Lakeland, Florida Dining Out / Takeout Restaurant Dining Guide & Directory with Online Ordering,  Online Menus, Coupons & Curb Side Carry Out Orders for Fine Dining   

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Favorite Local Restaurants that have Said "Good-Bye"
from your most up-to-date local restaurant guide on the web!

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You may have Loved them or Hated them.... but these local restaurants BELOW
are all
Gone for Good...  do you believe this long list? 

Into Nostalgia?    Remember these OLD TRIED & TRUE FAVORITES?

Recently Departed from the local Restaurant Scene...

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Good Buddies BBQ. in downtown Lakeland Is the Latest Restaurant to close.
(last day July 3rd '10) This is Sad as they had VERY GOOD BBQ at
reasonable prices. The Good News is they did NOT go out of business but moved their location to the auto auction cafeteria northeast of town and will continue to do catering and school lunches as well as compete in Pro BBQ Contests. We wish Joel Vann & family the best! Don't forget Good Buddies when you need catering & want some delicious BBQ.   The Ledger story

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Golden Corral Buffet
- On South Florida Ave, Lakeland. This location was a franchise store and had been there for a long, long time. It got good reviews from the Ledger and the parking lot always looked full at diner time. The Ledger reported they closed due to an apparent lease dispute. The Ledger article

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Harvest Buffet -  You probably don't remember this place as it lasted only something like three months before closing. (Previously the China Pearl - see below). This one is no surprise to me. A friend & I tried it not long after it opened. Outside of a new staff who couldn't speak any English... 90% of all the food was totally inedible. My friend said "Gee I hope I don't get sick" and any remaining appetite I had was long gone! I've had food poisoning and it's no fun. Really it was that bad. My guess would be the Health Dept shut them down.

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China Pearl Mongolian Buffet -
Sad to see the old main stays go. This is another restaurant that had a long run, something like 25 years or more on south/south Florida Ave. They featured a Mongolian buffet & regular Chinese take-out. They were Nice People too. The restaurant had been up for sale for several years and I guess it finally sold. The new owners changed the name
to Harvest Buffet... Duh? After years with a fine reputation & loyal clientele?
Why change the name?




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La Esquina Mexican -
This newer Mexican fair on Main Street has closed
after about about six months. Their menu did nothing for me and I'm not too surprised. Guess the rest of the Bartow main stream didn't think so either.

Italian Market - Bartow - This concept was flawed from the get-go. The only offerings were 8 Panini sandwiches plus Italian Market products. So, compete head on with Publix?   Yeah right.  Gone in less then six months time.

Andy's Gyros & Subs - Opened at great expense & effort in remodeling the stand alone buiding in front of the Publix plaza on Van Fleet Dr. (even had a drive thru-pickup window!) Crusine had Italy, Greece & Cuban flavors plus salads, soups & subs. Interior was clean like a McDonalds. And they got a pretty decent rewiew from Trent Rowe at the Ledger. Even still.. they're Gone.



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havan Nights Cuban -
Havan Nights was a welcome addition to the Lake Wales ethnic dining scene in the old Dairy Queen location in 2008. But No More. They closed the doors for good and all equip was auctioned off.

Italian Market - Bartow - This concept was flawed from the get-go. The only offerings were 8 Panini sandwiches plus Italian Market products. So, compete head on with Publix?   Yeah right.  Gone in less then six months time.

Andy's Gyros & Subs - Opened at great expense & effort in remodeling the stand alone buiding in front of the Publix plaza on Van Fleet Dr. (even had a drive thru-pickup window!) Crusine had Italy, Greece & Cuban flavors plus salads, soups & subs. Interior was clean like a McDonalds. And they got a pretty decent rewiew from Trent Rowe at the Ledger. Even still.. they're Gone.

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Lakeland's Landmark Bothers Bar-B-Q has closed!
Owner and former football star Freddie Mitchell left for the West Coast and likely not to return. Now the fate of Brother's remains in a Polk County Court room in a dispute between Mitchel and former owner Mary Harris. If the Brothers Tradition will continue remains to be seen.

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Syd's New York Pizza - They
barely lasted a year and it's a mystery because they had some pretty good food AND offered delivery to Northside & Central Lakeland. For a time they even offered Online Ordering like the Big Pizza Chains. They even had cheap rent!  Guess times are tough out there!

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Christy's Sundown Restaurant, a Winter Haven ICON has closed.

End of an Era 1950's - 2009. This extremely popular restaurant founded
by 'Nick' & Ann Christy has been a Winter Haven "Institution" since the
early 50's. The Christy's retired and sold the business in 2007 to James
Bronkhorst who has reportedly closed "Christy's" due to the poor economy.
Rumors abound that Bronkhorst is selling the business to a member of
the "Fred's Southern Kitchen" family.  Stay tuned...
More history info on Christy's Restaurant by Winter Haven's Chamber
More info on the rumored sale & new owner - by the NewsChief

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Long standing Lakeland Icon: Wine & Roses Catering & Restaurant has
closed the doors.
  Wine & Roses was located on East Edgewood Drive.
Owner Diane Waters was unsuccessful in trying to sell the business for
the past several years and has decided to retire with her husband to the
south Gulf Coast of Florida. 

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Carters BBQ in Lakeland on S. Florida Ave & Alamo Dr. has CLOSED.

The Original Mulberry location remains open for business as usual. 

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The Crispers location in Bartow, Fl has CLOSED.
Due the slow economy says Publix that owns the 40 store chain. All other locations remain open for business as usual. 

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The Bedrock Cafe in Bartow, Fl   has CLOSED for good.
I'm sure many in Bartow will miss this place as they used to pack the house on Friday nights for Karaoke. The Original Lakeland Bedrock Cafe is still open but has moved from S. Florida Ave to U.S. 98 South (the Bartow Hwy) just north of Combee Rd. 

Happy Jack's

Happy Jack's BBQ on S. Bartow Hwy just north of Combee Rd is GONE!
This one truly disappoints me as I really liked their BBQ and stopped often for takeout (they had no inside dining). I preferred his BBQ flavor & sides and hey... the price was right!  He even got a decent mention in the Ledger's special BBQ review section. Oh well... Where to go for BBQ in S.E. Lakeland Now??

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A Mainstay on South Florida since the 70's...  Gone! 
This didn't come as a total shock to me as I never saw many cars parked there anymore. (not like the old days)  Truly loved their Eggs Benedict & Bloody Mary's though.

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Another mainstay on South Florida since the 70's...  Gone! 
What a shock this was. Had one of the BEST salads bars ever! Loved it.
And what a nice intimate atmosphere with all the small rooms. Oh Well...

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This Chain grew fast and then imploded into bankruptcy.
Lakeland's was located on U.S. 98 N. just south of Interstate I-4.
The building is being remodeled and will soon become a Morrison's Buffet
& Grill
restaurant. (not affiliated with Morrison's Cafeteria's).

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Long time Fazoli's Italian is gone -  
A fast food franchise specializing in Italian dishes that was located in the South Gate Publix Shopping Center.
So-so Italian with drive-though window convenience or dine-in like a Wendey's
Update: This location is now a Five Guys Burger & Fries

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The local Westshore franchise was sold and has become
PRIMOS II Italia. 
Primo's keeps up the Delivery tradition and the food is even better! 

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Winner's Circle is History  -  Had a long run at the South Florida Ave location ( formally The Shogun ll location ). Right toward the end there they relocated to the Dixie Land area but just couldn't seem to hang in there.
To bad too as they did have some pretty good wings. 

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Winter Haven - CLOSED
  and is out of Business

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Shell's Seafood Restaurants - Bankrupt & Closed
A Local Florida Chain that started in 1993 and grew to over 25 locations with  Polk County's only location in Winter Haven. 

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Auburndale location only has closed  -  

All the other Palace Pizza locations are still open.

Diner & Cafe

Gone! This was a nice little restaurant/diner on E. Edgewood Drive. Known for good 'home-style" cooking & reasonable prices.  They also did Catering. This location is being re-opened as: Cedar Creek - Seafood Restaurant by the same Captain of the old Cedar River Restaurant on south Florida Ave. 

School House

Gone! Didn't last a year. North US 98 - Big free standing building. Had big plans including entertainment. Never caught on. This location has been many restaurants. Who remembers the others?  

Yellow House

Same. Didn't last a year. This was a yellow 1920's style building with a front porch veranda and a quaint Tea Room / Classy Diningroom on one side plus a 1950's style lunch Diner on the other. Located off Bartow Hwy east of the light at Winter Lake Road. Out-of-the-way location and lack of advertising/exposure did them in. Too bad as they had really good 3 1/2 Star food!  Ledgers review

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Gone! San Seltzer's Steak House! Short lived run at the Old Hopps! location in front of the Lake Miriam Plaza. I dined at the Sarasota location several years age and is was superior but most people I talked to in lakeland didn't have have much good to say about this Lakeland location. Ultimately, their bankruptcy filing did in our local Lakeland location.    

And... Who Remembers These Old Favorites?

Long Gone...

Farmer Jones Red Barn Steak House? - 
Concrete floors & Formica top tables but porterhouse steaks you could cut with a fork!  Rumors swirled corporate CEO's used to fly their company jets into Linder Regional Airport
just to eat there. We Miss It. Opened in 1948! In 2006 a grill fire got out of
hand and the building burned. 
Ledger story about not re-building

Tony's Airside Restaurant? -   At the Linder Regional Airport. Only ate there couple times, but he had a good reputation for really great food with a view!

The Quail House Restaurant? - on N. U.S. 98 (now a Palace Italian Rest)

Cedar River Seafood? -
S. Florida Ave  (& Frog's before that?)

Pan-Ye's on Memorial? & after that the... Lemon Grass Thai Kitchen?

San Pam Restaurant??
Grove Park Shopping Center - Thelma Phoa owner.
A lakeland tradition for many many years - I spent a ton of time & $$ there...
This place and the staff we're truely "special". Friends for life & really miss it!

The Sawmill? - 
on south New Jersey - Andy Williams owner. Great place! Great food. Great atmosphere! Had a piano player every night in the bar by
the name of Steve Whidden. (he even cut a record). Back in those days, the Who's Who in Lakeland hung there. And if you knew Andy, (owner & 5 star Chef) you didn't need a menu... as He'd just whip up something unbelievable
for you as a surprise. What happened to those kind of places?  Mario's on Edgewood Dr is the closest that comes to mind... but no match for Sawmill.

EDELWEISS CAFE? - Grove Park Center. The Best German style cuisine restaurant lakeland's ever had. Great German atmosphere too! Had a huge
section of German beers, sold cheese and baskets in the front and used to
pack the house every Friday night for the all-u-can-eat Fish Fry special.
Where are the German cuisine restaurants in Polk County these days?

Hopps Bar & Griil? - at the Publix Lake Miriam Plaza. Spent a ton of time
& money there too! Made thier own beer there on premise (but it sucked in
my humble opinion!).This was the place to meet after the Sawmill closed. Great food. Great Staff. Great Atmosphere. Miss it and all the "regulars".

But, before Hopps in the same location it was...
The Brown Derby? - Restaurant/Bar/Lounge mediocre food but it was the "happening place" to meet & be seen.

And before that... in the same location was...
Garret's Picnic? - had a short stay but some of the best food i've ever had!
Some young bloods ran this place for a short while and who ever the chefs where - they were Masters 
But, the building/location was Originally & Best Known as the....
The Sea Wolf Restaurant? - Long stay, with a flamboyant owner! Gene Holloway. Impressive rustic interior with lots of antique furniture & artifacts, with walls done in rough sawn cedar & multiple private dining rooms. Who can remember the Sea Wolf platter with a half lobster tail with crab stuffing, shrimp, scallops, a fish fillet, hush puppies and a trip to the salad bar, all for $5.85?
I do!! But of course it was back in the 1970's
Read about Gene Holloway and his flamboyant history
and Going way back,   Who remembers...
Tavern on the Lake? & Raffles?  (which came first? can't remember) On South Florida Ave just north of Shepherd Rd. (the building is gone now) We used to love their Eggs Benedict with a Bloody Mary for Sunday Brunch.
Get a window seat with a view of the lake, both relaxing & delicious! Miss it!

And, I still have the
Raffles 'secret recipe' for their signature Zucchini Nut Muffins! Oh.. So... delicious! email if you want a copy & I'll send it to you

Talk of the Town?  Primarily a steak house. Long stay and was just East
of Lake Mirror on Main St. The building is now The Texas Cattle Company.

And for you really Lakeland old timers....
you know who you are...
The Foxfire Inn Bar & Lounge?  N. U.S. 98, just north of the Mall (which wasn't even there then) In the late '70's & early '80's this was THE PLACE
to go in Lakeland for both dining and entertainment. Owner Jim Neff is a
Lakeland Restaurateur Legend.  
Read the Ledger's story...

Who did we miss? Send us you comments, corrections or suggestions


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