Raising the bar 

Dave’s does downtown lunch right.

LUNCH OMLETE: Who says you can't?
  • LUNCH OMLETE: Who says you can't?

While the River Market bustles with a concentration of fine dining and pub offerings, elsewhere downtown the lunch options are scattered about, some great, some good, some not so good. One of those little joints off the beaten track is doing some mighty fine things with those lunches. That's Dave's Place, a humble storefront on a quiet one-way street just a block and a half from the Old State House.

For three hours every Monday through Friday, this little joint hops with folks from every walk of life — from businessmen in suits to couples in hoodies and sweats to lawyers who stumble in from the courthouse for a mid-trial break. And though the wait staff and cooks are working fast and furiously, the air is relaxed, and it's okay to dawdle over your choices with a newspaper or take in a game of checkers if you have the time.

We recently visited a couple of days in a row to sample different items. On our first visit, we'd been lucky to grab a table, and watched as people pooled around the door and the checkout line, shaking hands and patiently waiting.

Our dining companion went for the Dave's Other Special ($3.50 for “baby,” $6 for “full grown”) and we tried out the Beef Tenderloin Sandwich ($5.50), another of the daily specials. Our companion's sandwich was inviting, turkey and pepper jack cheese with tomato and lettuce between two slices of Cheddar Rotel bread that was just spicy enough. The beef on our sandwich was butter tender but not so flavorful; the combination of rich horseradish sauce and savory Spinach Feta bread more than made up for it. Sandwiches were served with chips.

The Tomato Bisque soup ($2.75 for a cup or $3.50 for a bowl) was a nice offering served up with a basket of crackers. For dessert we couldn't pass up a slice of key lime pie, and we are so glad we didn't. One bite and we found ourselves enveloped in an utterly lovely slice of tartness, with that real key lime juice pop. Definitely a house-made dessert and not something popped out of a food-service cooler. And for a buck? What a deal. We're not talking about a thin slice, but a hunk o' pie.

On our next visit, we ordered the three-egg omelet ($6.25). Who says you can't have an omelet for lunch? The restaurant offers just about everything it serves in the omelet, and you can choose the number of ingredients you want. We went for the smoked chicken on the waiter's recommendation — along with tomato, bell pepper and cheddar cheese. The omelet came out hearty and hot, accompanied by a fluffy blueberry muffin, a strawberry, and big slices of cantaloupe and watermelon. The smoked chicken was an excellent choice.

We then couldn't resist another house-made dessert — a brownie, pan-warmed and both sweet and salty.

Dave's offers excellent bang for the buck. We're wondering what will be on the specials board next time we're on the block.


Dave's Place

210 Center St.


Quick Bite

Dave's is also open every Friday night from 5:30 to 9 p.m., giving Chef David Williams a chance to play with his food on a larger scale and for jazz to rock the house.


11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday.

Other info

No alcohol. Credit cards accepted.




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