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  • Tara Crutchfield

Best of Haven 2023 - Food & Drink



BEST PIZZA

BISTRO PIZZA

326 W Central Ave, Winter Haven

(863) 875-4894 FB

@bistropizza326


Not to be cheesy, but Bistro is the best! Nestled next to Ave Bar, this Winter Haven pizzeria serves up hand-tossed, brick oven pizzas made with fresh ingredients. Create your own, or keep it classic. Bistro offers varieties, including the Pizza Italia, made with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes, basil, and garlic, and the Pizza Rustica, with mozzarella and ricotta cheese, ham, bacon, garlic, and olive oil. Pair your pizza with a calzone, stromboli, antipasti, baked pasta, oven-baked sub, or salad. Cheers with a glass of pinot from their full wine list or a cocktail from the bar. And don’t forget to ask your server about the “Pizza of the Day.”

2nd: J. Burns’ Pizza Shop

3rd: Pizza Connection

Editor’s Pick: Calogero’s Pizzeria


BEST BURGERS

ADLER’S

543 Ave B SW, Winter Haven

(863) 875-6615 113

Ambersweet Way, Davenport

(863) 438-4324

FB @Adlers.TCB

IG @adlerstcb


If you already know ‘em, you love ‘em. These burger baddies just can’t be stopped! They’ve been takin’ care of burgers at their Avenue B, Winter Haven location for two years, where they serve up the best smash patties around. Voters love their menu lined with mouthwatering options like the Classic with LTOP, American cheese, mayo, ketchup, and mustard on an artisan bun. Others on Adler’s badass burger roster include the Italian, Bad Hombre, Twitty, Bourbon BBQ, and limited specials (if you follow their socials). Order it with hand-cut fries or jalapeno firecrackers and a craft soda from the fountain or beer on tap. Tell them Haven sent you!

2nd: Andy’s Igloo

3rd: Five Guys


BEST TACOS

TACOS MY FRIEND

3899 Recker Hwy, Winter Haven

(863) 837-7416

FB @tacosmyfriend

IG @tacos_my_friend

These are the kind of friends you want to have! This top taco contender dominates this category year after year, beating out the competition with their authentic, tasty tacos. It’s hard to beat their succulent carne asada, cradled by warm tortillas topped with onion, cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and a drizzle of salsa verde. If steak doesn’t suit you, they have plenty of meat options, including pollo, pastor, chorizo, lengua, tripas, and cabeza. Their full menu boasts burritos, tamales, nachos, fajitas, and more. Taco-bout fantastic fare!

2nd: Angel’s Kitchen

3rd: Azteca D’ Oro


BEST WINGS

BLACKBURN’S BBQ

169 5th St, Eagle Lake

(863) 287-9975

FB @BlackburnsBBQ

IG @blackburnsbbq

Have you tried Pop’s wings yet? Best Of voters say Blackburn’s isn’t just wingin’ it when it comes to their yard bird. Blackburn’s mouthwatering meats are oak-smoked and fall off the bone. You can get your wings dry, hot, mild, or blackened with other succulent flavors like honey mustard, lemon pepper, garlic parmesan, and sweet, original, or spicy BBQ. If you aren’t totally stuffed, you’ll want to pick up a few made-from-scratch sides like sweet coleslaw, Southern potato salad, fresh collard greens, or Mimi’s corn casserole. If you need a good wingman, Blackburn’s is your guy!

2nd: Apple Lounge & Grill

3rd: Beef ‘O’ Brady’s

Editor’s Pick: Adler’s


BEST CUBAN SANDWICH

SOUP’R CUBANS SANDWICH SHOP

1502 42nd St NW, Winter Haven

(863) 967-6277

FB: Soup’R Cubans

We hear this Cuban sandwich is Soup’R good! So good, they just keep winning! “Over 20 years and still pressin’!” Since 2000, Soup’R Cubans Sandwich Shop has perfected their pressed Cuban craft. They load up their Cubans with ham, pork, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, pickles, and a mustard and mayo mix on fresh Cuban bread. You can get your hot pressed sammie as a 7-inch Regular or 10-inch Super. Enjoy this award-winning sandwich with a salad, or one of six daily soups.

2nd: Richard’s Fine Coffees

3rd: SoCe Market


BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT

ARABELLAS RISTORANTE

346 W Central Ave, Winter Haven

(863) 293-1797

FB @ArabellasRistorante

Arabellas Ristorante is no impasta when it comes to standout Italian fare. This Times Square bistro prides itself on excellent food, service, and atmosphere. Since opening in 2004, Arabellas has been the ravi-only place for a romantic dinner for two or an upscale lunch date with friends. Enjoy your Trancio di Salmone Arrosto con Carciofi or Fettuccine Alfredo with a glass or bottle from Arabellas’ extensive wine list or a cocktail at Ave Bar next door. Their standout Italian cuisine will have you saying, ‘Holy cannoli, that’s good!’

2nd: Carrabba’s Italian Grill

3rd: Floridino’s Italian Kitchen


BEST SUSHI RESTAURANT

TSUNAMI SUSHI

5937 Cypress Gardens Blvd #300, Winter Haven

(863) 324-6777

114 N Tennessee Ave #101, Lakeland

(863) 940-2112

FB @TsunamiSushi2013

IG @tsunamisushiwh

If you haven’t tried it yet, you’re going to gyoza crazy for Tsunami Sushi. This Cypress Gardens sushi spot is really on a roll, winning multiple years in a row. There is plenty to choose from on Tsunami’s menu, including sushi rolls, sashimi, makimono, tempura, miso, and more. Their sushi list is full of fresh flavors like the Red Dragon roll with sweet shrimp, cream cheese, and scallions, topped with spicy tuna, tobiko, eel sauce, and asparagus, or the Tigers Eye roll with salmon, tuna, krab, cream cheese, and avocado, wrapped in cucumber and topped with ginger tataki sauce. Congrats to the best sushi restaurant in the tuna-verse!

2nd: Sakura Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar

3rd: Tsukiyomi Sushi Bar & Grill


BEST BBQ RESTAURANT

BLACKBURN’S BBQ

169 5th St, Eagle Lake

(863) 287-9975

FB @BlackburnsBBQ

IG @blackburnsbbq

Blackburn’s ain’t slackin’ when it comes to their oak-smoked, fall-off-the-bone BBQ. They keep smoking the competition! This Eagle Lake eatery features favorites like pulled pork and rib bone-in sandwiches, dinner plates including brisket, turkey, smoked sausage, meat by the pound, and family meal deals. Best Of voters love their wings so much that they won that category, too! Their madefrom-scratch Southern sides include the likes of sweet coleslaw, Southern potato salad, fresh collard greens, and Mimi’s corn casserole. Finish your meal with homemade banana pudding or a slice of fresh apple or pecan pie.

2nd: The Smokin’OX Premium BBQ

3rd: Smokin’ Jim’s House of Bar-B-Q

Editor’s Pick: Blue Dog Craft Barbecue


BEST DONUTS

THE DONUT MAN 1290 6th St NW, Winter Haven

(863) 293-4031

FB @thedonutmanWH

Looking to sprinkle some joy on your day? There’s a ‘hole’ lot to rave about the Donut Man! Their Amazing Apple Fritters draw folks far and wide, but I donut want to glaze over their other offerings of assorted cake donuts, filled donuts, and raised donuts, along with sandwiches, bagels, muffins, croissants, coffee, and more. One customer wrote, “BEST donuts I’ve ever had! Their employees always know how to treat their customers right! Always friendly and accommodating! My favorite donut is the Vanilla Cream!” Donut Man, we think you’re pretty sweet.

2nd: Baking Donuts Plus

3rd: Dunkin’


BEST SUB SANDWICH

PUBLIX

FB @publix

IG @publix

Pub Subs are pretty deli-ghtful! This iconic sandwich has become the nation’s envy, with an array of subs to savor, from the Boar’s Head Italian Sub to the Publix Ultimate Sub. The options are ‘sub’stantial, but the tried-and-true sammy is the Chicken Tender Sub made with Publix Deli’s famous double-hand-breaded chicken tenders. Little known fact, if you don’t have a Pub Sub every so often, they’ll revoke your Florida card. I’m due for mine soon!

2nd: Firehouse Subs

3rd: Mama Dilo’s Deli


BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT

AZTECA D’ORO

5860 Cypress Gardens Blvd, Winter Haven

(Multiple locations in Orlando, Lakeland, Winter Garden, and New Smyrna)

(863) 295-9080

FB @Aztecawinterhaven

IG @aztecadorowh

Azteca D’Oro has won Best Mexican Restaurant a whole encha-lot-of times! Nothing is better than margaritas and tasty Mexican food at this Winter Haven mainstay. Their lunch and dinner menus feature ceviche, nachos, elotes Mexicanos, fajitas, burritos, enchiladas, tortas, tacos, signature dishes, desserts, and more. “I was first amazed at the bar selection here. There is great tequila and a nice selection of bourbon. Then I was blown away with how good the food was. Service was very good. I have been here a few times now and every time the food is fantastic! I will go here again and again,” wrote one Azteca D’Oro patron.

2nd: El Olivo Mexican Restaurant

3rd: San Diego’s Mexican Grill


BEST LATIN RESTAURANT

SANTIAGO’S MARKET

898 Havendale Blvd NW, Winter Haven

(863) 293-9659

FB: Santiago’s Market

IG @santiagosrestaurantfl

Latin food heaven on Havendale! Santiago’s Market is a family-owned, full grocery store offering Caribbean and North and South American products. In addition to fresh-packed meat and a sizable selection of fresh produce, they feature a Latin buffet that customers flock to. One customer raved, “Puerto Rican food and culture celebrated here! Great selections in the market, and also in the hot & ready cafeteria style dining area. Good prices. Clean and easy access location.”

2nd: Nineteen61

3rd: El Pilón Loko Restaurant


BEST SOUL FOOD RESTAURANT

B.D. SOUTHERN HOME COOKING

1518 7th St SW, Winter Haven

(863) 247-8375

FB: BD Southern Home Cooking

IG @bdsouthern

Nothing says soul food like Southern home cooking, and nobody does it better than B.D. In addition to house burgers, specialty salads, sandwiches, and platters, B.D. Southern Home Cooking offers Deep South Dinners. These include delights like chitterlings, oxtail, chop steak, and more. Sliced tomatoes, fried corn on the cob, hush puppies, and fried okra are only some of their soul food side dishes. One customer wrote, “Love the food here! I had some fried pork chops, fried okra with mashed potatoes, and gravy. It was wonderful! They also have really good banana pudding and red velvet cake!”

2nd: Big Daddy’s Barbecue

3rd: Our Noire Kitchen


BEST BREAKFAST RESTAURANT

EGG HAVEN

301 3rd St SW, Winter Haven

(863) 268-8269

FB: Egg Haven

You butter believe Egg Haven is the best! This 3rd Street diner opened in 2013 and serves their egg-stensive breakfast all day. Drive by (or drive-thru) any morning, and you’ll see patrons enjoying their Egg Haven Benedict, chocolate chip pancakes, and blueberry french toast on the sunny patio. Some call it a hidden gem in Winter Haven, and many praise them for fast, friendly service, good food, and fair prices. Egg Haven, you’re our butter half, the biscuits to our gravy, and an eggcellent choice for breakfast!

2nd: First Watch

3rd: Honeycomb Bread Bakers


BEST BRUNCH

LUCILLE’S AMERICAN CAFE

205 3rd St SW, Winter Haven

(863) 875-5005

FB @lucillescafe

IG @lucillescafewh

Shrimp and grits calling your name? How about a Hangover Waffle Sandwich? By a landslide, Lucille’s American Cafe, winner of the ‘Best New Restaurant’ category in 2022, beat out their brunch competition this year. Their weekend brunch is beloved, and we totally see why. This retro Winter Haven cafe offers made-from-scratch homestyle meals with plenty of options to choose from. Sit on the sunny patio and enjoy Bananas Fosters French Toast with a sparkling bellini mimosa. Lucille’s, Best Of Haven voters love you a brunch!

2nd: The Fire Restaurant

3rd: First Watch

Editor’s Pick: Nutwood


BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

HARBORSIDE

2435 7th St SW, Winter Haven

(863) 293-7070

FB @HarborsideFL

IG @harborsiderestaurant

Delicious seafood with unmatched Lake Shipp views. Harborside offers premium scenery, steaks, seafood, and other upscale casual fare. A variety of seafood dishes line the menu, both fresh and fried, like Ahi Tuna and Smoked Salmon Dip appetizers, Gulf Oysters on the half shell, Snow Crab, Stuffed Flounder, and Grouper Sandwich entrees. One Harborside review reads in part, “[...] Great place to dock the boat for lunch and continue on the water. The fish sandwich is a large, fried flaky fish, which tasted fresh (not frozen). Shrimp trio was excellent as well. The staff was friendly.” Go at sunset and thank me later!

2nd: Harry’s Old Place

3rd: Hungry Crab Juicy Seafood & Bar


BEST THAI RESTAURANT

THAI HAVEN

309 W Central Ave, Winter Haven

(863) 291-8085

FB @ThaiHaven

IG @thaihaven_fl

Need something to Thai you over? Try this cozy Central Avenue respite. Family-owned and operated, Thai Haven offers authentic made-to-order appe-thai-zing cuisine in an intimate setting in Downtown Winter Haven. Their menu of appetizers, soups, salads, curries, noodle dishes, fried rice dishes, and more is extensive, offering spice levels to suit any palate. A hot cup of coconut milk soup is perfect for a fall afternoon, and their curry is a great pick-me-up anytime!

2nd: Saigon Garden

3rd: Gin Khao Food Truck


BEST MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT

MEDITERRANEAN FRESH GRILL

6035 Cypress Gardens Blvd, Winter Haven

(833) 633-4745

FB @MediterraneanFreshGrillWinterHaven

IG @mediterraneanfresh

It’s all in the name! Mediterranean Fresh Grill’s Chef Chadi Mokbel creates beautiful Lebanese dishes that taste even better than they look. “Our menu is inspired by the bold, fresh flavors found in the street foods of the Eastern Mediterranean. Our food contains only high quality, wholesome ingredients like organic fruits and vegetables sourced mainly from local and regional farmers as well as antibiotic-free chicken, lamb, and beef,” notes Med Fresh Grill. On the menu, you’ll find food prepared fresh daily and cooked to order, accommodating many dietary needs and choices, including vegetarian, vegan, low-carb, Keto, and gluten-free options. A few menu faves include garlic whip, tabbouleh, spicy feta dip, kabobs, and shawarma.

2nd: The Krazy Greek

3rd: Agape Agora


BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT

BEIJING RESTAURANT

3005 Cypress Gardens Rd SE, Winter Haven

(863) 318-0226

Beijing Restaurant offers a substantial menu and friendly service. Dine in or take out all the Chinese favorites, from sweet and sour chicken to beef chop suey and beyond. Or have it delivered! Beijing says, “We pick ingredients carefully and use only the freshest and natural ones to prepare every dish, and have been trying to cook them in a healthier way to provide the most nutritious food.” One customer wrote, “Beijing Chinese Restaurant has amazing tasting food! The service is very fast and always accurate! High-quality Chinese food at its best! I absolutely recommend everyone to try it for yourself! You won’t be disappointed!”

2nd: China Park

3rd: (tie) Evergreen

3rd: (tie) China Wok


BEST RESTAURANT FOR OYSTERS

GARY’S OYSTER BAR & SEAFOOD HOUSE

660 E Alfred St, Lake Alfred

(863) 956-5055

FB: Garys Oyster Bar

Aw shucks, the oldest oyster bar in Polk County won again! Gary’s has been pluckin’ and shuckin’ oysters in their cozy, casual dining space for over 43 years. Their Char-Grilled Parmesan and Jalapeño Bacon Oysters compete for guest favorite. Their fresh oysters, steamed or raw, will leave you in half-shell heaven. Wash it down with a cocktail from their full-service bar! According to Gary’s Oyster Bar, “We pride ourselves as a true Florida seafood experience that the entire family will enjoy.”

2nd: Old Man Frank’s

3rd: Harborside


BEST ICE CREAM

ANDY’S IGLOO

703 3rd St SW, Winter Haven

(863) 293-0019

FB: ANDY’S IGLOO

Another Best Ice Cream win for Andy’s Igloo! Ice cream parlor patrons love Andy’s burgers and Americana vibe, but their ice cream is the cherry on top. Their neon namesake sign is a beacon to Banana Bonanza lovers and those with a sundae sweet tooth. Andy’s offers homemade sherberts, milkshakes, freezes, floats, and hand-dipped ice cream, as well as Royal Treats like their Banana Split, Spin-The-Wheel, and Parfait (and, all their sherberts are made in-house). Get what you want, no self’cone’trol needed!

2nd: Dairy Queen

3rd: Cabana Boy Ice Cream


BEST FOOD TRUCK

CRAVIN’ HAVEN

(863) 604-9432

FB: Cravin’ Haven

IG @cravinhavenfl

Whatever you’re cravin’, they’re makin’! Cravin’ Haven food truck may be the new kid on the block (open for a year in September), but Best Of Haven voters are already singing their praises. This mouthwatering mobile bistro serves a diverse rotating menu of dishes using high-quality ingredients. Foodies can indulge in everything from a chili cheese dog and a Cuban sandwich to a fried fish basket and ahi tuna tacos. They’ve got five finger-licking stars on Google with customers raving, “Delicious and great prices, the fries were the best I’ve had in a long time, the brisket was juicy and flavorful with a good BBQ sauce, definitely check this place out!”

2nd: Gin Khao Food Truck

3rd: Tallulah’s Table by the Sea


BEST DINER

ANDY’S IGLOO

703 3rd St SW, Winter Haven

(863) 293-0019

FB: ANDY’S IGLOO

Not only did they cream the competition in the Ice Cream category, but Best Of Voters are also digging Andy’s diner vibes. Andy’s is the place for old-school diner bites, from burgers and crinkle-cut fries to hot dogs and fried catfish. The Igloo opened in 1951 and has since solidified itself as a Winter Haven institution. Just follow the neon sign to the best diner fare around. Don’t forget to order an ice cream float to wash it down! One review reads in part, “Love the old style of Andy’s, the mom and pop feel. Always a fun place to visit. [...]”

2nd: Lucille’s American Cafe

3rd: Big Tom’s Diner


BEST FINE DINING

ARABELLAS RISTORANTE

346 W Central Ave, Winter Haven

(863) 293-1797

FB @ArabellasRistorante

Exposed brick walls, white linen tablecloths and billowy window treatments framing palatial windows form a second-to-none fine dining experience in Winter Haven. From their pianist to their premium service and fare, guests rave that Arabellas is the place to go for the Best Italian Food and Fine Dining. One customer wrote, “Great Manager and team, servers are attentive and caring. Entertainer is extremely talented and his cheerfulness sets the tone for the upbeat atmosphere. The food is exceptionally delicious. Reservations are recommended but if they can get a table for you, they will. Great fine dining experience. Highly recommend.”

2nd: Nutwood

3rd: The Fire Restaurant


BEST PATIO DINING

LUCILLE’S AMERICAN CAFE

205 3rd St SW, Winter Haven

(863) 875-5005

FB @lucillescafe

IG @lucillescafewh

Lucille’s American Cafe offers a shaded respite right off 3rd Street. Not only are they total brunch baddies, taking home first in that category this year, guests love their premier patio space. It is truly the perfect spot to take in the hustle and bustle of Downtown Winter Haven while enjoying a from-scratch homestyle meal. One customer raved, “Great service, atmosphere, and food. Lovely to hear they source locally and make most things from scratch. They also have a large nicely decorated dog-friendly covered patio.”

2nd: The Twisted Prop Bar & Grille

3rd: Nutwood


BEST CASUAL DINING

LUCILLE’S AMERICAN CAFE

205 3rd St SW, Winter Haven

(863) 875-5005

FB @lucillescafe

IG @lucillescafewh

They just can’t be stopped! Congratulations, Lucielle’s, on having the Best Brunch, Best Cocktails, Best Patio, and Best Casual Dining. No pretense, only positive vibes here. Though they’ve only been open a few years, this Americana cafe already feels like a Winter Haven mainstay. Owners Beth and Paul Nunez have worked tirelessly to make the words in neon on Lucille’s wall, ‘Good. Vibes. Only.’ come true for guests. Of the mid-century modern space featuring photos of Winter Haven’s history, Kelly Sanford wrote in a Haven Magazine article that the owners “welcome locals and visitors alike to relax, dine, share stories, and feel the love.”

2nd: The Fire Restaurant

3rd: The Twisted Prop Bar & Grille


BEST WATERFRONT DINING

HARBORSIDE

2435 7th St SW, Winter Haven, FL 33880

(863) 293-7070

FB @HarborsideFL

IG @harborsiderestaurant

Panoramic windows frame the wave-lapping beauty of Lake Shipp. Enjoy the Best Seafood while watching the sun dip behind The Chain. In a landslide again this year, Best Of Haven voters singled out Harborside as the premier place for waterfront dining across the county. It is a top destination by car, boat, or even seaplane for fresh seafood, steaks, and other casual fare. Nearly every review makes a note of the stunning views. One patron wrote in part, “The lake view seating was exceptional. [...]” While another said, “The views are so beautiful, a great backdrop for pictures. [...]”

2nd: The Twisted Prop Bar & Grille

3rd: Tanners Lakeside Restaurant & Bar


BEST BAR

AVE BAR

340 W Central Ave, Winter Haven

(863) 297-1797

FB: Ave Bar by Arabellas

This cozy, upscale bar is a repeat winner in this category. Nestled between Arabellas Ristorante and Bistro Pizza, a small plate menu and menus from both sister establishments are provided, making it the perfect spot for spirits and spaghetti. The picture of downtown sophistication, one guest wrote of the bar, “Great little bar in Winter Haven with some fantastic food options. It is connected to both Arabella’s for finer dining and also a pizza place, so there is plenty of food to choose from. Very great bar menu during happy hour. [...]”

2nd: Barrel 239

3rd: Jensen’s Corner Bar


BEST COCKTAILS

LUCILLE’S AMERICAN CAFE

205 3rd St SW, Winter Haven

(863) 875-5005

FB @lucillescafe

IG @lucillescafewh

Another win for Lucille’s?! You’ve vodka be kiddin’ me! Cheers to Lucille’s American Cafe! A voter favorite this year, Lucille’s offers a mid-century modern vibe and plenty of tasty, made-from-scratch homestyle fare. But it’s their cocktails that voters are raving about this time. They offer a variety of craft and classics that include the Orange Blossom Special, Caffeine Fiend, You Give Me Butterflies, and the Mighty Bold of You. One guest wrote of the cocktail, Sincerely, Lucille, “It had Kettle One vodka, a sour liquor, and fresh strawberries and basil. It was freaking awesome and refreshing. Great one to have for summer in the daytime.”

2nd: Barrel 239

3rd: Ave Bar


BEST WINE MENU

OBSCURE WINE COMPANY

276 W Central Ave, Winter Haven

(863) 268-6555

FB: Obscure Wine Company

IG @obscurewine

Cheers to another wine win! Obscure Wine Company has become a darling of Downtown Winter Haven. This woman-owned Central Avenue wine bar and shoppe offers a sprawling menu of wines from around the world by the bottle and the glass. Owner and sommelier Wellie Liao offers her services to assist patrons in finding the perfect wine for their palate or meal pairing. They regularly host fun events from Wine Down Wednesday to a bright pink Barbie party. Guests can order food from the Obscure menu, Agape Agora, or on the weekends from their secret ghost kitchen, A Little Duck Fat. Sip, sip, hooray!

2nd: Grape Expectations

3rd: Arabellas Ristorante


BEST COFFEE SHOP

HAVEN COFFEE ROASTERS

140 3rd St SW, Winter Haven

(863) 251-9619

FB @HavenCoffeeRoaster

IG @thehavencoffeeroasters

Best coffee shop three years running! Best Of Haven voters must love this coffee shop, a latte! This family-operated, faith-based coffeehouse regularly hosts live music on the weekends and drink specials every month. The cozy atmosphere, friendly baristas, and darn good coffee have earned Winter Haven’s only coffee roaster a spot in the community’s heart (and their morning routine).

2nd: Richard’s Fine Coffees

3rd: Honeycomb Bread Bakers


BEST BEER LIST

GROVE ROOTS BREWING CO

302 3rd St SW, Winter Haven

(863) 291-0700

FB @groverootsbrewing

IG @groverootsbrewing

Beauty may be in the eye of the beer holder, but winners are in the hands of Best Of Haven voters. Grove Roots has been a Beer List darling year after year. The brewery has an extensive selection of tasty beers (Tropical Dilemma is this year’s Best Beer). Along with their flagship beers – Slanted Ladders, Wakes of Grain, Rind & Shine, and 6AM Pickers – the Toast Brown Ale won gold at the Best Florida Beer Competition this year. The Grove Roots team is constantly concocting a selection of seasonal and special-release brews. Their spacious Tasting Room offers ample seating along with their outdoor picnic tables, and upscale lawn furniture. Enjoy weekly live music and food truck offerings. Cheers!

2nd: Union Taproom

3rd: Crave & Copper


BEST POLK COUNTY BEER

TROPICAL DILEMMA

GROVE ROOTS BREWING CO.

302 3rd St SW, Winter Haven

(863) 291-0700

FB @groverootsbrewing

IG @groverootsbrewing

Number one on the Grove Roots sign board, this sour beer has a 4.4% ABV. Tropical Dilemma has notes of strawberry with the crisp, refreshing taste of a sour. When the temperatures climb north of 90 (which seems to be every day in the Sunshine State), try this ice-cold refresher. Tropical Dilemma won bronze at the Best Florida Beer Competition in March. One Untappd user said Tropical Dilemma gave them strawberry shortcake vibes.

2nd: Rind & Shine | Grove Roots Brewing Co

3rd: Beach Me Up | The Florida Brewery


BEST U-PICK FARM

WHITEHEAD’S BLUEBERRY FARM

1024 Macon Rd, Winter Haven

(863) 860-4575

FB @whiteheadsblueberryfarm

IG @whiteheadfarm

Whitehead’s is yet again the berry best U-Pick farm! What started as a plant nursery in 1979 became a blueberry farm in 2000. Next blueberry season (which typically runs from the first Wednesday in April through mid-May), grab your friends and a few baskets for a day of blueberry picking at Whitehead’s Blueberry Farm. This 33-acre family-owned farm boasts over 30,000 blueberry plants across 15 acres. On Saturdays and Sundays, they offer wagon rides to reach all areas of the farm. “Please bring your family and friends and join us for a fun-packed day on the farm. From grandparents to toddlers, we will have something for everyone. [...] We love to see blue smiles leaving the field.”

2nd: Ridge Island Groves

3rd: Late Bloom Blueberry Farm


BEST NEW RESTAURANT

AGAPE AGORA

254 W Central Ave, Winter Haven

(863) 370-7037

FB: Agápe Agorá

IG @agapeagora

There’s something magical about an open kitchen serving fresh, hearty food. Since opening, Agape Agora has earned a spot in the hearts (and bellies) of the community. This minority, women-owned trattoria and marketplace is “hyper-focused on intentional selections from local organic producers, like-minded small business owners, and holding space for those who seek healing through shared community, culture, and culinary arts.” Not only can you indulge in tasty meals from salads and soups to sandwiches and pastries, the marketplace offers unique foodie sundries. An office favorite is the muffuletta with Havarti, spicy capicola, salami, pepperoni, Giardiniera, and olive tapenade. Check their socials for special events and catering info.

2nd: SoCe Market

3rd: Chilly Masala Indian Cuisine


BEST CATERING COMPANY

BLACKBURN’S BBQ

169 5th St, Eagle Lake

(863) 287-9975

FB @BlackburnsBBQ

IG @blackburnsbbq

Need some oak-smoked fall-off-the-bone BBQ for your next event? Not only are they the best in the southern food game, taking home Best BBQ Restaurant, but they also offer guests the Best Service. Combine delicious BBQ and standout service, and you have a match made in catering heaven. One guest raved in part, “Literally the best bbq place in Polk County hands down. I have been following them since they were just a food truck and saw this beautiful business blossom into one of the best restaurants in the county.”

2nd: The Catering Company of Central Florida

3rd: Catering Oasis


BEST VEGAN FOOD

VEGAN MONARCH BAKERY & CAFÉ

371 Ave D NW, Winter Haven

(863) 734-9148

FB: Vegan Monarch Bakery & Café

IG @veganmonarchbakery

Vegan Monarch Bakery & Cafe, formerly Victor and Mika’s Bakery, takes the (vegan) cake again this year! The bakery and cafe are well-loved for their delicious, high-quality, plant-based, vegan, and gluten-free foods. They offer hearty, savory options, including gluten-free lasagna, chik’n and waffles, “Better Than Meatloaf,” as well as baked treats. According to Vegan Monarch Bakery & Cafe, “We pride ourselves on specifically addressing the needs of those who are still sometimes overlooked: people with food intolerances such as dairy, eggs, gluten, and soy, those seeking healthy food alternatives, and also those with allergies who end up missing out on the tasty treats that their peers can enjoy.”

2nd: Agape Agora

3rd: Chilly Masala Indian Cuisine


BEST BAKERY

HONEYCOMB BREAD BAKERS

140 6th St SW, Winter Haven

(863) 662-5513

FB @honeycombbread

IG @honeycombbread

Honeycomb won again?! You bread-er believe it. We hear they buttered up the voters. Benjamin Vickers “first lit the hearth” in February 2018 and opened his Winter Haven storefront two years ago (I remember it like it was yeast-erday) in a renovated 1960s gas station. Honeycomb has become a choice breakfast and lunch destination offering a selection of coffee and tea and sought-after sustenance like truffle fries, baked brie and apple butter, bagels and schmear, salads, and sandwiches on their freshly baked bread. Grab a loaf of sourdough to go!

2nd: Gourmet Goodies Bake Shop

3rd: Publix Bakery


BEST HIDDEN GEM

NUTWOOD

132 Ave B SW, Winter Haven

(863) 229-7770

FB: Nutwood

IG @nutwoodwh

This tucked-away restaurant offers fine dining fare in a tranquil space – truly a hidden gem. From the charming, brick-lined outdoor patio shaded by a sprawling oak tree and hemmed with lush greenery to the straightforward, sophisticated indoor dining rooms, it’s an apt atmosphere for an exceptional meal. Since opening in 2017, foodies have traveled across the Sunshine State to indulge in cuisine prepared by Nutwood’s Michelin Star Chef Steven Rojas. Trend magazine even awarded this Winter Haven hidden gem the Golden Spoon Award.

2nd: Agape Agora

3rd: The Apple Lounge & Grill

Editor’s Pick: A Little Duck Fat ghost kitchen, weekend evenings at Obscure


BEST SERVICE

BLACKBURN’S BBQ

169 5th St, Eagle Lake

(863) 287-9975

FB @BlackburnsBBQ

IG @blackburnsbbq

Customers crave Blackburn’s finger-licking fare, from the BBQ to the banana pudding. But it’s their standout service they’re raving about now. One customer wrote, “Had a fabulous dinner tonight. Outstanding service, Michelle was our server and she was super friendly and focused on making sure we had everything we wanted. Every staff member we encountered was friendly and wanted to make sure we were happy. Great value. Definitely recommending it to friends and family.” Another happy (and full) patron said, “[...] The staff is all awesome. Brandon, the owner, stops by every table every night. Great food, great staff and great prices. It’s a win win.”

2nd: (tie) Honeycomb Bread Bakers

2nd: (tie) Lucille’s American Cafe

3rd: Arabellas Ristorante


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