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  • Tara Crutchfield

Chewz Wisely

A buzzsaw drowned out the tink, tink, tink of a hammer on a nail as we walked through a busy construction site with Winter Haven restauranter Dan Keebler. We passed a tap wall waiting for its finishing touches and a stack of tan cafeteria trays. Haven Magazine was granted a first look into the restaurant that has gums flapping across the county. The new soft food bistro, Chewz Wisely, is located in a strip mall a mile and a half south of LEGOLAND on Cypress Gardens Boulevard.


It’s taken Keebler over a year to solidify his soft food concept. “The idea came to me after having my wisdom teeth taken out. I was pumped full of meds and feeling silly. I asked my daughter, who drove me home from the appointment, to get me something to eat, but options were limited. I ended up caving and eating a whole stuffed crust pizza. We had to go right back to the oral surgeon. If a restaurant like Chewz Wisely would have existed, perhaps that situation could have been avoided.”


The wheels began to turn for Keebler. He thought of other reasons one might want a soft food smorgasbord. According to his market research of the area, “Look, a lot of our future customers are missing teeth for one reason or another – bar fight, teething, Mountain Dew, dentures – we don’t ask questions.”


Aside from that, Keebler says chewing is time-consuming, tedious, and exhausting. “If you think about it, it’s costly too. One hundred percent of cavities and other dentalrelated problems are caused by – you guessed it – chewing. Soft food equals better dental health. I’m just one man trying to save the world here. One gulp at a time.” After much research and consultation with several area dental professionals, we cannot confirm Keebler’s claims.


Keebler worked tirelessly to source the finest cafeteria-grade fare for his restaurant. He gave us a menu teaser to share with readers. Softy fans, be warned – you’re about to get hungry. Denture-friendly delicacies include applesauce, milk, goulash, chewy Life Savers, yogurt, ice cream, mashed potatoes, cream of wheat, mashed potato flavored ice cream, grits, Jell-O, mashed banana, pudding, gravy, Jello-O flavored gravy, gravy flavored Jell-O, and gruel.




Guests craving something more substantive without the hassle of biting and chewing and biting and chewing will enjoy the Baby Bird section of the menu. Steak, pasta, hard candy, ribs, burgers, and the like are all available prechewed. The community will perhaps be most excited about the self-serve mush on tap – an entire wall with 53 flavors of mush. All you can slurp!


“Things like color and texture are a barrier to flavor,” said Keebler. “I’ve worked tirelessly to ensure our menu is chockfull of soft, colorless options for the sophisticated Winter Havenite.”


The Chewz Wisely grand opening on April 1, 2022, promises to be quite the bash. They’ll be giving away prizes, have squirt guns filled with gruel for fun samples, and a wet t-shirt contest. Enter to win a $50 gift card to Chewz Wisely at april_foolz@havenmagazines.com.

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