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Top "Dive" in FLA?

Would love to hear your choices for the best "dive" you know about in Florida?

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  1. Burtons in Orlando (Thorton Park)
    Unfortunately, it was just sold and the new owners have added flat screens etc, while they wait to tear it down most likely for a condo.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cwsiggy

      Have you heard of Johnny's filling station in South Orlando? I saw it mentioned in the top burgers post and assumed it must be "divish".

      1. re: eatnbmerry

        Yes - been there - very good food - On Michigan I believe.

    2. My absolute favorite dive is BO's Fish Wagon in Key West. They have amazing fish sandwiches.

      I also still love Le Tub in Hollywood...even though I have heard some bad reviews. It's a great place for burgers & fries.

      27 Replies
      1. re: butrfli1227

        I've never been to tub but have heard that their service is snotty and pushy?

        1. re: eatnbmerry

          went to the Tub once and found their service to be incredibly slow (an hour after ordering) and the place wasn't even full. Can't see why it takes an hour to get a burger which was very good btw.

          1. re: smartie

            Sounds like they like to give attitude like I've heard from other hounds. Nevertheless, I plan on hitting them and Jacks soon. TY for info.

          2. re: eatnbmerry

            The service wasn't bad or pushy, but the servers there are very "straight to the point". I've never waited too long for the burgers....but I order mine Medium, if they're ordered well done, i'm sure they will take alot longer, the burgers there are pretty thick.

            1. re: eatnbmerry

              Snotty and pushy?? Nahh. It is slow on occasion but the setting is even better than the burgers. Great spot for a cold one

                1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                  I agree with the others who say there is no attitude. It's a good dive!

                2. re: eatnbmerry

                  I live in Hollywood, i tried Le Tub twice, first time told an hr wait, they were a little upset because the article had come out in the Magazine about their Hamburgers being # 1, they were extremely busy and not too happy about it. Since we live here we told them we would come back and try it another time. We did, same thing, waited an hr., we both ordered them well done because we had seen others with theirs raw inside. My Husband's was done, mine was like the others raw inside so i can't really recommend them especially if coming down when the Snowbirds are here and that is when they are the busiest. The view was nice, relaxing but i can't recommend the food. Sorry.

                  1. re: sunchild45

                    Wow Ty for info sun!

                    I had already decided that next time I'm up Hollywood way I'm gonna do a 2 for 1 chow down starting with a Sonny's steak hogie that the net loves so much followed by crossing over for a burger at Char Hut in PP that has been rec'd by sobe. Le Tub will have to wait and while I admit I dont like my burgers raw or well done for that matter, a dive sometimes does entail "attitude" as Andy Huse's 12/27 post states below. TC

                    1. re: sunchild45

                      That's a crying shame! Wait an hour and the burger's raw? WTF! For a dive, it is a great location...


                      I am not sure how you're going to eat a Sonnys and a Char Hut on the same afternoon! You're better off going for the custard after Sonny's...it's right by the Turnpike home to MIA! I feel like buzzing up there right now...it's that good.

                      1. re: netmover

                        Dang Net you know my dilema, my mouth is bigger than my stomach (barely). I was thinking of doing the reverse and eating the burger and then getting the hogie to go? May have to just settle for getting the hogie cause I love cheesesteak and especially if I don't have to travel all the way to S Philly for the fix!

                        1. re: eatnbmerry

                          You may want to order 3 for two people...one never seems to be enough! One day I devoured two by myself! 1.5 sonnys steak sammies seems to be the perfect number...throw in a gorgonzola salad and a frozen custard and you too enbm will waddle just like me!

                          char hut is good, excellent in fact...I just don't crave them the way I do the steak sammies at sonny's. I defy anyone who has eaten phillys in philly to find a better one than sonnys...there cannot be better...it's impossible! Get the sauce on the side and spoon it over each bite t t t...

                            1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                              TY Chowdad!

                              I'll skip the salad and custard and go burger all the way! Make it a semi atkins double (making pretend the breads dont exist)

                          1. re: netmover

                            Dear Net and Sobe,

                            Did my double today but it had a curve to it! Got up North a little earlier than expected (for once traffic wasn't real bad) and decided to venture along 441 to see what up besides car dealers and trash dump.

                            When magically I was drawn to the smoky goodeness coming from none other than the Georgia Pig. I swear even though I could smell the BBque somewhere around Davie Blvd. it took me two u-turns around the blocks to pin point this hole in the road. But the effort was worth it. As I drove into their small parking lot the smokiness got sweeter and I knew that my lunch plans were newly set.

                            The place reeks of character and qualifies as a SoFla institution having been in business since the '50's. I sat at the counter where the open smoke pit and pit master were literally no more than five feet directly across from me seperated only by the counter serving aisle. You literally couldn't get closer to the heat unless you were being smoked yourself!

                            Knowing that I was still only on first base of my trip, I only ordered the BBque pork sandwich and yes, a bowl of homemade chili to boot. BTW, they are also well known for a super spicy brunswick stew(according to variuous customers I asked and my waitress). The pork was smoky and not dried out and was well complemented by a mustard vinegar based sauce that gave it a little tang as well. I am not gonna say its better than some of the que I have had in the Carolinas, but it beats anything I've tried down here (I'm sorry, Sonny's is not my idea of good que) including the old Pit BBque on 41.

                            The chili had a nice, not spicy (guess they save that for the brunswick)homemade taste with gound beef. Too bad they don't make it with the braised chunks of meat we long for Net. But, it is definitely better than the fast food alternative I've been using lately.

                            All in all, the value for flavor was more than welcome with my lunch plus iced tea coming to $9 w/o tip. So I think the Georgia Pig not only qualifies as a good chow "dive" as previously rec'd on this thread by RickL & stuartlafonda but also can have a place on the budget post, the chili post, and yes the SoFla pork dishes post.

                            I then turned my stomach towards second base and steak hogie(s) at Sonny's which if you're interested I detail here:


                            BTW, in case you think I'm a total out of control Chow Hog, I did catch a movie in between at the Cinema near Sonny's. And I promise I didn't touch the popcorn or anything else gaining room for the steak hogies to come!
                            TY both for inputs and Char Hut will definitely be hit during my next trip out Hollywood/PP way.

                            1. re: eatnbmerry

                              Holy Pig! LOL...you are unbeleivable!!!

                              The GAPIG is definately on my list...it just sits too close to Sonny's.

                              Was the pork shredded or sliced? Hopefully the former and not the later.

                              1. re: netmover

                                I had it shredded on burger style bun but they also have a sliced plate if you want as well as beef also. In fact, the guy next to me ordered a burger that quite honestly looked yummy as well.

                                Very nice aura to the people there. When the owner wasn't on the phone placing a candy order of all things I think, he helped work the pit. The staff seemed to know a lot of the customers (a piggy Cheers). One lady was paying and asked for a chocolate cake to go since that was her husband's favorite (gave impression he was no longer with us and she was getting in his memory). And talk about paying, the cash register is an old timer that will soon belong in a museum if it ain't there already.

                                Definitely a down to earth vibe running through the place which I relish in todays ever increasing sanitized world. But given a choice I would head towards Sonny's before GP. But may be thats an indication of how much I liked Sonny's and cheesesteak not at all a knock on GP.

                          2. re: sunchild45

                            i LOATHE Le Tub! I went there because of the hooplah, and I left because of the sad service, and the gross food. Sorry, but the hype is just that... HYPE. I can grill a better burger on a george forman grill with wal mart meat.

                            1. re: gryphonskeeper

                              LOL! Good one gryphon! The place is full of itself! Hat's off to you.

                                1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                  It's a great place that never asked/wanted any hype. They want laid back locals/regulars who appreciate the setting and a good burger.

                                    1. re: tpigeon

                                      Like I've said before any food taste better after the G-Men rule even half raw burgers (steak tartare a Le Tub)

                                        1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                                          Whata meatballs on him! And that Plaxico, what a dive...r.

                                            1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                                              He be a hound for sure!!!! Im gonna rec some special new england chowder to all my homies cause G-Men will win it this time round. White broth special no red this time. But really what a great freakin game!!

                          3. Does anyone have an opinion on Ted's Smoked Fish in St. Pete? (it was featured on Guy's show recently). Would like to know if it's a true dive worthy of a chow down drive from Miami?

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: eatnbmerry

                              Ted Peters is absolutely worth the trip--it's probably my favorite "dive" in TB and judging from the typical crowds, I think many would agree. Bring cash, as they don't accept any other form of payment. The menu is simple and straightforward, with offerings of smoked mullet, salmon, tilapia and simple sides like cole slaw. I personally like their cheeseburgers, and will typically have one for lunch then pick up smoked fish at the smokehouse next door for dinner later on.

                              1. re: laurie

                                Ted Peters is very good. I don't know what makes it a "dive" though. It's just an outdoor restaurant/smokehouse. As for Le Tub, I've had varying experiences with wait time on a burger there. Sometimes it is 45 minutes to an hour, other times it's much less than that. I've always found the staff to be really friendly. Maybe they're just a bit too casual for some. I don't mind it. It's still an amazing burger.

                                1. re: Nick

                                  First of all the "dives" in the previous post sound like local hangouts in tourist areas. If you want a real "dive" you need to come to central Florida! We have plenty of them to choose from. Here is the official Mountdorahound dive list and why they are on this list to begin with.

                                  10. The Brickyard in Daytona Beach.
                                  Think of an old 1970's A frame fast food joint turned bar and grill. The place is some what clean. The Burgers are too die for! and if you dont like'm you can yell at the cook behind the counter. Stiff drinks too!

                                  9. Beer 30 in Sanford Florida.
                                  This place has a grill behind the bar as well. It also has tons of local seedy characters standin around playin pool. The bathrooms are dirty and the price is right at $2.50 for a burger and chips.

                                  8. The Hideaway in tavares Florida.
                                  On lake harris,,this is nothing other than a cracker retreat on a deck with a few bikers thrown in. Service is slow and the staff is mean (except for Jan). Their burgers are killer too and voted best in lake county.

                                  7. Zellies Pub in Mount Dora
                                  You can smell the fried chicken when you get out of the car! But Don't sit in that booth! Go outside and watch TV with the locals on the porch and drink beer from a mason jar and throw peanut shells on the floor! Freindly staff. The owner will beat'em up if they aren't. She runs a tight ship!

                                  6. OB's 1750 north in Deland Florida.
                                  I wouldn't call this place a dive but my mother would! And it probably is! But how 'bout a 12 oz delmonico, baked potato, salad and bread for $11! You can dance with your honey or get your *ss kicked! This place allows smoking , drinking and hell raising!

                                  5. Dale's Ales in Orange City florida
                                  Ok this place is more of a biker bar than resturant, but the do have a menu. They are also tops on the health depts list of violators! It is one of the few places in Florida that will let you eat all the wings you want for free on Wednesday nights!! And they are GOOD! Rudest bartenders and waitresses around!

                                  4. The Rib Ranch in Sanford
                                  I had to include a BBQ joint and couldn't think of a better one! This place also sports the 1970's A Frame that hasn't seen a new coat af paint in 20 years! I don't know why people like this place but i know several who do! Broken furniture that hasn't been replaced since the bldg was built and a waitress thats just as dated!

                                  3. Lisa's Kitchen in Sorrento Florida
                                  Think of a country town with a feed store, gas station, bar and a dive breakfeast and lunch place! Based on the mel's diner model complete with kiss my grits waitresses. You can get 3 eggs, 3 sausage links, 3 bacon strips, hashbrowns or grits with toast or biscutt for $5! Don't eat lunch!

                                  2. Shady Oak Tavern and Fish camp in Deland
                                  I like this place and recommend it, But,,You might fall through the floor of this place into the St. Johns river! The place actually sits on a dock over the water and has been hit by large boats several times! If you like fried catfish fingerlings with homade potato salad, this is the only place to go in Deland! Cold Beer and take no crap staff!

                                  1. Sinbad's On lake Eustis.
                                  This place is a Dive!! But I like hangin out there! It's a local place and If you are not a local you will be treated accordingly with bad service and a bad attitude. And when they bring your steak to your table don't freak out because it will be raw!! Thats right! RAW!! YOU HAVE TO COOK IT! So get your butt over to the grill in the middle of the room and cook it! If you don't like it Its YOUR FAULT!! Oh yeah ,,you have to order your food at the far left side of the bar where it says to stand when placing your order. If you don't follow this rule, you won't eat! You will get a nice view of the lake!

                                  1. re: mountdorahound

                                    Way to go Mount,

                                    You got the hound in you! What a list and descriptions!

                                    1. re: mountdorahound

                                      Are any of these child and/or minority friendly?

                                      1. re: taiga

                                        Most all of them are child freindly with the exception of OB's and Dales Ales

                                2. re: eatnbmerry

                                  Ty both,

                                  I love smoked fish and will definitely put on my radar next time I am up that way.

                                3. Jimbo's Virginia Key (Miami) for smoked fish and ice cold cans of brew...bocci ball optional!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: netmover

                                    TY Net,

                                    Been there done that thanks to you my friend. Definitely a dive that can go toe to toe with any in Florida. BTW, did you have a chance to read my full impressions on your Top Seafood Post (12/10)?

                                  2. Victorio's in Longwood -- kinda like the old Lee and Ricks in that they shuck oysters from Appalachacola right in front of you

                                    Caps on the Water in St. Augustine -- not all that "divey" but worth a trip

                                    The Breakers in New Smyrna Beach -- you don't get any more divey than that

                                    Shady Oak outside Deland

                                    Sandbar on Anna Maria Island


                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: bcodom

                                      TY Barbara,

                                      The shucked oysters sound great with a cold one!

                                      BTW, what are specialties (or your recs) of the others? TY.

                                      1. re: eatnbmerry

                                        >>BTW, what are specialties (or your recs) of the others? TY.

                                        Sandbar -- the fresh fish of the day -- get there at sunset
                                        The Breakers -- their burgers are incredible; they are known for the best burgers in Central FL
                                        Caps -- only been there once so far, but the ahi, oysters, and grouper sandwich were all wonderful
                                        Shady Oak -- its all about the fried catfish....


                                          1. re: bcodom

                                            Second that on the Breakers - we absolutely love that place. One time we were there on an evening when the shuttle was going to launch. When the t.v. showed that it had actually lifted off, almost the entire restaurant (customers and staff!) left their tables and went outside to watch it! Fantastic! And the burgers are to die for! Mostly great no-nonsense service too.

                                            1. re: PDeveaux

                                              Dang I'm hooked!

                                              Good burgers and getting to see the shuttle at same time is a home run for me. Thanks for that additional info I will definitely try to coordinate visit with upcoming shuttle launch.

                                      2. Georgia Pig on 441 in Ft Lauderdale. Been around since 1953 which in SoFLA makes it an historic site. Dark, smoky, old booths and tables, the placemat is the menu. Great pulled pork, Brunswick stew, and biscuits and gravy.

                                        Georgia Pig Barbeque & Rstrnt
                                        1285 S State Road 7, Davie, FL 33317

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: RickL

                                          LOL about historic site! Will put on my Broward to do list TY.

                                          1. re: eatnbmerry

                                            Try Catfish Dewey's as well on N. Andrews Rd. Ft Lauderdale (Oakland Park area)
                                            It's dark, the floors are stained, and most of the time there is this weird smell you just can't quite put your finger on. But my lord is the food good, and CHEAP!

                                            AYCE catfish every night, as well as many other specials. If you leave this place hungry then you need gastric bypass surgery.


                                            1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                              How could I have forgotten Catfish Dewey's? We love this place (had dinner there Thursday night.) There's also AYCE crawfish, fried oysters, and stone crab as well as great honey fried chicken, grits and collards. TY for the reminder gryph.

                                              Catfish Deweys
                                              4003 N Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

                                              1. re: RickL

                                                Yep somebody recommended it on my last trip to Lauderdale it was great! I will probably stop by there for lunch this time, since I am booked for Dinner with family on my brief 3 days in South Florida.

                                          2. re: RickL

                                            Absoulutely, I love Georgia Pig. I sit at the formica counter on the little swivel seat and stare right into the hole in the wall that is the smoker. The chopped pork sandwich with a little squirt of the mustard sauce is fantastic. I always have to have a slice of pie, usually pecan with that thick lard based crust. They refuse to put back up the giant pig sign and instead keep it out back, and that makes finding the place near impossible for first time visitors.

                                            1. re: stuartlafonda


                                              I love the attitude and cant wait to try. Do they also have the vinegar carolina style sauce?

                                          3. in Tampa, the Hub for drinks.

                                            In st. pete, the chattaway for burgers and drinks, and definitely Ted Peters for smoked fish. The best I've ever had.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: andy huse

                                              La Camaronera definately consitutes a dive. Flagler and 19th Ave, MiAMI.

                                              1. re: netmover

                                                My Dear Net,

                                                We both seem to agree that La Camaronera fits the bill for many types of good eats. Definitely a top dive where you gotta stand to eat the best fried shrimp in these parts.

                                              2. re: andy huse

                                                TY Andy,

                                                Do you agree with previous posters that Ted Peters shouldn't be classed a dive? BTW, admire your cuban sandwich post and just wanna say that salami may add another flavor but is not traditional cubano.

                                                1. re: eatnbmerry

                                                  Is Ted Peters a dive? depends who you ask. sure, why not. It certainly insn't a "nice" place in the white tablecloth sense of the word. But the smoked fish is king.

                                                  salami on a Cuban may not be trad in Miami, but it is here, where we've been eating Cubans a lot longer. Tampa's bread is better, too. for more info on the bread, check out a film I posted in You Tube on La Segunda Central Bakery. what is the earliest reference you've ever found to a Cuban in Miami newspapers? If you can do better than the 1920s, we'll talk tradition.

                                                  and the hub is a diove. doesn't have to be toothless old men drinking there to be a dive. It is the attitude as much as the decor in my opinion.

                                                  1. re: andy huse

                                                    Ty andy,

                                                    I truly appreciate your passion and the effort you put into your research.

                                                    owever, the Cuban sandwich was not invented in the states or tampa for that matter (neither was cuban bread although that does not preclude tampa's from being betters than miami's).

                                                    La media noche and/or cuban were first had in Cuba as late night snacks after a night out on the town. Salami was not an ingredient (not a very common spanish item unless you include chorizo) and pickles were rarely included as well.

                                                    But I'm sure, like your work states, that tampenos mixed with italianos and combined their ingredients. Whereas the cubano community in Miami coming more recently from the island did not pick up on this newer custom.

                                                    In any case, like I said to start, I really enjoy reading your research and posts. TY for all your info!

                                                    1. re: andy huse

                                                      BTW, forgot to say Good Point about tude apart from just decor. Its a devil may care freedom about everything except the food (unless its a dive thats NOT chow worthy which is not what we are after at all).

                                                2. I don't think of Ted Peters as a dive. And not the Hub either, the lunch crowd is downtown Tampa workers, maybe the very late evening group?

                                                  Does the OP means a place that looks unkempt outside and less than hygenic inside, perhaps in an off the beaten track location in a questionable area?

                                                  9 Replies
                                                  1. re: DonnaFL

                                                    I guess the "worn" look cause its been there a while with very little care about decor but A LOT ABOUT the FOOD. Busy with locals is a must. Also having a specialty or two can't hurt. Out of the way may be a plus since confirms food if still draws a crowd. Questionable area isn't a criteria but may add an excitement factor to some hounds experience.

                                                    1. re: eatnbmerry

                                                      OK, then by your difinition then include Ted Peters and also the Hub. Maybe I'm mistaking a dive for "seedy."

                                                        1. re: eatnbmerry

                                                          Well, seeds are planted in dirt?!?

                                                          Actually I thought of a place that might match your definition.

                                                          Mid-Penisula Seafood Company
                                                          400 49th St. South, at the corner of 49th St. South and 5th Ave. South. In St. Petersburg

                                                          A fresh fish market, but with options for having the fish prepared - fried, grilled, scampi, blackened, or steamed. You can eat in the "tacky tourist decor" dining area or take it with you. Lots of people came in for to-go orders. We ate in, as we were passing through. Nothing fancy, food is served in paper baskets and eating utensils are plastic, but they do have a selection of bottled beers in the cooler and fountain soft drinks, no refills.

                                                            1. re: eatnbmerry

                                                              I have Five more to add to the list.
                                                              These are my South FL Recs. I only have Five since my south Fl experiences are limited.

                                                              5. Las Colinas Cuban in Ft. Lauderdale
                                                              This place is a clean dive with the best breakfeast deal in South Florida. 2 eggs, a big clump of bacon, home potatoes(cuban hashbrowns), cuban bread and cafe con leche for $3.75 They also have pretty waitresses and are open all day.

                                                              4. The Whistle Stop in Isla moroda
                                                              A biker bar with killer food and open late! I ordered excelent wings at 12:30am. Stiff drinks too!

                                                              3.Primanti Broths Pizza A1a in Ft. lauderdale
                                                              This is a dive pizza place on the beach with the rudest surfer boys working! When you order you better get with it! Pizza is up and down depending on which surfer boy is cookin! Who's going to complain at $2 a slice and open 24hrs

                                                              2. The Coal Pot West Indian on 441 in Hollywood
                                                              You cant get much more of a dive. Imagine a trinidad rum shop in America. The curry is the best in Florida. There is no service until you order and If you are not from trinidad,,you will be the only one in the room who is not! Be prepared for thumping bass soca, hot curry in a hot room with a cold beer!

                                                              1. Flossies off griffin Road in Ft. Lauderdale
                                                              Loud juke Box, rough crowd and a great Turkey burger. Excellent fries and a stiff drink! If you are single you might get lucky. This place is totally a neighborhood bar and not a tourist place.

                                                              1. re: mountdorahound

                                                                I love going to the Tiki Grill at the Riviera Beach marina in Palm Beach county. I think it is the best sports bar type food there is....Please try the Tuna Ponzu

                                                                1. re: HotMelly

                                                                  I goota admit that tuna ponzu doesn't conjure up memories of sports bar food, but if you say so....I'm willing to give a shot when I'm up that way. BTW, do you also like their wings? If so, how are they done.

                                                                  TY for info.

                                                                2. re: mountdorahound

                                                                  Wow mount,

                                                                  You don't slow down! I'm gonna have to get another notebook to write down ALL your recs.

                                                                  TY again for wealth of suggestions.

                                                    2. My favorite, at least within driving distance of my home, is Buffalo Chips on Old 41 in Bonita Springs. Awesome.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                        1. re: eatnbmerry

                                                          eatnbmerry, I havent tried the wings at the Tiki Grill, Most of the food is sports bar type food, but also have steaks, pasta such. It is a very laid back place, wear want you want.

                                                            1. re: 1stmakearoux

                                                              Great news.! I love them. What kind do they make (large/small, breaded etc.)

                                                        2. The "Wreck and Crew", Grassy Key. Fantastic grouper sandwiches.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: SonyBob

                                                            Let's not forget Singleton's Seafood in Mayport and T-Ray's Burgers in Fernandina Beach

                                                            1. re: SonyBob

                                                              Definitely a big fan of a good grouper sandwich and will put on my to do list. TY!

                                                              1. re: eatnbmerry

                                                                Bert's in Matlacha Florida...Kinda in north Ft. Myers...If you go. stay at the www.Bridgewaterinn.com....Park your car and never use your car again.Everything within walking distance. .. The Bridge Water Inn is a motel built on a pier..so cool

                                                            2. Ricky's - Hollywood Wings and Lobster??? Who'd a thunk??? No windows, just right.