BITE-SIZED

Get a Bite with Your Book

Browse the stacks – and the sandwiches, salads and coffee

Turkey, brie, cranberry chutney and spinach on a flaky croissant is slightly reminiscent of Thanksgiving but light enough for a weekday lunch.
Caron Streibich
Check the 50-cent cookie-of-the-day basket. If you see peanut butter chip or white chocolate macadamia nut, I recommend that you snatch one up.
Caron Streibich
The goat cheese half-salad is fresh spinach topped with creamy goat cheese, dried sweet blueberries, crunchy pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds), tomatoes and cucumbers, and accompanied by balsamic vinaigrette.
Caron Streibich
The veggie wraps are jam-packed with goodies, including creamy hummus or goat cheese and crunchy pumpkin seeds.
Caron Streibich
There are usually half-a-dozen self-serve coffee blends, including local Bold Bean Coffee Roasters from Riverside.
Caron Streibich
After years of displaying a handwritten chalkboard menu, Chamblin's now boasts a digital dual-screen menu board.
Caron Streibich
Exposed brick and an array of menu options make Chamblin's coffee shop café feel cozy and inviting.
Caron Streibich
For a refreshing treat, select a syrup or two, and the staff will whip you up a cold Italian soda, complete with whipped cream on top.
Caron Streibich
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Posted

215 N. Laura St., Downtown

674-0868

facebook.com/chamblinsuptown

Caron Streibich covers dining out throughout Northeast Florida. If you have information about new restaurant openings, menu changes or other food-related news, contact her here. Streibich is also the host of our regular Folio Weekly Bite Club gatherings. Follow the Bite Club on Facebook or Twitter to learn more about it.

There's a quirky two-story bookstore nestled on Laura Street, and it's a bookworm's dream come true — and the food, drinks and atmosphere in the café are so enjoyable, you may never want to leave.

Walking by the store's outer façade, you might think it houses only piles of new and used books. Once you enter, you'll discover the café: exposed brick walls, lots of windows, free Wi-Fi, coffee and treats.

Everything on the menu is less than $10. There are wraps, salads, bagel sandwiches, homemade soups and breakfast items. While I haven't hit up Chamblin's for breakfast yet, it's quickly become one of my go-to spots for healthful weekday lunches.

With several piping-hot coffees (there are lattes and the like, too) to choose from, ask for a refillable mug if you plan to stay awhile, or you can opt for a cup to go. With almond milk, even vegans can get their caffeine fix.

A chalkboard out front advertises daily specials, which usually include a soup or two of the day. The folks behind the counter will probably offer you a sample if you can't decide. When's the last time you had spicy African peanut soup?

I go for one of several wraps. The jerk tempeh provides a bit of heat with a lot of flavor and can be ordered as a salad or wrap. And the Veggie No. 1 (how straightforward is that?) wrap is simple yet filling — a large tomato basil wrap stuffed with cucumbers, tomatoes, crisp chopped red pepper, sprouts, spring mix, creamy hummus, crunchy pumpkin seeds, almond slivers and vinaigrette dressing.

As for sandwiches, it's a toss-up: turkey croissant with brie and homemade cranberry chutney, which is pleasantly reminiscent of Thanksgiving but light enough for lunch, and the Bang Bang Bagel with melted cheddar cheese, garlicky house vinaigrette, red peppers, onions, roma tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts and spring mix on a toasted, locally made bagel.

The iced Italian sodas are a must. Create your own flavor combo from a wide selection scrawled on a white board. Try the lavender coconut, which has a light purplish hue and reminds me vaguely of suntan lotion — only more delicious. (If that's not your thing, there are a few beer and wine choices.)

You'll need a few quarters to feed the on-street parking meters. Bring an extra pair for selections from the cookie-of-the-day bowl (50 cents each), which are individually wrapped and make a delightful afternoon snack. Peanut butter chip and white chocolate macadamia nut are a couple of examples of these fresh-baked beauties. 

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