Soon after I arrived in Tallahassee, I was invited to lunch at Hopkins’ Eatery, when they were still located, on North Monroe Street, with an impossibly small parking lot. Still, people flocked to this restaurant as soon as the doors opened, until they closed in mid-afternoon.
Trying to figure out just when to arrive to snag one of the parking spots and a table, became a game as one scanned the cars and those walking down a steep flight of concrete steps, just in case they were leaving.
Even so, Hopkins’ reputation for their wide variety of wholesome, well prepared and delicious offerings grew and grew, until finally, whew, they moved into the Lake Ella Plaza site where the parking is plentiful and the food is just as good.
So good in fact, there soon sprang to life, Hopkins’ in two more locations; Market Street District and Capital Circle near Big Lots. All of them do a bustling business and all of them stay open for dinner. Hopkins’ has lunch delivery service and call-in carry out. The ambience is fairly standard at all of their restaurants. Utilitarian, but not cold, clean but not fancy.
Not long ago, I met two friends for lunch at the Capital Circle Hopkins’. Their menu of sandwiches and salads are standard across locations. What changes is the season and hearty soups disappear in the spring, to return with cool weather. The decadent desserts are displayed on the ordering counter, luring anyone with a sweet tooth to give in to temptation.
If you’ve read any of my restaurant reviews, you know I base them on my dietary restrictions, so while my friends ate salads and sandwiches with cheese on them, I explored the menu for non-dairy possibilities. One of the cooks checked the bread pantry and their rye bread has no milk products. Step one. Next, I ordered a Roast Beef Sandwich with no lettuce. It came with lettuce on it. This has happened at other Hopkins’, but it was easily removed. My friend’s salads and sandwiches were pronounced “very good,” and with no server hanging over us to clear away dishes, we enjoyed a long catching-up conversation.
So all in all, I congratulate Hopkins’ Eatery for their longevity and consistently good food and still consider them one of the best lunch with friends places in town. I raise my cup of herb tea to you for thirty years of great food!
Hopkins’ rates a nanaj “A” for consistently good food and innovative menu offerings.