Bolay All Day: Vegan-Friendly, Gluten-Free Eating in Gainesville

Lots of students look for healthy food choices when they go to college. The idea of the “freshman fifteen” scares us. We try to find healthy alternatives for what we actually want to eat but simply don’t know where to look. Worry no more because the perfect place is right around the corner!

Bolay was founded a few years ago by Chris Gannon, whose father happens to be Outback Steakhouse’s Co-Founder Tim Gannon. The now-chain restaurant began in South Florida and just under a year ago came to Gainesville.

Bolay prides itself on having a bold and unique menu, message and style. You seriously won’t find any restaurant like Bolay.

The menu offers three sizes of “bols” to choose from: kids, small and large, priced at $4.99, $8.29 and $10.99, respectively. The prices might be a little steep for an everyday visit, but it’s worth the splurge every once in a while.

Customers can select an already existing bol style or customize everything from the base to the toppings. For a large bol, customization would go as follows: pick two bases, two veggies, two proteins, one add on and one sauce. Small bols only get one base and one protein instead of two of each like the large, and kids bols are made of just one base or veggie and one protein. Pro tip: the small is definitely enough food for a full meal!

The menu at a glance

Bases: jasmine rice, Asian sweet potato noodles, forbidden black rice, orange-basil quinoa, kale yeah!, baby spinach and cilantro noodles. You can substitute your base for an extra veggie or get no base at all, too.

Veggies: herb roasted potatoes, garden green beans, roasted Brussels sprouts, balsamic mushrooms and ginger broccoli. You can substitute one or both of your veggies for an extra base, get only one veggie if you’d like or skip this altogether.

Proteins: lemon chicken, BBQ chicken, steak au jus ($2 extra), pork tenderloin, spicy Thai shrimp ($2 extra) and miso glazed tofu. You can substitute your protein for a base or a veggie if you’d like to. Sadly, Bolay’s Gainesville location doesn’t have ahi tuna, but if you’re ever in South Florida, definitely give it a go!

Add ons: fresh cilantro, minted tomatoes, parmesan cheese and fresh avocado ($1.50 extra). You can get up to two add ons!

Sauces: cilantro pesto, carrot ginger sauce and spicy Thai sauce.

Everything at Bolay is gluten-free (except for the beer), so if that’s a concern for you, you’re all set! It’s also super easy to make your order vegan-friendly!

In addition to the incredible food, they also have cool drink options. They don’t serve Coke or Pepsi, oh no, they have Stubborn Soda, which has distinctive flavors like Citrus Hibiscus Orange and Agave Vanilla Cream. They also have house-brewed teas in the flavors Sweet Watermelon and Pineapple Lychee.

If soda and tea aren’t for you, you could certainly try out their lemonade or orange and strawberry juices. They also offer kombucha, craft beers, wine and many other options.

With so many unhealthy options surrounding us while at college, it’s nice to be able to switch it up with a bold, healthy meal every once in a while.

Visit Bolay Gainesville at 2905 SW 42nd St. Suite 70, Gainesville, Florida 32608.