Clermont, a suburb west of Orlando, has seen its share of growth over the years, but most has come since the new millennium when natural hills and orange groves have been bulldozed for cookie-cutter subdivisions. Thankfully, however, the historic downtown district has kept its charming character intact.
Just off of SR 50 lies brick streets and connected shops for perusing. Among them is The Palms of Clermont, a restaurant at 801 W. Montrose Street that was once Sunset Grill.
General Manager Tim Lindstedt hopes that with the likes of bigger chain restaurants popping up on the east side of SR 50, the locals will welcome his eatery as place for a homestyle meal, a game of pool or poker, karaoke, or a drink inside at the bar or outside on the large patio deck. The menu features basic dishes with some extra variety in the appetizers.
“Our chef has a great time thinking up items not featured on the menu,” says Lindstedt.
Those may include Caribbean Grouper Diablo, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Key West Coconut Shrimp, or Home Style Meatloaf.
The restaurant has plenty of seating and parking, plasma televisions, pool tables, a large, covered outdoor area, and a full bar. Call (352) 432-3988 for more information.
Also in Clermont—not new, but worth reminding you about—is The Honey Pot Restaurant on Hwy 27 inside The Bee’s RV Resort.
“It has gathered quite a following over the years, not only for our RV patrons, but for many locals,” says Manager Rick Marshall. “The menu has remained virtually unchanged, with all-you-can-eat chicken on Tuesdays and all-you-can-eat fish on Fridays.”
The price is only $8.50 on Tuesdays and $9.00 on Fridays, which includes tax and a drink. Ice cream is also included, but only during off season of December through April.
The owners, Gloria and Mike Crisante, are a kick and enjoy serving up their country-style cooking every week, including the chunkiest applesauce I’ve ever seen.
“We make it from our own apple trees out back,” says Gloria, with a wink. She really had me going—until she told me the fish were raised in the nearby pond, as well as the chickens.
The Honey Pot is nothing fancy. It’s cafeteria-style dining on actual cafeteria trays. Seems like people don’t mind, though, especially the diners depicted in the pictures on the wall. They form a line from the front door all the way around the building waiting to get inside for some good homestyle cooking. The Honey Pot’s motto? “If you leave hungry, we guarantee that it’s your own fault.” Call (352) 429-9595 for directions and more information.
Nibbles: Coming soon in is Bandy Rays Chopping Block at 117 West Main Street in Leesburg. Widely known as Woodies Chopping Block, the new owners are hoping to keep the old customers and entice more.
Their signature item will be stuffed burgers featuring almost any kind of cheese, including blue, cheddar, and provolone. Lunch will also include an all-you-can-eat soup and salad bar. Enjoy bottomless, all-you-can-eat French fries for only $2. Choose any of the 13 different sauces for the wings. Bandy Rays will have outdoor dining, a full bar, a banquet room, entertainment, plasma TVs, and sports nights, including the popular NFL Sunday Ticket.
Also, keep your calendar open for Taste of Tavares on November 12. I was honored when Shannon Pugh with the Tavares Chamber of Commerce asked me to judge this year—should be fun! More details to come.