My idea of a great choice for a place to eat on vacation is a restaurant with a story behind it. Here are seven historic restaurants that fit that criteria — from Prohibition rum-runners to 1980s drug-runners; from authentic 1920s grand hotel to an authentic 1950s diner.
Unique Eats, Bars & Seafood Shacks
Stone crab season starts Oct. 15 and Everglades City, a small, isolated fishing village south of Naples, is a place to feast on this Florida favorite in an authenic Old Florida atmosphere.
Sebring, a small town along the lovely Lake Wales Ridge in Central Florida, is staking a claim for something new — Florida’s first (and only) craft soda festival, the Sebring Soda Festival. Local small-batch sodas made with real sugar are making a comeback, partly as an outgrowth of the craft beer phenomenon. This Sebring festival is a good opportunity to taste what it’s all about.
This isn’t frozen shrimp or imported shrimp or farmed shrimp. The huge boiling pots at the Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival are filled with fresh, right-off-the-boat Gulf pink shrimp. Members of the Lions Club have perfected the cooking technique over 50 years of Shrimp Festivals.
If you want to savor the flavor of the Florida Keys, spend a little time at a tiki bar. Our favorites profiled here are unpretentious waterfront spots where you’ll get good fresh fish, fried everything and a big serving of Keys atmosphere.
Robbie’s Marina is a don’t-miss stop as you drive through the Florida Keys. Dozens of tarpon, some more than 6 feet long, gather at the dock and lunge for fish from visitors. The restaurant there, the Hungry Tarpon, is highly recommended , too.
No Name Pub has been around since the 1930s, and it looks like it. It offers tasty food in a historic building, but what makes this the king of Funky Florida is the decor: $90,000 (some say) stapled to the walls and ceiling.
The beach town of Marco Island is all manicured and modern, but here are four adventures into the wild and authentic Florida that are within a quick drive. You can wade across a lagoon to a wild beach or have lunch in a funky fishing town or stroll on a boardwalk into a beautiful old growth cypress swamp.
This historic restaurant near Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park at Cross Creek is a great place to eat like a cracker. It offers an old Florida ambiance and menu.
Stopping at Alabama Jack’s, a fish shack and dive bar on a remote road between Homestead and Key Largo, has been the classic way to start a Keys trip for decades. We revisited the open-air waterfront spot recently, and we’re happy to say: It’s as shabby and atmospheric as ever.
The historic agricultural area surrounding the Homestead entrance to Everglades National Park offers so many cool experiences — a park where you can see and sample exotic fruits, free tours of a spectacular orchid grower’s estate, a local tropical-fruit winery and famous fruit milkshakes and cinnamon rolls.