Eating Our Way Towards the Panhandle!
As we traveled from Tampa northwestward towards the Florida panhandle, we did our share of eating out. Here are some of the restaurants we visited.
Near Rainbow Springs State Park
During our stay at Rainbow Springs in Dunnellon, FL, we went to several places that we had been to before plus a few new restaurants.
Boulevard Diner, Dunnellon
We had eaten here the last year and thought it was good so we returned here once again for breakfast. Cute place, decent basic food and very friendly service. Open for breakfast and lunch from 8 am to 2 pm, open for dinner on Tuesday nights until 8 pm.
Grandma’s Front Porch Pie Shop, Dunnellon
Over the past several years, we had heard about this place a number of times, especially about their pies so we finally decided to try it for both breakfast and lunch. Good food, good service, generous portions and decent prices.
Breakfast was good – two eggs, bacon, home fries, fruit (unfortunately it was canned) and coffee ($7.98).
Guess we liked it because we returned several days later for a late lunch/early dinner.They are noted for their fried chicken so I had 1/2 fried chicken ($10.99) with a baked potato, green beans, carrots and corn bread. Rob had pot roast ($10.99) with mashed, green beans, mushrooms and corn bread. Noted for their pies, somehow a piece of Lemon Meringue pie found its way into a take out box to be enjoyed later in the evening. Oh, my it lived up to the hype – it was delish! Definitely will go back next time we are in the area.
Boulevard Bistro, Dunnellon
Opened in 2014 by a mother and daughter team, we had never been to this restaurant before. Cute place with excellent food and service. I had a bacon, swiss cheese and mushroom omelet ($7.99) and Rob had his usual – homemade corned beef hash with onions ($5.98). Both were delicious. A return visit will be a must do if we are in the area in the future.
Red’s Restaurant in Hernando
Another place we’ve been to several times while staying at Rainbow Springs. Although it is about 15 miles away from the campground, it is well worth the drive. Usually crowded but on the particular day we were there, we were seated right away – it did get busier as it got closer to lunch. I had my usual eggs benedict ($6.99)and Rob had his usual corned beef hash ($7.99). Good food and good service. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
Near Ho Hum RV Resort
There aren’t many restaurants in Carrabelle, FL where we stayed at at Ho Hum RV. In fact several places we had tried during our last stay (Mama Jo’s Pizza and Two Al’s) had closed.
Emsy’s Cafe (formerly Two Al’s), Carrabelle
After finding (on Google Maps) that Two Al’s was marked as permanently closed, we discovered that it was now the home of Emsy’s Cafe so we went there for breakfast. Reasonably priced – two eggs, choice of meat, hash browns or home fries, biscuit or toast for $5.50 (includes coffee). It was good, nothing special but guess they don’t have to worry about a lot of competition.
Near Topsail State Park
Now this is where it gets a little crazy because there are so many restaurants in the area. We went to a few of our favorites plus tried a few new ones with Betsy and Nancy.
Local Catch Bar & Grill,Santa Rosa Beach
Betsy and Nancy invited us to go to this nearby restaurant where every Tuesday night until 7:00 p.m. it is Shrimp Taco night for $2.00 and Happy Hour ($5 house wines, $5 premium cocktails, $2 Shock Top and Bud Light drafts). Based on Betsy’s recommendation, we both ordered two tacos apiece (sorry no pictures) – fried Gulf shrimp tossed in Nola sauce, spinach, grits and pico de gallo in a flour tortilla. Oh, my, they were so good! I was hoping we would make a return visit before we left but we never found the time.
Bruno’s Pizza, Watersound Beach
Every Thursday is Ladies Day at Bruno’s Pizza so ladies get to enjoy as many slices as they can eat from the pizza buffet (including salad and beverage) for $5 (normally $7.94). We went here with Nancy and Betsy last year and really liked it so it didn’t take much to convince us to go with them again. Great place to sample a variety of different kinds of pizza that you normally wouldn’t order. Such a popular spot so best to get there by 11:00 am (or after 1:00 pm) to grab a seat because this place gets really crowded!
Another Broken Egg, Miramar Beach
We’ve been to this local chain several times at different locations. Breakfast has always been good although a little on the pricey side. At this particular location, we both had their traditional breakfast – two eggs any style, an english muffin & seasoned country potatoes with bacon, sausage (we both had their sausage patties) or ham ($8.99). Food was good as was the service. Note – they now have a “No Wait” app for your phone so you can see the current wait time and put yourself on the wait list. For hash lovers like Rob note there is no corned beef hash here or at the other location in nearby Sandestin. However the location near Grayton beach does have hash!
Donut Hole, Santa Rosa Beach
We’ve keep going back here and each time we haven’t been all that impressed. Went here again because I was getting my hair cut and this was on the way so we decided to stop here figuring it would be fast and easy. Well, easy it was but fast not so much as it was pretty busy so we had to wait a few minutes for a table and it took a bit for our meals to arrive.
We both had a bacon and cheese omelet ($8.75). The food was good basic fare but still not impressed with the prices – more expensive than the Another Broken Egg Cafe but without the gourmet flair or the nice ambiance. Plus it was annoyingly noisy inside. Corned beef hash here was $11.75, not sure if it was home made or not, the menu didn’t say! Imagine! At that price, Rob couldn’t bring himself to order it.
Stinky’s Fish Camp, Santa Rosa Beach
This is one of our favorite restaurants so there was no way that we wouldn’t go here. In fact we went here twice – once for lunch by ourselves and again the night before we left with Betsy and Nancy.
For lunch I had their special of the day – fried catfish served over rice and beans with a cilantro lime sauce ($11.95). Yummy! Rob had a repeat of a prior visit – Stinky’s Hamburger topped with fried brie and caramelized onions ($12.95). Not sure how you get your mouth around the burger but somehow he did manage it!
On our return visit, we missed the lunch menu so everything was pretty expensive in the $20+ range. We ended up sharing an order of lemon garlic butter fried oysters ($11.95). Then we both had the crawfish pie ($11.50) which we’ve had before. Very rich but oh so good. Love this restaurant – delicious food and always excellent service.
Christiano’s Italian Restaurant, Santa Rosa Beach
Who would have thought that this strip mall restaurant would have such wonderful ambiance and delicious food? Some people had recommended this place to Betsy and Nancy so we all decided to give it a try. In addition to their regular menu, they offered $9.95 Early Bird Specials so Rob and I both had the Pasta Bolognese with a small Caesar Salad ($3.95). I’m not a big pasta lover but this was really, really good. Highly recommend a visit to this restaurant!
That concludes our eating adventures during our journey to the panhandle. But not to worry there is more to come once we arrive in Alabama!
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