Zolpho Springs=Yummy Cheap Comfort Food!
On a recent road trip to nowhere in particular I couldn't wait til my stomach started to grumble ferociously, as I usually try to do, before I forced my boyfriend to turn the car into the dusty graveled parking lot of the "Pioneer Restaurant"---Zolpho Springs, FL. I never know exactly what attracts me to a place, but something about the plain adobe style building with the simple tacked on sign that looked like more of an afterthought than as a way of pulling in customers, told me this might be worth a look. Well that, and the fact the parking lot was full.
We walked in and got hit with the "No Credit Cards Accepted" sign first thing. Next, were several homemade postings, "Restrooms Out Side". Things were looking promising. We took a booth just around the corner from the bulletin board tacked full of photos of grown men wrestling alligators and cuddling deceased wild boars. "Yes, we have sweet tea." To a southern girl "sweet tea" meant it had the ability to take at least a little bit of the enamel off your teeth. "The fried chicken's real good", the friendly, efficient waitress told us. That was the understatement of the day.
Less than $20 later (including generous tip) we left with bellies full of perfectly golden fried chicken, collard greens that melted in our mouths, black eyed peas that made me renew my promise to eat more vegetables, and sweet potato fries that given the chance, would have prompted me to "biggie size".
I like nothing better than finding a good "hole in the wall" restaurant. And I've discovered through my experimenting, that you either hit the jackpot or end up trying to politely find something to like about a place that really offers not much more than appropriately sized ice cubes. Well, "Pioneer Restaurant" left me satisfied and grateful that people still remember and apply the principle of "good food, friendly service, fair price". Okay, maybe THAT is an understatment. The food was splendiferous, the service made me wonder if a hug would be appropriate, and I had to be shushed into not telling them they could charge a lot more and people would still come.
I can't tell you what the desserts are like but that's at least one reason to go back on a future trip to nowhere in particular.
Many a time have I gone past the Pioneer on my way to points west, and many a time have I failed to take the plunge as you did. Thank you for your informative post -- we shall enjoy it this weekend.
ZolFo Springs is a rural town at the intersection of US 98 and SR 64 (and SR 66) in central Florida, more or less east of Sarasota by about an hour and four miles south of Wauchula. While the scenery in the surrounding area is some of the best rural Florida has to offer, the town itself isn't really a sightseeing destination. That being said, Zolfo Springs and Wauchula to the north are rife with Mexican eateries that are worth stopping at (in addition to the Pioneer Restaurant, it seems) if you find yourself in the area.