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Hidden Gems: Hala Cafe And Bakery

Hala Cafe Facebook Page's "Hidden Gems" is a new web-only series checking out some of the great places in Jacksonville you may not know exist.

It's tucked away in a nondescript strip mall on University Boulevard. There's not even any signage as you drive by. But the locals know it's here, and they keep coming back.

Hala Cafe And Bakeryhas a devoted following in Jacksonville, with great service, a fantastic Mideastern lunch buffet, and an adjacent grocery and bakery with an outstanding array of ethnic food products.

You can order off the menu, but for my money the best deal in town is the lunch buffet - with amazingly good homemade hummus, falafel, meats, rice and veggies. Everything's authentic, exotic, and tasty. By the way it's all very affordable, too.
Jacksonville has one of the largest Arab-American communities in the country, and stopping by Hala Cafe is one way to enjoy this local flavor with truly authentic and delicious Mideast cuisine.   It's definitely a hidden gem!

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.