Recently, I received an e-mail from a colleague at Ocala Style, Kim Gaucher-Vogt, about a restaurant I’ve passed many times on my way to Inverness. Red’s Restaurant is just over the Withlacoochee River on SR200, on the left as you’re heading west. Kim raved about how great the food and service was. “I had the best Eggs Benedict that I have ever had, and I’ve had quite a few,” she wrote. She also said her breakfast came with a side of freshly cut fruit.
Although I mostly write about Marion County restaurants, this one—less than a mile from our border in Citrus County—is worth the drive.
During my visit, I had the seasoned grilled sirloin with real mashed potatoes and gravy. The side of carrots tasted like it shared the same steak seasoning and was delicious, not your boring baby carrots thrown on a plate for color. My guest had the classic French dip and could only eat half, due to its size. Both our lunches came with two sides. Several times we saw sky-high hamburgers pass our table and vowed to try them next time.
The chef is Anthony Hollister, who came from The Villages. Owner Shane Williamson, who doesn’t look old enough to have five kids let alone run this restaurant, is quite happy with Anthony and leaves the daily specials and desserts to his discretion.
Seated nearby, Kevin, Cynthia, and Lane from radio station WKZN said they love Red’s and eat lunch there often because of the quality of the food and the value.
Red’s is open for breakfast and lunch and offers several comfort-style dishes under $8, such as pot roast and pork chops. Call (352) 344-4322.
Mango’s in downtown Ocala has opened a second restaurant, Mango’s Country, out toward Williston, two miles west of Fellowship on Hwy. 27. Owners Juan and Pilar Bohorquez could not be happier with their decision to expand. A show jumper since childhood, Pilar is thrilled to combine two of her favorite things—running a restaurant and mingling with people in the equine industry.
“I can‘t wait for HITS to start next year,” she says about the annual show jumping extravaganza for Horse Shows in the Sun.
The newer location is serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and offers the same menu as downtown with additional evening fare including pork chops with sugar apples, shrimp mojo, filet mignon, and more. Lighter favorites are also served such as fried fish, burgers, and fries. The restaurant is open every day from 7am to 9pm.
The couple is operating both restaurants daily with Juan overseeing Mango’s Country, making sure that the recipes are prepared the same as in the downtown location. Live entertainment is also on the menu. For a schedule, call (352) 840-0000.
Nibbles: Biggby Coffee (aka Beaner’s) has closed on SW 19th Avenue. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s on 200 has closed. Phil and Nancy Hyde who founded The Kettle ‘N The Kernel decided to spend more time with their grandkids and has sold the business to Dawn Crown and Deborah Vidican. Dawn, a one-time owner of CiCi’s Pizza, is a business broker with Transworld Business Brokers, and although she had several restaurant listings coming her way, she couldn’t resist such a “sweet” deal.
This Thanksgiving, if you want to leave the dishes to someone else, check out local restaurants but call early as reservations are almost a must. Some that come to mind are Bentley’s in Dunnellon, Felix’s, Romeo’s Restaurant in Juliette Falls in Dunnellon, Carmichael’s, Murphy’s Oyster Bar, Arthur’s Restaurant in the Hilton, Blackwater Inn in Astor, Bob Evans, Golden Corral, Moreno’s Uptown Grill, and Candler Hills. Check listings or online for phone numbers.
What new restaurant would you like to see come to Ocala? E-mail your response to
firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put the results in future issues.