LAL Guides    Food + Drink

12 guiltless meals under the radar

Photo by Carly C.

This list has been updated as of 5/26/20. 

Nearly every week, give or take, I will hear someone say, “I wish we had a…”  Fresh Kitchen, by Chloe, Joe & the Juice, CAVA, Sweetgreen, etc. You can just about fill in the blank with any healthy-niched restaurant throughout the nation, and no doubt someone has wished for it. And I completely get it. I’d be lying if I didn’t say some of these fill-in-the blank’s were straight from our office.

The culture of Lakeland has grown beyond the point of bbq 24/7. A far cry from when I first came in 2002 as an overly-picky college student when options were limited and Publix + Chamberlin’s were my haven. And let me just tell you how much my parents loved the fact that they were paying for a college meal plan their daughter never used. (Not quite, for anyone who can’t read my sarcasm.)

But since then, the terms GF, paleo + vegan are no longer abnormal.

While many cities may have their vegan or keto-friendly restaurants they flaunt to, that doesn’t mean Lakeland doesn’t have it’s own abundance of fresh, GF, vegan + omnivore-friendly meals too. Or at the very least, ones that can be easily adapted, as you will see.

And yes, for the most part, you can ask the waiter to eliminate something. I’m always mind-boggled when people don’t want to ask for specifics or substitutions. It’s your meal, your money + your body. Please, by all means, be picky.

So, we checked in with you all and gathered a list of your favorite dishes and some from our team, to meet most every dietary need.


Saigon Bistro | Photo by Carly C.

🍽  Vegan

Veggie platter | Cafe Zuppina | 4417 Florida Ave. S. | A savory and indulgent plate of hot & cold seasonal veggies.

Veggie bowls, wraps + smoothies | The Juice Box Cafe | 4295 Florida Ave. S. + 3620 Cleveland Heights Blvd. 

Tofu stir fry (with no egg) | Saigon Bistro | 1554 Town Center Dr. | Thank you @carlycashman3 for the tip. 

Vegan pizza | Mellow Mushroom | 3555 Lakeland Highlands Rd.  | Also available to order with GF crust.

Vegan pizza | KC’s Artisan Pizza | 6645 Florida Ave. S. #5Vegan cheese available upon request. 

Vegan biscuits and gravy bowl + street tacos | Good Thyme | 1037 Dixieland Mall Ln.#ProTip: Ask to add seitan to your breakfast bowl. 

Veggie sushi rolls + curry with coconut milk | Spice Thai & Sushi | 3895 Florida Ave. S.

Falafel + black bean patty | Pita Pit | 127 S. Kentucky Ave.

Hummus veggie bowl (with no ranch or cheese) | Tropical Smoothie Cafe | 225 Florida Ave. S.4270 US Hwy. 98 N. 

Full menu of savory + sweet vegan treats | Victor & Mika’s Bakery | 3106 Havendale Blvd. NW., Winter HavenAlso offers gluten-free and keto vegan items. 


Black & Brew | Photo by LALtoday

🍽 Gluten Free

GF avocado toast | Black & Brew | 205 E Main St. + 100 Lake Morton Dr. | Although, were you aware that the original is served with Born & Bread’s sourdough + some who are gluten-sensitive can still enjoy sourdough?

Superfood acai bowl | Tea Largo | 4634 Cleveland Heights Blvd. | Get an organic deep-purple acai + 4 toppings. Order ahead option for a breakfast on the-go.

The OMG burger + a side of sweet potato fries | Burger 21 | 1601 Town Center Dr.

Poké + stir fry bowl | Good Thyme | 1037 Dixieland Mall Ln.

GF bread + homemade soups | Purple Onion Deli & Grill | 316 N. Kentucky Ave.

Veggie omelet + a side of bacon | Egg Station | 1625 Shepherd Rd. 

Check out this list to see more GF options in Lakeland. 

🍽 Keto + Paleo

Wings | Salem’s Fresh Eats | 101 E Memorial Blvd.

Pit-smoked chicken | Mojo Federal | 130 S Tennessee Ave.

Filet Mignon | Texas Cattle Co. | 735 E Main St. | Don’t miss the free Birthday Steak Sirloin on your birthday. ID required.

Grilled Zinger Melt | Miller’s Ale House | 5650 Florida Ave. S. | Kudos to @3laine_maria for the suggestion.

Cheeseburger salad | The Chop Shop | 118 S. Kentucky Ave.

The Low Carb-uretor + Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad | Ford’s Garage | 879 Lakeland Park Center Dr. 

Ribeye Steak | Brasa Latina | 3123 US-98 

Hopefully now you can navigate your choice approach to eating (be it the occasional vegan omnivore, or GF with weekly Born & Bread visits) more easily.

– Kristin