Where to Stop and Eat While On the Road to Orlando
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If you live in South Florida, it’s not uncommon to take a weekend getaway to Orlando. Most of the folks I know hit up the theme parks, but we like to visit restaurants, diners, drive-ins, and butcher shops along the way.

Normally, I’m asked about where to eat in South Florida (mostly Miami) and Central Florida (mostly Orlando), but what about roadfood stops along the way? And I’m not talking about the turnpike stops!

I prefer to mention some little gems along your trip that you should check out. Some are located right off I-95 or not too far from the Florida Turnpike.

Some aren’t, but you should have guessed that. The good things in life don’t come easy, and these ten spots ARE some of the good things in life.

Go forth and eat. Now, you’ve got more things to look forward to on your trip!

Miami and Orlando Map

Cindy Lou’s Cookies

Miami, Florida

Cindy Lou's Cookies' Brownie
Brownie from Cindy Lou’s Cookies

I’m telling you to stop in at Cindy Lou’s Cookies for a brownie?!?!? The short answer is yes.

Cindy Lou’s brownie has no equal and is the lovechild of a phenomenal chocolatey brownie and a Nestle Crunch bar. You absolutely must try one but that doesn’t mean I’m telling you to skip on the cookies, cause I’m not.

Start your journey with a classic chocolate chip and work your way to the Cinnamon Toast Crunch, you can thank me later.

Cindy Lou’s Cookies
7320 NE 2nd Avenue
Miami, Florida

Sonny’s Famous Steak Hoagies

Hollywood, Florida

Since 1958, Sonny’s Famous Steak Hogies has been a comfort food staple in Hollywood, Florida. Since the word got out, folks from all over South Florida have made the pilgrimage to eat one of their legendary hogies with steak & onions on a fresh-baked roll.

For your first visit, you need a #90 Steak Hogie, Plain with Fried Onions, and add American Cheese. From there, you can work yourself up to the #50, which adds red sauce to the equation, don’t knock it until you try it.

Once you’re well-acquainted with their steak universe, then you can tackle the meatball hogie and cheeseburger hogie. Those are for experts only.

Sonny’s Famous Steak Hogies
1857 N 66th Avenue
Hollywood, Florida

El Jefe Luchador

Deerfield Beach, Florida

El Jefe Luchador Birria Quesadilla with Consomé
El Jefe Luchador Birria Quesadilla with Consomé

If you catch me in Deerfield Beach it’s for one of two restaurants, Charm City Burger Company or its sibling El Jefe Luchador. El Jefe is Mexican street food with a Lucha Libre theme running throughout.

They got me on both counts since I love Mexican food and wrestling. The Birria Quesadilla is just freakin’ unreal, you won’t want to share it but you probably should.

Otherwise, you’ll be so stuffed that you won’t be able to partake in the Chicharrachos (chicharron nachos) and or even El Don Hamburgueso Taco (cheeseburger taco). And washing everything down with a Mexican Coke is a must!

El Jefe Luchador
27 S Federal Hwy
Deerfield Beach, Florida

Mrs. Smokeys Real Pit Bar-B-Q

Jupiter, Florida

My friend is not really known for having the best palate so when he raved on and on about Mrs. Smokeys, my interests were piqued. I thought he’s really onto something, or it’s another one of his overhyped misses.

It was my lucky day cause Mrs. Smokeys Real Pit Bar-B-Q hit the bullseye. The Chili Mac is just right on point and highly addictive.

While the brisket, pork, or chicken don’t need any sauce, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t at least try it. The spicy bbq sauce, in particular, is memorable. There is old-fashioned lemonade and root beer floats which will cap off your epic meal perfectly.

Mrs. Smokeys Real Pit Bar-B-Q
5430 Military Trail
Jupiter, Florida

Rhum Shak

Lake Worth, Florida

Rhum Shak Burger
Rhum Shak’s Big Ass 12oz Black Angus Burger with Cheese

No one ever told me, you need to hit up Rhum Shak. It was while I was on the Heineken Light Burger Beast Challenge that I ate their mastodon of a burger.

Marcela and I always begin the meal with a couple of appetizers (baked chicken wings & stuffed potato skins), both were great. However, we overlooked that the burger (cooked to your temp liking) was a hefty twelves ounces.

That slab o’ beef was also seasoned perfectly but your boy struggled to eat it. Luckily, once I got my second wind, it was polished off. Highly recommended.

Rhum Shak
802 Lake Avenue
Lake Worth, Florida

Culver’s

Culver's Sourdough Melt
Culver’s Sourdough Melt

I am freakin’ obsessed with Culver’s. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never see them in my hometown of Miami. Whenever they’re in a town I’m driving through; I make sure to stop.

The patties are thin, so a double BurgerBurger is a good starting point. Their Wisconsin Cheese Curds are the ideal side dish for your burgers. However, the crinkle-cut fries are pretty nice too.

There’s a solid chicken sandwich on the menu, but for me, the Sourdough Melt tops anything else you can order at Culver’s. If you somehow manage to leave some space for dessert, a Concrete Mixer is the only sensible thing to have.

Culver’s
10770 SW Tradition Parkway
Port St. Lucie, Florida

Hen House Eatery

Sebastian, Florida

Hen House Eatery Monte Cristo
Hen House Eatery Montecristo pic courtesy of Thomas Miller

Since I’m not sure exactly what time you’ll be making the trek between Miami and Orlando or vice versa, here’s a breakfast spot for you early birds. Hen House Eatery is open every day from 6:30 AM – 1:30 PM which does leave some time for you late risers.

This is a breakfast spot through and through with classics like omelets, waffles, pancakes, benedicts, and even crepes. The lunch menu is available all day so we’re pastrami sandwiches and Reubens, Chicken Sandwiches, Big Barnyard Burgers, and my fave, the patty melt.

Hen House Eatery
11632 US-1
Sebastian, Florida

The Burger Inn

Melbourne, Florida

Chili Dog from Burger Inn in Melbourne, Florida
The Burger Inn Chili Dog

First thing is first; you need to pull in, park, and turn on your headlights. This simple gesture will alert the carhop that you’d like to dine in your vehicle.

You might be motivated to order the burger but listen to me, please. The burger at the Burger Inn is solid, but the chili dog is where it’s at.

Now, don’t be putting any of that neon nacho cheese on your dog and messing it up. Listen to me; you only need chili, onions, and mustard. That’s it!

The Burger Inn
1819 N Harbor City Boulevard
Melbourne, Florida

Mutt’s on 13th

St. Cloud, Florida

Mutt's Double Cheeseburger
Mutt’s on 13th Double Cheeseburger

Marcela was checking out some antique shops in the St. Cloud area, which means I’m probably driving around for a lunch spot with character. Enter Mutt’s on 13th.

Mutt’s was a former gas station. I’ve hit them up a few times over the years and have found that the double cheeseburger is ultimately better than the single.

Mutt’s always gets a nice crust on the burger patties, which I discovered on my usual inspection of my burger sandwich. One last thing, there’s a mean Patty Melt on their menu which will leave you with a smile on your face.

Mutt’s on 13th
1517 13th Street
St. Cloud, Florida

Hinckley’s Fancy Meats

Orlando, Florida

Matt Hinckley is an Orlando native. I was familiar with him during his time in the kitchen at Michael’s Genuine in the Miami Design District.

Hinckley’s Fancy Meats has a stand at the East End Market. I try to avoid visits to food halls at all costs but this is one case where I must break my own rules.

The sandwiches here are second to none. The protein selection for sammiches includes elk for bologna and meatballs and duck liver pate for a Bánh Mì.

The fella has skills so when you see the French Dip (local grass-fed beef, sweet Vidalia onions, & Gruyere cheese on a French baguette) on the menu, snap that puppy up!

Hinckley’s Fancy Meats
3201 Corrine Drive
Orlando, Florida

3 Comments

  1. The next time you’re road tripping thru Lake Worth Beach stop in at L-Dub Subs, we’re the new kids in LWB (located at 16 S. J Street, down from Rhum Shak). We’d love to make you a Hot Mess!

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