We’ve been going to Chopstix so long, we probably lack complete objectivity about it as a restaurant. It’s just one of the places we like to go when we want good vegetarian options at good prices. We’ve come to expect the slow, ultra-casual service as much as we expect the ever-changing view of the water out the big windows. It’s usually crowded with college students and locals during rush times, and almost empty the rest of the time. The menu hasn’t changed much over the years. Neither has the food. Neither have the giant fish sulking in their tanks. In fact, the only thing that changed was the family’s little kids, who went from baby carriers to homework at the big bar.
Even when they burst out of the mold and opened their Bistro location up on the NW side of town, it was pretty much the same thing but in a nicer facility. The menu is slightly different up at the Bistro, but the staff are easily recognized from the Cafe/13th St restaurant.
And then rumor hit that they were renovating the old place recently. What? Who allowed this to happen?
We had to swing by for a late lunch to see what had happened. It was possible they had obliterated all of our old memories along with the chintzy Chinese wall art and the rip-off of Hokusai’s Great Wave over the sushi bar. I would be happy if they replaced the wobbly cafe tables and chairs that sent my Thai iced tea cup skittering wildly at random moments.
All said and done, it’s the same old place, but with a gentle make-over. The dining areas have been reworked significantly for better flow. The deck out back has been given a little TLC and a bunch more tables for those nice days you’d like to sit and watch the water of Biven’s Arm. The giant bar that dominated the room to the right of the entrance has been reduced and sent far down to the left next to the new carry-out door and counter. That old bar space now has a fancy glass wall separating the restaurant from a chic WhiteBerry frozen yogurt franchise, finally providing a tempting dessert option.
The pan-Asian menu still hasn’t changed much, which is a good thing by the way. There are still a lot of vegetarian options, sushi, bento, and drinks. The gargantuan bowls they served everything in seemed to have shrunk just a bit. The same faces and same casual service attitude remain. And yes, there is still the random fly buzzing wearily against the windows to get out.
3500 SW 13th St
Gainesville FL 32608
M-T | 11AM-10PM
F-S | 11AM-11PM
Sunday | 12noon-8PM
Prices: Medium ($10-20 per meal)