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Feb 23, 2007 06:30 PM

Here's a Central/North Florida challenge

Driving from Orlando to Madison, Fla on I-75. Looking for good, mid-point lunch place not far from the highway.
Barbecue is first choice, but open after that to any other chowish suggestions.


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  1. unfortunately i've never been able to do much along that route - we're always on a mission to get someplace (home from up north, north to a game or race, etc). last time we headed up that way (UCF gator game) i remember driving by micanopy thinking 'wow, i'd like to check this place out sometime'. of course when my husb is driving we aren't allowed to stop to use the bathroom much less eat ;) (hence, the 'on a mission' phrase)

    so i'm not an expert and have no actual experienced review for ya, but if it were me i'd be looking for something in that area. although, there were just a lot of suggestions in the chow thread about gainesville which sounded great.

    i think that if i were stopping in micanopy i'd try "old florida cafe".

    google "old florida cafe micanopy" for some more info and maps and whatnot.

    1. If you're willing to drive a little off the interstate, the best BBQ is in Newberry. Take the Newberry Rd exit and go west, and drive about 10 minutes to Newberry. Newberry's Backyard BBQ will be on your left in "downtown" Newberry. I think it's worth the drive, but if you can't spare the time, the BBQ that's close to I-75 are the chains Sonny's (Archer Rd. or 39th Ave) and Bono's (Newberry Rd, East). Not bad, but not exceptional either. If you'd prefer something local, try Pomodoro Cafe for good Italian and good lunch specials. Take the 39th Ave (SR-222 I believe) exit East, and turn into the Publix shopping center immediately on your left. Pomodoro will be on the east end (your right as you look at the shopping center). I'm racking my brain, but I can't think of any non-chains close to the interstate that I'd recommend.

      4 Replies
      1. re: blondie23

        I liked Bono's when I lived in G'ville. It's very close to the highway and the food isn't bad.

        1. re: AlyKen

          If it's the same Bono's that has a franchise in Stuart (a mean-looking pig chomping a cigar?) then I second that rec.

          1. re: Covert Ops

            It is the same; it's a Jax based chain. I like it a lot for a chain, but I wanted to recommend something he couldn't get elsewhere.

        2. re: blondie23

          Just wanted to second trying Newberry's if you don't mind the drive. We were just back in G'ville two weeks ago and of course had to visit Newberry. This is the third time we've been after finding it in the past year I believe originally off of Chowhound.

          Thanks also to blondie and eoutlaw for the Lake City and White Springs suggestions - adding to the memory banks. for Tampa bbq my fave remains firstchoice in brandon.


        3. So far Newberry's backyard sounds best, as I've eaten at both Sonny's and Bono's. Anything else farther north, say Lake City north?

          Open to other food beside bbq - Pomodoro's sounds interesting.


          1. People rave about Ken's Bar-B-Que in Lake City. I've never been so I can't vouch for it, but many of my friends say it's good enough to merit a drive from Gainesville just for the meal. That's all I know about in Lake City - as far as I can tell, people there are more likely to come here for food than vice versa. If the timing of your trip puts you in Gainesville, you'll have more and better options, but if not, I believe Ken's would be a safe bet.

            No idea how to get to Ken's, but this is what MapQuest says:

            1 Reply
            1. re: blondie23

              Bob, I like to drive into White Springs which is only a couple of miles off the interstate when driving that way. Here are a couple of pretty good country buffets that I've found.

              Suwannee River Diner
              16538 Spring St.
              White Springs, FL 32096

              16521 River St.
              P.O. Box 407
              White Springs, FL 32096