Riddlez Cafe

Last Activity: Jul 22nd, 2014

riddlez 0714

Riddlez Cafe


100 SE 1st Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
954 522-9797
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Critic's Rating

Last Review: 07/18/14


Dress CodeCasual ParkingStreet Metered
CCYes Alcoholnone
Entree PricesModerate OutdoorYes
ReservationsNo DeliveryYes

Critic's Review

My plan for the day was derailed, so I stopped by this little area to get a picture of the new pizza place that's going to open. I'd heard that the Downtown Deli closed, so I wanted to get a photo of that also. I saw the sign for Riddlez touting the soup specials: Lentil, Manhattan Clam Chowder and Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, all of which I like. The sale was made.

I went in and asked if the Gumbo was spicy and the counterperson said she didn't know. I should have taken this as a bad sign. She asked the "cook", who also couldn't answer but offered me a taste. I couldn't really tell from the tiny cup she game me, so I just ordered a small container. It was like $4.75.

I live nearby, so it was still quite hot when I opened it.

Riddlez Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Riddlez Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

My first impression was that it was short on stuff. Gumbos should have more stuff and less liquid. I started fishing around to find the sausage; real gumbo has spicy andouille sausage. At first I didnt' find any. Then I realized that what looked like grilled tofu was their version of sausage.

Rigglez Gumbo Sausage

Rigglez Gumbo Sausage

Soft, tastless; what was the point? The chicken was really soft also. Maybe it was in the soup too long. I took a few sips and decided that It wasnt worth the calories. But I thought I could save it.

One good thing about takeout is that you can fix the food if you don't like it. Some creole seasoning, cayenne, file powder and some hot italian sausage (I didn't have andouille), and the soup was transformed to something spicy and more substantial.>

Riddlez Gumbo Fixed

Riddlez Gumbo Fixed

Gumbo needs some kick. I didn't cry, but I came close.

I don't understand how people can serve what they serve sometimes. Don't they taste the food they make? Have they ever had a gumbo before?

Review 2/16/12

Riddlez took over the spot formerly occupied by Bob and Wilson's when they moved to their new location on Las Olas.

The difference between Riddlez and Bob and Wilson's is marketing. Riddlez has a fancy website and fancy prices to match. A Sandwich is about $2 more here than B&Ws. There's no pastrami or cole slaw.

Bob and Jose (the owner of Riddlez) are acquainted from their days at Panera. It's interesting how they've taken 2 different directions; Panera has lots of fancy sandwiches at fancy prices which seems like the route Jose is following; while Bob is offering simple, solid food and a fair price.


I was on foot in the area and I noticed on their sign that they had chili on special. I asked the counter guy if it had beans and he said "Yes, and a bunch of other stuff". Since chili can take many forms, I was a little put off that he didn't seem to want to tell me what was in it. They description was "Hearty Meat Chili", so I expected something very meat-centric. But when I opened the container, it was rather loose and had some unidentifiable ingredients.

Riddlez Chili

Riddlez Chili

I tasted it and it was cold; I'm only about 3 blocks away. The unidentified strips looked like bamboo shoots; maybe tofu. But they turned out to be cheese. The chili had a very smokey flavor and was loaded with corn. It was more like a soup, frankly. I can't say that I liked it.

They also gave me a container with plain tortilla chips and another container with some sour cream.

Like the sandwiches, the chili was too fancy for my taste. This is not my kind of place.

Showing 4 Comments

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to set record straight Robert, Jose's Brother in law did work for Offerdahls not Panera Jose never worked at either. Didn't know that Karen took over, or that it was sold as I guess the quality has changed since the original menu was written, which is still the same...too bad; as I created a really great menu concept for that area too bad it wasn't executed.
Riddlez is now under new ownership; Karen Ciampa will take over. Hopefully it will be more mainstream.
Bob never worked at Panera, he worked at Offerdahls Cafe & Grill. To my knowledge Jose never worked for Panera either. Jose's partner and brother inlaw worked for Offerdahl's as well.
I'm not sure where that story came from. We certainly didn't do an investigation. I didn't like it, so that's all that matters to me.