There’s nothing like ordering your favorite meal from a restaurant you love — which is why it’s even more heartbreaking when that restaurant closes. We asked youwhich long-gone Lakeland restaurants you missed, and you delivered. With over 60 responses, here are eight eateries you would bring back.
We miss Plenty’s pita + hummus too, Swan City. | Photo by Plenty
Plenty, formerly located in The Joinery
Plenty of Lakelanders miss this stall in The Joinery that used to serve up Mediterranean-inspired, plant-based cuisine.
Vito’s Italian, formerly located on South Florida Avenue
ReaderColette B. says her family’s Friday night tradition was dinner at Vito’s where she ordered house salad + spaghetti with meat sauce. In her words, “it was truly addictive.”
Foxfire Inn, formerly located on Highway 98 North
This former favorite was open from 1967-1991. ReaderLinda H. says it was a great place for dinner and dancing. Check out these menus from 1968 — when a surf + turf dinner would only cost you $5.25.
Red Barn Steakhouse, formerly located on Gary Road
Many of our readers miss the flame broiled steaks they used to order at Red Barn, and reader Gerry S. misses the fried green tomatoes.
We wish we could go back in time to 2013 to get another cup of Gelati Joe’s — and give ourselves better quality cameras. | Photo via LALtoday
Gelati Joe’s, formerly located on South Florida Avenue
Italian ice lovers could get their fix from this popular gelati spot. Although it closed permanently in 2020, its colorful building is still around. (Have the inside scoop on the future of the building?Fill us in.)
CDB’s, formerly located on Memorial Boulevard
Those searching for a slice could order pizza from CDB’s, which was a popular choice from our readers.
Bosphorus Turkish Restaurant, formerly located on Kentucky Avenue
Downtown Lakeland said goodbye to Bosphorus years ago, but reader Kathy H. is still pining for its lavash bread + chicken Adana kebab.
Deli Delicacies, formerly located on South Florida Avenue
Our readers still wish they could grab a salad or sandwich for lunch from this eatery that opened in 1985.
Have another restaurant you would bring back? Let us know which one has you hopping in the first time machine you see here.
Send this to someone who’s still talking about their favorite long-gone restaurant.
Books That Teach Book Club | Wed., Aug. 3 | 11:30 a.m. | Unfiltered Bartow, 160 S. Broadway Ave. | Free | Gather on the first Wednesday of every month to discuss the assigned book with other readers while enjoying coffee, tea, and lunch. 📖
Trivia Night | Wed., Aug. 3 | 7-9 p.m. | Union Taproom, 245 W. Central Ave., Winter Haven | Free | Pour your own draft beers + compete in a round of trivia with friends.
Flying Tigers | Wed., Aug. 3 | 6:30 p.m. | Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, 2301 Lakeland Hills Blvd. | $22+ | Cheer on the Lakeland Flying Tigers in this game against the Blue Jays.
Pregnancy & Childbirth Education Class | Thurs., Aug. 4 | 6:30-8:30 p.m. | $50 | Watson Clinic Main, 1600 Lakeland Hills Blvd. | Attend this special labor and delivery class taught by a licensed nurse — reservation cost includes a workbook, coupons, and educational information. 🍼
Catapult Demo Day | Thu., Aug. 4 | 5:30-8 p.m. | Catapult Lakeland, 502 E. Main St. | Free | Stay in the loop and hear from innovative + high-growth startups as they share what they’re building in our city at this public, pitch-style event.*
Food Heaven: Indulgent Eats | Sat., Aug. 6 | 6:30 p.m. | Publix Aprons Cooking School, 4730 Florida Ave. S. | $65 | Sit back + enjoy as professional chefs demonstrate how to cook up flavorful dishes like spiced crab, shrimp and chili-crunch clam bucatini.
Back to School Kick-off | Sat., Aug. 6 | 8 a.m.-1 p.m. | Visit Central Florida’s Welcome Center, 101 Adventure Court, Davenport | Free | Receive a free backpack, school supplies, get your picture drawn by a caricature artist, and enter giveaways. ✏️
Public Skate at Lakeland Ice Arena | Sun., Aug. 7 | 2:30-9:15 p.m. | Lakeland Ice Arena, 3395 W. Memorial Blvd. | $12+ | Bring or rent your skates + bundle up for a fun time in Lakeland’s only real ice arena — spots are available from 2:30-4 p.m. and 5:30-7 p.m. ⛸️
We have amonthly guide filled with events + activities you can plan for in advance. Click the button below to bookmark ideas for upcoming date nights, family outings, and time with friends.
91º | Scattered thunderstorms | 60% chance of rain
Lakeland City Commissioners unanimously voted to increase the electric fuel charge for Lakeland Electric customers from $60 per 1,000 kilowatt-hours to $75 per 1,000 kilowatt-hours. Lakeland Electric will review the market monthly to decide future changes. The change goes into effect Thurs., Sept. 1. (LkldNow)
New affordable apartmentsare planned for 9.1 acresin the Westgate neighborhood,west of Lake Beulah. Current plans call for four mid-level-rise apartment buildings, plus a clubhouse + swimming pool. City Commissioners will vote on the plans on Mon., Aug. 15. 🏗️ (LkldNow)
$4,889,173. That’s how much the United Way of Central Florida has raised for services in Polk, Highland, and Hardee counties for the next year. There will be 80 funded services in the areas of early childhood education, academic achievement, ending hunger and more.
Raise a glass at the grand opening of Lugo’s Craft Distillery’snew cocktail lounge(2500 Drane Field Rd. Ste. 208) with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5 p.m. on Thurs., Aug. 18. Register for your spot to sip Lugo’s rum and take part in a networking session. 🥃
Charles “Charley” Woodsby, one of the founders of Red Lobster, died on Sun., July 31. Did you know that Lakeland was home of the very first Red Lobster location? Charley and William Darden opened the original restauranton Lake Parker in 1968. He was also active in local + globalministries. (The Ledger)
Summit Consulting founder Charles Crofford “Doc” Dockerydied on Mon., Aug. 1 at Good Shepherd Hospice House. Doc founded Summit in 1976 before selling it in 1984, making him a millionaire. He was highly involved in state politics and advocated for a high-speed railway in Florida. (LkldNow)
The British Invasion is upon us, Lakeland. Head to the RP Funding Center on Fri., Aug. 12 to rock out to the album “Brothers in Arms” by British rock band Dire Straits. Classic Albums Live will perform the hit 1985 album in its entirety, note for note. 🎸
When Reader Rachel G. recently asked us for places to find dinner, drinks, and dancing in Lakeland — especially ones with live music — we knew we had to ask our readers. Know of the perfect place for a dancing date night? Let us know where we can cut a rug. 💃
How would you improve Munn Park? | Photo by LALtoday
At Monday’s City Commission meeting, Lakeland’s Parks and Recreation Director Bob Donahaysuggested that the City implement a Municipal Service Benefits Utility tax. Money raised from this suggested tax would be used to maintain existing parks and develop new ones. The park Bob is focused on first?Munn Park.
After the monument formerly found in the park’s center was relocated to Veterans Park in 2019, Munn Park hasn’t had a central focal point. New ideas for a centerpiece have been discussed, but they will be up for approval + public feedback later this year.
According to the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority, new additions being pursued include large swings, added shade, and large games that will get the community engaged and encourage use.
Now it’s your turn to be the designer. What would you makeover in Munn Park? Drop your feedback for us here and we may just share your ideas in a future newsletter. (The Ledger)
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Editor’s pick: This month the SPCA Florida is participating in the Clear the Shelters campaign and offering 10–100% off adoption fees for cats + dogs. I’m planning on adopting a new cat, so I’ll be sure to share photos if I find the purr-fect match. You can make your own adoption appointment at the six participating locations here.
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