paid our first visit. Photos of Jacksonville from eras long gone adorn the walls, accenting the clean, low-key atmosphere with a touch of nostalgic and reverence. But, as nice as the ambiance is, this place doesn't get by on its decor alone.

urban flats salad

Urban Flats, as the name suggests, specializes in gourmet flatbreads. Made from whole-wheat flour and baked in a stone-hearth, they take their flatbreads very seriously and it is highly recommended to at least try one on your first visit. As intriguing as they sounded, I was a little more curious about their signature salad, The Urban, which I promptly ordered… with a flatbread, of course.

I'm having a hard time formulating a sentence that would aptly describe how much I enjoyed The Urban, made from fresh greens, golden raisins, sunflower seeds, goat cheese, and honey white balsamic vinaigrette. Let's just say that I'm a secret saladophile and it ranks pretty high on my list of favorites.

Before we get to the flatbread, I'd just like to take a moment to call attention to the incredible variety of delicious sounding salads, starters, entrees, and "flatwiches" available at Urban Flats. Most restaurants have a lot of menu items but you're often left with only a handful that sound personally inviting enough to pick from. Perhaps it's just that their style speaks to my tastes but I find myself compelled by most of the menu items at Urban Flats and glancing over the menu as I write this is proving to be quite torturous.

urban flats flatbread

Now, onto the flatbread. There's a striking resemblance to pizza except that the bread isn't very firm. I had actually expected the bread to be a little crispier but I was in no way dissatisfied and would have been more than happy with an unadorned piece of the flatbread; it was that good.

We had the Oven Roasted Vegetable (sun-dried tomato pesto topped with roasted vegetables and parmesan cheese) and the Southwest (Angus beef, tomato chipotle sauce, sweet onion, jalapeno, pepper jack and cheddar cheeses and a sour cream drizzle) which were both tasty and big enough to last for a couple additional meals. There are some fairly conventional options among the 17 different styles as well as some intriguing oddities like the Fig and Prosciutto; the Spicy Shrimp and Chorizo; or the Turkey, Pear, and Brie; all of which I'd love to try at some point.

urban flats flatbread

The wine and beer list is more than extensive and I hear there are some good specials throughout the week so it seems to be a good place to go for an after work drink.

So it looks like the people of the Southside have been able to make Urban Flats as happenin' a place as it is out in Ponte Vedra. I, for one, greatly appreciate the proximity and look forward to many repeat visits.

Urban Flats on Urbanspoon

Urban Flats
9726 Touchton Rd
Jacksonville, FL 32246
(904) 280-5515

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