Eclectic Eats in Orlando/Sanford

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By Heather Turk

Sanford, Fla., located only minutes from the Orlando Sanford International Airport, boasts several eclectic eateries sure to please even the most discerning palate. Whether you’re craving fabulous German fare or savory barbecue, visitors are sure to find something they’ll relish at one of downtown Sanford’s many excellent establishments.

FUEL

Fuel's St. Louis style ribs

The St. Louis Style Ribs with BBQ Beans, Cole Slaw, French Fries and Corn Bread at Fuel

A natural addition to The Alley, Central Florida’s only true blues bar which features live music Tuesday through Sunday, this lip-smackin’ eatery opened its doors inside the newly expanded music venue in April. Focusing on an old-school method of barbecuing, by smoking its meats for a long period of time at a low temperature, guests can sink their teeth into such delicious dishes as the Beef Brisket, Pulled Pork and St. Louis Style Ribs. A wide range of scrumptious sides are available as well, including Collard Greens, Fried Okra and Smoked Mac N Cheese. fuelbbq.com

HOLLERBACH’S WILLOW TREE CAFÉ

Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café

Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café transforms into a German beer hall every weekend

One of Sanford’s most lauded restaurants, having won more than 100 awards including the second best German restaurant in the country by bestgermanrestaurant.com, this family-owned eatery serves some of the tastiest German fare outside of Bavaria. The Schnitzel—veal, chicken or pork pounded thin and then lightly breaded and pan fried to perfection—can’t be beat and comes with your choice of two classic German sides like Spätzle with Rahm Gravy. Be sure to visit Thursday through Sunday night when the café transforms into a full-fledged German beer hall with music by Jimmy and Eckhard, the house polka band. Even though there are close to 300 seats, reservations are recommended five to seven weeks in advance due to the restaurant’s popularity! hollerbachs.com

THE SMILING BISON

venison chop

The Venison Chop, one of The Smiling Bison’s rotating seasonal menu selections

Having just celebrated its first anniversary in October, this New American restaurant and bar offers some of the best food and drinks in the area. Everything on its ever-changing menu is made in-house, from the sausages (which the restaurant originally served when it started out as a food cart) to the pastas, pizza doughs and variety of ketchup (try the mushroom ketchup). Favorites include the flavorful Poutine made with hand-cut fries, mushroom gravy and cheddar cheese curds and the smoked House Made Kielbasa. While you’re at the restaurant, be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for Adam and Michael, two spirits who supposedly reside at the pub. smilingbison.com/sanford

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