Long-gone Lakeland restaurants you’d bring back

We asked which long-gone restaurants you wish you could still dine at today. Take a trip down memory lane as our readers remember their favorite dishes.

We miss Plenty’s pita + hummus too, Swan City. | Photo by Plenty

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 you which long-gone Lakeland restaurants you missed, and you delivered. With over 60 responses, here are the eateries you would bring back.

Bennigan’s, formerly located on South Florida Avenue
Reader Wendy S. still craves a turkey and swiss sandwich on a pretzel bun.

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.

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.

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.

Foxfire Inn, formerly located on Highway 98 North
This former favorite was open from 1967-1991. Reader Linda 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.

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 and now home to Andrew’s Coffee.

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.

Red Barn Steakhouse, formerly located on New Tampa Highway
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.

Red Elephant, formerly located on South Florida Avenue
Reader Mark B loved this pizza joint where they knew his order before he sat down.

The Sampan Restaurant, formerly located in the Grove Park Shopping Center
For Reader Barbara B., this was a favorite dine-in or take-out Chinese food restaurant.

Sea Wolf, formerly located on South Florida Avenue
Reader Tammy T. loved this restaurant for the atmosphere + fresh seafood.

Strollo’s, formerly located on East Main Street
This was the place to find Italian cuisine and pizza for Reader John M., and Reader Karen K. used to visit every Friday night.

Vito’s Italian, formerly located on South Florida Avenue
Reader Colette 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.”

Have another restaurant you would bring back? Let us know which one has you hopping in the first time machine you see here.

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