top of page
  • Tara Crutchfield

Best of LKLD 2022 - Food & Drink



BEST PIZZA

PALACE PIZZA DOWNTOWN

114 S Kentucky Ave, Lakeland

(863) 688-0045

FB @palacepizzadowntown

IG @palacepizzadtwn

No matter which way you slice it, Palace Pizza is the best! This downtown pizzeria is on a roll taking the top pizza spot again this year. Palace Pizza brings over 25 years of experience to the table, fresh dough, quality tomatoes, and 100% whole milk mozzarella cheese. The Palace Pizza fam follows traditional recipes to give guests authentic Italian flavor. You can get pizza by the slice or by the pan with options like Neapolitan, Sicilian, and Supreme. Or, build your own! (They even have gluten-free pizza.)

2nd: J. Burns’ Pizza Shop

3rd: Il Forno Italian Restaurant


BEST BURGER

BURGER 21

1601 Town Center Dr, Lakeland

(863) 937-8002

FB @b21lakeland

IG @myburger21

Hey, nice buns! This Lakeside Village eatery does burgers best, according to Best Of LKLD voters. Burger 21 chefs hand-cut and hand-patty each burger in the kitchen for every order. Their juicy Angus beef is a fan favorite, with plenty of other options, like Chicken and Veggie burgers (which are free of hormones and antibiotics). Polish your burger off with a shake and fries! “Our goal is to create a neighborhood spot where friends, families, and coworkers can come together and eat delicious quality burgers. With more than 21 burger varieties featuring Chicken, Seafood, Veggie, and Beef, a Burger 21 burger is like nothing you’ve ever tasted.”

2nd: The Chop Shop

3rd: Five Guys


BEST TACOS

TAPATIO’S RESTAURANTE MEXICANO

734 E Memorial Blvd, Lakeland

(863) 686-6958

FB @Tapatios

6645 Florida Ave S, Lakeland

(863) 646-2199

FB @tapatiostiendasfl

IG @tapatios2

Tapatio’s is this year’s taco titan! “We always cook from scratch, using the freshest meats, produce, and ingredients, according to tradition and what our family has handed down through the generations,” says Tapatio’s. Best Of LKLD voters love their traditional tacos with options including al pastor, de carne asada, chorizo, and more! These top-tier tacos are served on a soft corn tortilla and garnished with onion and cilantro. Order them with chips and salsa – taco-bout the perfect meal!

2nd: Mega Mercado

3rd: Taco Bus


BEST WINGS

WINNERS CIRCLE SPORTSBAR AND GRILL

4215 Florida Ave S, Lakeland

(863) 644-9464

FB @winnerscirclelkld

IG @wcsportsbar

Winners Circle Sportsbar and Grill isn’t just wingin’ it when it comes to their tasty American-style bar food. Since 2002, this family-owned sports bar has offered up good drinks and good times with weekly events like trivia, poker, comedy night, bar bingo, and more. This repeat wing winner is a three-time “King of the Wing” Championship Title holder and has four Best Wings/Best Sports Bar honors. Winners Circle Championship Wings are available bone-in (breaded or naked) or boneless (grilled or fried) with over 45 flavors from mild to hot, sweet to tangy, and everything in between. Some of their unique wing flavors include Syracuse Hot, Coconut Lime, Sour Cream & Onion, PB&J, Cinnamon Chipotle, Smokehouse Maple, and many more!

2nd: TIE – Beef O’Brady’s Mojo Federal Swine & Spirits

3rd: Glory Days Grill


BEST CUBAN SANDWICH

ELENA’S CUBAN CAFE

2246 E Edgewood Dr, Lakeland

(863) 665-3333

FB: Elena’s Cuban Cafe

Elena’s Cuban Cafe has been serving their authentic Cuban food in Lakeland for over 18 years, and Best Of LKLD voters say their madeto-order, fresh-pressed Cuban sandwich can’t be beat! According to Elena’s “Once you have had our Cuban Sandwich, you won’t go anywhere else.” The Edgewood Drive eatery is committed to freshness, quality food, quick deliveries, and takeout. Elena’s will deliver up to five miles around their location, but pickups are welcome too! Part of one review reads, “Being Cuban and even living in the Tampa Bay area where you would think Cuban food would be easier to find I personally thought this was better than any Tampa Cuban food restaurant. Flavors in the food that I had were definitely more authentic and worth driving to.”

2nd: Ole’ Tampa Cubans

3rd: Divicious Deli & Coffee Shop


BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT

SCARPA’S ITALIAN

1833 E Edgewood Dr, Lakeland

(863) 937-8940

FB: Scarpa’s Italian

IG @scarpasitalian

Scarpa’s has been a Lakeland Italian food institution since it opened in December 2013. The restaurant is family-owned and operated by Glenn, former chef at Mario’s for twelve years, and Ashley Scarpa. Since opening, they’ve added housemade pasta to the menu and even had a visit from chef Emeril Lagassé for his show, Emeril’s Florida, in 2016. Scarpa’s award-winning Italian dishes are made fresh daily and prepared to order, so be sure to call ahead for a sought-after Scarpa’s table. Enjoy your Penne Bolognese or Veal Cannelloni with a glass or bottle of wine from their substantial wine menu.

2nd: Il Forno Italian Restaurant

3rd: Palace Pizza Downtown


BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT

CURRY MANGO

6625 Florida Ave S, Lakeland

(863) 940-2275

FB @mycurrymango

IG @mycurrymango

When it comes to Indian food in Lakeland, there’s naan better than Curry Mango. Indulge in authentic Indian flavors like Butter Chicken, Lamb Vindaloo, and Chicken Tikka Masala at this Best Of LKLD voter favorite restaurant. Patrons appreciate their bright, flavorful dishes, authenticity, and service. One Curry Mango convert wrote, “Excellent Indian restaurant in Lakeland. They have a nice variety of Indian dishes. Good selection of Indian beers and cocktails. A spacious dining area and friendly service. A very pleasant dining experience.”

2nd: Cafe Roti

3rd: MyIndiKitchen


BEST SUSHI RESTAURANT

NEW MOON SUSHI

4231 Florida Ave S, Lakeland

(863) 647-1212

FB @newmoonsushi

IG @newmoonsushi

New Moon Sushi has become a sushi ‘roll’ model for restaurants around Lakeland. Their vast selection of traditional Japanese dishes, sushi and sashimi rolls, ramen, tempura, teriyaki dishes, and more have guests singing their sushi praises. Wash your South Florida Roll down with a glass of hot sake, wine, or one of New Moon’s 20 signature cocktails. One sushi-satiated patron wrote in part, “New Moon Sushi is excellent. Every dish is pictureperfect and delicious. The service is friendly. Great atmosphere. I love that they have an assortment of beer and sake, some of which we recognize from our time in Okinawa. Eating here is a must as often as we can.”

2nd: Tsunami Sushi & Hibachi

3rd: TIE – Fancy Q Japanese Restaurant Gosh! Asian Bistro & Sushi


BEST BBQ RESTAURANT

MISSION BBQ

4014 Florida Ave S, Lakeland

(863) 225-8433

FB @missionbbqtheamericanway

IG @missionbbq

On a mission to find the best BBQ in Lakeland? Voters say MISSION BBQ accomplished! Meat your heart out with Texas-inspired, oak-smoked brisket, slow-smoked hand-pulled pork, or try a bit of everything with a sampler. Along with Smokehouse Signatures, sandwiches, and salads, enjoy made from scratch sides like Maggie’s Mac-N-Cheese, green beans with bacon, or baked beans with brisket. According to MISSION BBQ, “We believe there is nothing more American than BBQ. And nobody more American than the brave men and women who have sworn to protect and serve Our Communities and Our Country. We do what we do for the love of our soldiers, firefighters, police officers, first responders—all our loved ones in service.”

2nd: Mojo Federal Swine & Spirits

3rd: Jimbo’s Pit Bar B-Q


BEST DONUTS

HOLE IN ONE DONUTS

2076 E Edgewood Dr, Lakeland

Multiple Locations in Central Florida

(863) 665-8385

If there’s a hole in your heart only a jelly donut could fill, make a trip to Hole In One Donuts. Glazed, sprinkled, cream-filled, and powdered sugar goodness are par for the course at this Lakeland bake shop. Hole In One Donut devotees often rave about their freshness and friendly staff. One happy Hole In One customer wrote, “We frequent this doughnut shop just about every week. The apple fritters and glazed doughnuts are our favorites. The doughnuts are big, fresh, and a perfect consistency. They also have glazed croissants that are really good. Their breakfast sandwiches are good as well if you’re not looking for something sweet.” Sounds amazing. We’ll take fore!

2nd: Charlie’s Mini Donuts & Coffee

3rd: Krispy Kreme


BEST SUBMARINE SANDWICH

PUBLIX

FB @publix

IG @publix

We sub snobs just know that Publix does it best. Certainly, no beach trip is complete without a Pub Sub stop. And you’ve got ‘sub’stantial options, baby. How about a Boar’s Head Italian Sub, Publix Ultimate Sub, or Boar’s Head Cajun Turkey & Shrimp Poboy? The tried-and-true is the Chicken Tender Sub made with Publix Deli famous double hand-breaded chicken tenders. This sandwich has become a Sunshine State institution that people across the country crave!

2nd: Subs’ n Such

3rd: Jersey Mike’s Subs


BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT

TAPATIO’S RESTAURANTE MEXICANO

734 E Memorial Blvd, Lakeland

(863) 686-6958

FB @Tapatios

6645 Florida Ave S, Lakeland

(863) 646-2199

FB @tapatiostiendasfl

IG @tapatios2

Fresh meats, produce, and ingredients used to make authentic family recipes handed down through generations have earned Tapatio’s another top spot this year! This must-visit Lakeland Mexican restaurant has a sizeable menu offering everything from flautas, guac, and chips and salsa to burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, fajitas, and of course, Tapatio’s Best Of LKLD winning tacos. End your meal with churros and ice cream or a piece of toothsome tres leches cake. “I’ve been dreaming of this place since I first tried it in January on a short trip to Florida. Now that I’ve moved here, I hope to work my way through the entire menu. Great atmosphere, friendly and fast service, and great flavors. I had the Quesadilla Mexicana and my wife had the Jalisco Shrimp and a margarita. Everything was perfect,” reads a Tapatio’s five-star review.

2nd: Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant

3rd: Azteca D’ Oro Mexican Restaurant


BEST BREAKFAST

RESTAURANT FIRST WATCH

4620 Florida Ave S Suite 130, Lakeland

(863) 272-7929

4316 US Hwy 98 N #200, Lakeland

(863) 709-8833

FB @FirstWatch

IG @firstwatch

What’s shakin’ bacon? If you’re craving something to make a good morning even better, like French toast or a Morning Meditation fresh juice, First Watch is a must! How about hitting the Tri-Fecta (Two fresh cage-free eggs any style with either a light and airy Belgian waffle or a multigrain pancake. Plus your choice of bacon, chicken sausage patty, turkey, or pork sausage link) or treating yourself to something on the healthier side like a Sunrise Granola Bowl (Non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt layered with fresh, seasonal fruit and our housemade granola with almonds. Served with a freshly baked muffin of the day)? Try something on First Watch’s Egg-sclusive menu like a Smoked Salmon Benedict or Elevated Egg Sandwich, and wash it all down with a Million Dollar Bloody Mary!

2nd: Keke’s Breakfast Cafe

3rd: Fat Jacks Deli & Pub


BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

HARRY’S SEAFOOD BAR & GRILLE

101 N Kentucky Ave, Lakeland

(863) 686-2228

FB @harrys.seafood.lakeland

IG @hookedonharrys

“We’ve taken the best of Cajun, Creole, and Southern flavors and infused them with a modern twist to create some truly unique and awardwinning dishes.” Award-winning indeed! Best Of LKLD voters say Harry’s has the best seafood around (it is in their name, after all). You can’t go wrong with Southern seafood staples like Shrimp-N-Grits, Blackened Redfish, Harry’s Signature Crab Cakes, and Shrimp Po’Boys. One customer reviewed in part, “Phenomenal. I had the blackened Mahi Mahi with a cup of Gumbo. It was the best meal I had this year! The service was top notch and everything tasted fresh. I will be back whenever I’m in town.” Mmmmm, Oreo Beignets, anyone?

2nd: Shells Seafood

3rd: Fish City Grill


BEST THAI RESTAURANT

SPICE THAI & SUSHI

3895 Florida Ave S, Lakeland

(863) 709-8321

Put a little Spice into your life! Customers laud Spice Thai & Sushi for their fresh, authentic cuisine and generous portions. They offer a selection of Thai hot curries, and a variety of dishes like Pad Kee-Mao (Drunken Noodles) made with sauteed wide rice noodles, a choice of meat, bell pepper, scallions, onion, carrot, and basil leaves, and Goy See-Mee made with a sauteed choice of meat, ramen noodle, and mixed vegetables. Check out Spice Thai & Sushi’s daily lunch and drink specials!

2nd: Thai Oishi

3rd: Saigon Bistro


BEST MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT

CAFÉ ZUPPINA

4417 Florida Ave S, Lakeland

(863) 644-5144

FB @CafeZuppina

IG @cafezuppina cafezuppina.com For over a decade, Cafe Zuppina owners Berna and Erkan Nar have shared their Turkish culture with the Lakeland community through bright, healthy Mediterranean food. The dishes at Cafe Zuppina are made from scratch with fresh ingredients, which the owners shop locally for daily. Everything on the menu, from the Veggie Moussaka and the Aegean Salad to Zuppina’s Lamb Chops, is as visually stunning as they taste. In 2019, Cafe Zuppina opened The Market next door, which serves as a coffeehouse and a curated collection of international goods.

2nd: Louis Pappas Fresh Greek Lakeside

3rd: Mediterranean Fresh Grill


BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT

PEKING HOUSE

2411 Florida Ave S, Lakeland

(863) 688-9022

This award-winning Chinese restaurant is praised for its tasty cuisine made to order using fresh ingredients. Peking House offers an extensive menu with familiar dishes like sweet and sour chicken, lo mein, chop suey, and dumplings and house specials like spicy crispy shrimp and Mandarin seafood delight. End your meal with some tasty Chinese doughnuts! “It was nice to sit down at a restaurant and eat some delicious Chinese food. We had several dishes and enjoyed them all. This place has been there for many years, and I have always enjoyed eating there. There aren’t many restaurants like this that aren’t buffets or designed just for carryout. Good food, good service,” wrote one customer.

2nd: China Wok

3rd: Ling’s Buffet


BEST RESTAURANT FOR OYSTERS

FISH CITY GRILL

1485 Town Center Dr Suite D112, Lakeland

(863) 683-1243

FB @fishcitygrill

IG @fishcitygrill

Aw shucks, Fish City Grill – LKLD voters agree you’re the place to go for oysters. They’re a star of the show, even on the appetizer menu! Fish City Grill offers oyster nachos made with fried oysters, chipotle tartar sauce, and fresh pico de gallo, or guests can keep it classic with oysters on the half shell with a varying selection from Fresh Gulf Oysters and East Coast Oysters from small farms. For an entree, you can make it a Pick 2 or Pick 3 combo with beer battered cod, catfish, shrimp, and oysters. Yum!

2nd: Gary’s Oyster Bar & Seafood House

3rd: Crafty Crab


BEST ICE CREAM

MAYDAY ICE CREAM

640 E Main St, Lakeland (Inside The Joinery)

FB @maydayicecream

IG @maydayicecream

Mayday, mayday! It’s a Mint Monster-mergency! Cancel your plans immediately and head for a scoop of handcrafted ice cream. Based out of The Joinery, Mayday Ice Cream dishes out tasty cold treats topped with homemade sprinkles, served in homemade waffle cones. Their cones smell so good you might just cartoon float your way to their shop when you walk into the food hall. Enjoy it there or grab a pint to go of flavors like Blueberry Toast Crunch, Cloud 9, Parent Trap, Ice Box Lemon, Key Lime Pie, Coffee + Donuts, Gillespie’s Bourbon Pecan, and more.

2nd: Andy’s Frozen Custard

3rd: Bruster’s Ice Cream


BEST FOOD TRUCK

JIMMYS FAMOUS SEAFOOD EXPRESS

FB @Jimmysflexpress

Maybe you’ve had their steamed crab at Swan Brewing or their grouper sandwich at Grove Roots? You’ve definitely heard of them – they are famous, after all! According to Jimmy’s Famous Seafood Express, “We are a food truck bringing you the amazing tastes of Jimmy’s famous seafood from Baltimore to the streets of Florida!” Jimmy’s is well-known for fresh, delicious seafood bites on the go, like their award-winning Jumbo Lump Maryland Crab Cakes, The Crabby Patty (an 8 oz hamburger patty smothered in house crab dip and topped with fresh crab meat), and Kung Pao Shrimp Tacos (hand-breaded shrimp fried to perfection served with homemade coleslaw on flour tortillas). Swim over to their social media to see where they’ll be next!

2nd: Cuban B’s Burgers & Bakes

3rd: Got Desserts


BEST DINER

REECECLIFF FAMILY DINER

940 Florida Ave S, Lakeland

(863) 686-6661

IG @reececliff.diner

Serving American diner fare since 1934, Reececliff Family Diner is the longest-running restaurant in Lakeland. They pride themselves on consistency and a down-home atmosphere. The diner offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner Southern classics from their Ranchers Breakfast to Reececliff Honey Chicken. Guests rave about their food, portion sizes, atmosphere, and customer service. We’ve heard the pie, which has been “crafted by the same expert for more than 50 years,” is worth a visit alone!

2nd: Fat Jacks Deli & Pub

3rd: Cozy Oaks Restaurant


BEST FINE DINING

NINETEEN61

215 E Main St, Lakeland

(863) 688-1961

FB @nineteen61

IG @nineteen61_

“At Nineteen61, we position ourselves as a benchmark for Lakeland dining. A new standard that shows what is possible – what Lakeland diners should expect from their restaurants.” Nineteen61, opened in 2015 by Chef Marcos Fernandez, continues to be a Best Of LKLD voter darling. This posh downtown restaurant prides itself on authentic cuisine with menus that are “both authentic and modern in Latin culture,” fresh ingredients, and creative chefs. One five-star review reads in part, “Honestly, phenomenal! Yes the food is good, but the service and the experience is what truly makes it worth it!”

2nd: Scarpa’s Italian

3rd: The Terrace Grille


BEST PATIO DINING

PATIO850

850 S Tennessee Ave, Lakeland

(863) 940-2030

FB: Patio850

Dreamy Florida greenery and string lighting make up the perfect setting for a cozy meal downtown, rain or shine. Patio850 offers an intimate hideaway dining experience and an evolving menu of salads, spreads, sharing plates, sandwiches, and meals using high-quality seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. One review raves in part, “The ambiance is great. Very relaxing. Great music helps to create a festive atmosphere while enjoying their wonderfully prepared meals. The food is wholesome and comforting. The staff were very friendly and attentive.”

2nd: Red Door Lakeland

3rd: The Joinery


BEST BAR

REVIVAL

119 S Kentucky Ave, Lakeland

(863) 606-6090

FB: Revival

IG @revivallakeland

“You may have guessed that we’re quite passionate about our cocktails and the experience they leave you with. No gimmicks, no snazz, just the belief that a beverage program can challenge you to enjoy the marriage of some of Earth’s finest pleasures. Fine Spirits & Fine Company.” Year after year, voters show their love for Revival in the Best Bar and Best Cocktails categories. Innovative bespoke beverages and exceptional service in a speakeasy atmosphere – what’s not to love? An excerpt from one review reads, “Revival had an atmosphere that has been unmatched compared to the bars that I have been to in recent years. It was a hidden gem in downtown Lakeland that you felt at peace as soon as you walked in. Awesome art, unique decor, and incredible drinks.”

2nd: Swan Brewing

3rd: Molly McHugh’s Irish Pub


BEST COCKTAILS

REVIVAL

119 S Kentucky Ave, Lakeland

(863) 606-6090

FB: Revival

IG @revivallakeland

Revival raises the bar for cocktails in the Swan City. Their patrons can sip specialty cocktails, a full page of Old Fashioneds, seasonal offerings, beer, wine, Tiki drinks, Spritz, or any of the Revival Classics like a Faux-Spresso Martini, Hibiscus Paloma, Penicillin, or Trinidad Sour. “Our master mixologist, Jeannie, a detail-obsessed creative force, is constantly creating unique handmade cocktails that are unparalleled. Driven by passion, you can find her experimenting weekly with new spirits and ingredients, defining the Lakeland cocktail scene.”

2nd: Nineteen61

3rd: The Joinery


BEST WINE MENU

NINETEEN61

215 E Main St, Lakeland

(863) 688-1961

FB @nineteen61

IG @nineteen61_

What better place to relax with a glass of wine than Lakeland’s Best Fine Dining establishment? Nineteen61 prides itself on authentic cuisine, fresh ingredients, and creative chefs, but they should add ‘impressive wine menu’ to that list. Join Nineteen61 for Happy Hour, including $6 glasses of wine Monday - Saturday, 3-5 pm, and Sunday from 2:30-4 pm (drinks only).

2nd: Red Door Lakeland

3rd: Scarpa’s Italian


BEST COFFEE SHOP

BLACK & BREW COFFEE HOUSE & BISTRO

205 E Main St, Lakeland

(863) 682-1210

100 Lake Morton Dr, Lakeland

(863) 500-9500

FB @blackandbrew

IG @blackandbrew

Black & Brew is the perfect place to enjoy “community over locally roasted coffee and fresh fare.” Started in 2006 by brothers Chris and Michael McArthur, B&B’s downtown flagship location overlooks Munn Park with a second spot off Lake Morton at the Lakeland Public Library. They offer a menu of drinks, including traditional espresso beverages, coffee, tea, hot (or frozen) chocolate, frappes, featured wines and craft beer, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. One customer wrote of this repeat-winning coffee shop, “The food and drinks here were awesome! Place had good service and was decorated with some cool artwork to give it a nice vibe. I’d definitely go back!”

2nd: Hillcrest Coffee

3rd: Mitchell’s Coffee House


BEST BEER LIST

SWAN BREWING

115 W Pine St, Lakeland

(863) 703-0472 2972

Lakeland Highlands Rd, Lakeland

(863) 698-7250

FB @swanbrewingco

IG @swanbrewing

Best Of LKLD voters are singing Swan’s praises again this year! And with almost 40 years of combined brewing experience backing their beers, you know it’s good. Swan’s innovative brews pay homage to the community they love with names like Poke County Pils, Swans Aren’t Real Vol. 2, and of course, this year’s Best Polk County Beer winner – Straight Outta Lakeland. Enjoy cold craft beers made with only the finest (locally sourced when possible) ingredients in a family and pet-friendly atmosphere. Craft beer connoisseurs appreciate Swan’s variety of 30 taps, including two dedicated Nitro lines.

2nd: The Brass Top

3rd: Cob & Pen


BEST POLK COUNTY BEER

STRAIGHT OUTTA LAKELAND, IPA - AMERICAN | SWAN BREWING

115 W Pine St, Lakeland

(863) 703-0472 2972

Lakeland Highlands Rd, Lakeland

(863) 698-7250

FB @swanbrewingco

IG @swanbrewing

Dan is his name and the boy is comin...Straight Outta Lakeland! Number one on the Swan beer menu and in the hearts of every Lakelander, Straight Outta Lakeland is an ode to the city IPA with 7% ABV and 55 IBU. Swan Brewing says this signature beer is “Exactly what you would expect in a West Coast Style IPA - Crisp, clean with a subtle bite!”

2nd: Poke County Pils – Pilsner - German Swan Brewing

3rd: The Bean – Coconut and Coffee Blonde Swan Brewing


BEST U-PICK FARM

FANCY FARMS MARKET

5204 Drane Field Rd, Lakeland

(813) 478-3486

FB @fancyfarmsinc

IG @fancyfarmsmarket

“Once you have a taste of our berries – you’ll see just how fancy they are!” This family-owned strawberry farm and market operates seasonally from December to June on nearly 125 acres. Fancy Farms offers local produce, fresh flowers (mid-May through the end of June), and seasonal desserts like Strawberry Shortcake; Strawberry, Peach and Blackberry Cobbler; Hand-Spun Strawberry, Blueberry, and Peach Milkshakes; Strawberry Blueberry, and Peach Lemonade, and more!

2nd: Oponay Farms

3rd: Keel Farms


BEST NEW RESTAURANT

GASKINS BARBECUE AND LOBSTER

1614 Town Center Dr, Lakeland

(863) 816-5644

FB @Gaskinsbarbecue

IG @gaskinsbarbecue

Lakeland is loving Gaskins Barbecue and Lobster! As the name implies, Gaskins prides themselves on doing two things really well – barbecue and lobster. Their lobster rolls are stuffed to the gills with North Atlantic lobster sourced from the finest lobstermen in the US and Canada. Out of Gaskins’ Smokehouse comes on-site 16-hour oak wood slow smoked meats. One customer wrote of this year’s Best New Restaurant, “We had a great meal at Gaskins BBQ! The food came out fast, hot, and tasted great! The service was fast and kind as well! We will be back. The Mac and cheese is worth it!”

2nd: Biscuits and Benedicts

3rd: Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux


BEST CATERING COMPANY

TERRIE LOBB CATERING

1239 E Main Street, Bartow

(863) 533-6483

FB: Terrie Lobb Catering, Inc.

IG @terrielobbcatering

Terrie Lobb is synonymous with premier catering in Lakeland and the surrounding areas. They have menus for every occasion, including breakfast, hors d’oeuvres, cold lunch, hot lunch, dinner, wedding, and corporate lunch specials. After attending The American Culinary Academy, Terrie Lobb opened the Bartow-based cafe, The Docket. She catered on the side and found it suited her culinary and hospitality abilities. In 2000, she started Catering by Chef Terrie Lobb out of her home, preparing, delivering, and serving each dish herself. Over twenty years later, Terrie Lobb Catering, Inc. employs a kitchen staff with full-time chefs and professional servers to create a tailored client experience that exceeds expectations.

2nd: Gaskins Barbecue and Lobster

3rd: Essential Catering Solutions


BEST ROMANTIC RESTAURANT

NINETEEN61

215 E Main St, Lakeland

(863) 688-1961

FB @nineteen61

IG @nineteen61_

How about a downtown date night? Nineteen61 is a voter favorite in the Fine Dining and Wine List category, too, making it the ideal spot to enjoy thoughtful cuisine and a glass of wine. The upscale ambiance at this Main Street mainstay is perfect for a first date or anniversary celebration. In a review also lauding the food, staff, and expeditious service, one patron wrote in part, “When I made the reservation, I mentioned it was our anniversary, and they even customized our menu with an anniversary greeting. We were floored when we also got a card signed by all of the staff. Wow! Amazing restaurant.”

2nd: Scarpa’s Italian

3rd: Bay Street Bistro


BEST VEGAN FOOD

THE JUICE BOX

4295 Florida Ave S, Lakeland

(863) 225-5961

FB: The Juice Box

IG @thejuiceboxlakeland

The Juice Box aims “to share our passion of fresh juice and healthy food with a community starving for it.” Their concept of hearty, delicious health food and juices also provides options for those with alternative dietary needs and preferences. Their menu boasts a healthy mix of bowls, Beyond burgers, salads, smoothies, juices, sandwiches, wraps, and more. We hear the Buffalo Springfield Chickpea Salad with organic chickpeas, creamy housemade vegan buffalo sauce, celery, and green onion is super tasty!

2nd: Vegetation Plant Food

3rd: Café Zuppina


BEST BAKERY

BORN & BREAD BAKEHOUSE

1113 Florida Ave S, Lakeland

(863) 450-4513

FB @bornandbreadbakehouse

IG @bornandbreadfl

Wednesdays and Saturdays wouldn’t be worth it without a stop at Born & Bread! Resident baking badass and cruffin queen, B+B owner Jenn Smurr built and grew a Saturday morning foodie following that craves her fresh bread, cookies, pastries, breakfast sammies, and other handcrafted treats. On Wednesdays, Born & Bread is a hub for hungry patrons seeking bread, pastries, breakfast, and lunch. We recommend, well, everything… but to be more specific, you haven’t lived until you’ve had a B+B baked beef pot pie (which you can order hot or get a take + bake) or their Benton’s BLT finished with a scallion cream cheese, crisp butter lettuce, and fresh tomatoes.

2nd: La Imperial Bakery

3rd: Publix

Comments


bottom of page