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  • Tara Crutchfield

The Back Porch Restaurant

Drew Wales has a photo circa 1970s of him and his brother Justin selling peanuts for five cents a bag. Before 1985, five-cent peanuts were all the sustenance one could get visiting The Barn. And let’s be honest, shopping can work up quite the appetite. 

“People were coming from all over, and Dad figured they needed a place to eat,” Drew said. So, Tom and Jan opened the Back Porch Restaurant with a picnic lunch theme, harkening to the ranch’s Lazy W roots. The perfect accompaniment to all of the shopping offered at the Barn and gift shops, folks travel to Lake Alfred just for lunch at the Back Porch. 

The Back Porch offers indoor seating with tables painted by Jan, each with a different flower – birds-foot trefoil, saffron crocus, juniper, honeysuckle. Outside is a spacious tree-shaded deck overlooking a small pond with plenty of seating. They offer two separate indoor dining spaces for private events like bridal and baby showers. 

Most people opt for their picnic-style lunch with soup, salad, a sandwich, and dessert. Sandwiches include classics like ham and Swiss, chicken salad, breast of turkey, and even a vegan garden burger. In addition to the house salad and side salad of the day, a guest favorite is the porch swing salad where diners can choose their style and ingredients and select a soup and dessert. 

Opt for the Back Porch lemonade or frozen peach bellini to cool off during the summer months or enjoy wine and beer on tap. They have local Grove Roots Brewing Co. beer and Wine Stream on tap as well as wines imported from Italy. 

We sat at the honeysuckle table and enjoyed a chicken salad croissant with refreshing spiced raspberry tea, followed by ‘The Back Porch Favorite’ made with strawberries, custard, cake, and whipped cream. We filled out the menu with our table number and checked the boxes of each item we wanted. It arrived in adorably packed picnic baskets with each item neatly tucked in. The picnic baskets add an extra touch to an already exceptional dining experience. 

The meal was filling but light, and the atmosphere was eclectic and joyful. Everything felt fresh with generous portions that weren’t too much. “It’s the mom-and-pop part that we like the best, and I think our customers appreciate that too,” said Adrianna Wales. Drew added, “We have great customers – it’s a happy place.”


Photography by Amy Sexson

The Back Porch Restaurant 
115 Co Rd 557A, Lake Alfred
(863) 956-2227


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