Harry and Larry’s Bar-B-Que, Winter Garden FL

We’d been bumming around Orlando for many hours, wasting a fair chunk of them in traffic, and it was getting a little late as we made our way to the last restaurant on our list. Now, my original hypothesis had been that barbecue in Florida must be very heavily influenced by each restaurant’s proprietor’s hometown style. Ah, what a silly error that was to make. I totally overlooked that thousands of people are actually born in Florida and grow up here; they don’t just retire to the Sunshine State. Take Ashlee and Katie Grimes, for example. They’re sisters whose family has lived in central Florida for four previous generations, and they’ve grown up smoking barbecue not far from Orlando. Continue reading “Harry and Larry’s Bar-B-Que, Winter Garden FL”

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Gabriel’s Sub Shop, Orlando FL

I figured, incorrectly as it turned out, that stopping by a sandwich shop would make a nice midday snack for Marie and our daughter. I had looked around and learned that Orlando is the home of two small chains of such shops. I flipped a coin and Sobik’s, which is very popular, came up tails. I picked Gabriel’s instead. The original store was opened in 1958 by Paul Gabriel, who passed away in 2013. That business, today in its second location on Edgewater Avenue, is still in family hands. At the chain’s peak in the 1970s, there were almost twenty stores around Florida and Georgia. Continue reading “Gabriel’s Sub Shop, Orlando FL”

Ice Cream in Orlando

A really fun resource for people looking for fun things to look at while driving around is Debra Jane Seltzer’s Roadside Architecture. I look at it from time to time wondering what might be nice to see. You know what we don’t have a lot of in Georgia? Buildings shaped like ice cream cones. That’s okay. Florida’s got that covered. There’s a small chain of ice cream shops around central Florida called Twistee Treat, and we drove out to the one on E. Colonial Drive (FL-50) to get some milkshakes. Continue reading “Ice Cream in Orlando”

Beefy King, Orlando FL

I’m going to say something here that might make Orlando natives and lovers bristle, but here goes: the city does not have a good reputation for interesting and unique eats. It’s said to be a roadfood desert. If it has champions, they are quieter than most. Nevertheless, Sweet Tea & Bourbon, the best of the many food blogs in Florida, has devoted some time to the town, but not even Mike sold me on any must-eats. This was going to take some time and research. I settled on five places for Marie and I to visit with our daughter while our son played with his grandmother all day in Apopka. I also picked eight places to shop to really give us a chance to dig into the city that the Mouse calls home and is surrounded by a more extensive grid of toll roads than I’ve seen anywhere before. Continue reading “Beefy King, Orlando FL”

Photo Post 20: Repurposed Shrimp Boats in Florida

A couple of years ago, one of our readers let us know that there had been a Shrimp Boats restaurant on US-19 in Florida, on the stretch north of Tampa between the towns of Hollywood and Tarpon Springs. Well, I said, that sounds like a stretch of a road that we will never visit. Well, never say never, because, as you’ll see in the next chapter, we went to visit Tarpon Springs, and so I looked up that business. It’s currently the home of Sunray Auto Sales, and the somewhat bemused proprietors did not object to me wandering around their property taking pictures. Continue reading “Photo Post 20: Repurposed Shrimp Boats in Florida”

Porkie’s Original BBQ, Apopka FL

Last week, I mentioned that I have a hypothesis that, rather than seeing barbecue traditions evolve region-to-region, in Florida it’s more likely that individual restaurants will crop up that have the look and feel of what the owners grew up knowing someplace else. Now, obviously, that can happen anywhere, and will; witness the Texas-style meat market, Moonie’s, just northeast of Atlanta in Flowery Branch. But I suspect that this is much more common in Florida than anywhere else in the southeast. Absent a strong regional barbecue identity that defines what everybody in town expects, places can pop up with the flavors and tastes of other regions much more easily. This is somewhat related to what Todd Brock was getting at in his excellent story about Atlanta barbecue in Creative Loafing last October, which you should read. Continue reading “Porkie’s Original BBQ, Apopka FL”

Tijuana Flats Burrito Company, Apopka FL

There was never a place in the blog’s narrative for this before now, but we had a very stunning surprise in our lives this past September. Eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed that my mother, who lived in Smyrna GA and at whose home – my childhood home – we often met up for meals in and around Vinings, rather abruptly vanished from our stories. That’s because she spent six or so weeks discreetly reconnecting with a very old flame and then gave us about three weeks’ notice that she was marrying the fellow, selling the house, and retiring to Florida with him. So there she now resides, just outside the town of Apopka, about twenty miles north of Orlando, and home to nine million plant nurseries and landscaping companies, enjoying warmer weather and going to the gym five days a week. She’s happy, active, and doing very well. Continue reading “Tijuana Flats Burrito Company, Apopka FL”