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Food Tours

Off the Beaten Path

Part of the fun of Scenic Highways and traveling the less populated stretches of the road, is finding a place with some good food and nice people. It’s those lesser-known, mom & pop places which are memorable finds. On most of the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor, you won’t be too far from a busy hub with plenty of fast food and franchise restaurants. But since the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor has a number of legs and side roads and small community towns, we thought we’d let you know where you can find a good meal when you’re in some of those quieter zones, off the beaten path.


Pierson’s Family Restaurant

In the northern leg of this corridor through the Lake George State Forest along US 17, Pierson Depot used to be an important stop along the railroad that moved produce and citrus. Today that train depot is preserved at the Pioneer Settlement for the Arts in Barberville (near the US 17 & SR 40 intersection).

Stop by the Pierson Family Restaurant when you’re in this area for some comfort food in a downhome setting.

Pierson’s Family Restaurant
302 S Center St, Pierson, FL 32180
(386) 749-9979


M &E is a truly hidden roadside BBQ joint with welcoming friendly people and an award-winning sauce. People make special trips from miles around to pick up some tasty ribs or BBQ for events. Bikers know to stop there. Meat is kept fresh as slow cooked over oak coals. Call about hours first – some listings say closed on Sunday and Monday, and it closed around 6:00 PM. This is an ideal lunch jaunt, or buzz by for some takeout.

402 North Center Street, Pierson, FL 32180
(386) 804-0871

Pitmasters BBQ

Pitmasters BBQ is right on US 17 between DeLand and DeLeon Springs. This place has “old fashioned southern style barbeque, cooked at low temperatures for many hours” and they only cook their meat using real wood, no gas or electric burners. It has a great cozy atmosphere, a fireplace, and a bar to go along with its fantastic barbeque pork, beef, and briquette. Open seven days a week.

Pitmaster BBQ
4425 North US Highway 17, DeLand, FL
(386) 985-4488

Old Spanish Sugar Mill & Pancake House

The Old Spanish Sugar Mill & Pancake House is located inside DeLeon Springs State Park. The waitresses bring you pancake mix and you grill and customize your pancakes on a griddle built into your table. The restaurant is in the historic Mill situated on the edge of one of the areas artesian springs, DeLeon Springs. Breakfast is served until 4:00pm.

Old Spanish Sugar Mill & Pancake House
601 Ponce Deleon Blvd, De Leon Springs, FL 32130
(386) 985-5644


Airport Restaurant & Gin Mill

Located near the DeLand Municipal Airport, the Airport Restaurant & Gin Mill offers a fun and friendly dining and entertainment experience. We have an inviting deck for outdoor seating where you can watch the skydivers during the day or kickback and listen to the great bands that play in the evenings.

Airport Restaurant & Gin Mill
1120 Flight Line Blvd, DeLand, FL 32724
(386) 734-9755

Latin Café

If you’re in the Deltona & Enterprise area, there are plenty of franchise restaurant options. If you’re inclined to seek out the non-franchise places, the Latin Café would be a good place to try.

Latin Café
1235 Providence Blvd, Deltona, FL 32725
(386) 860-2808

Sinatra’s L’Aldila Ristorante

Built in 1927 the historic Cassadaga Hotel is the centerpiece of Cassadaga’s Spiritualist Camp and the hotel is home to Sinatra’s Ristorante. Recently renovated the hotel and restaurant provide a pleasant and classic atmosphere for Sinatra’s Italian cuisine. With a full wine and liquor bar, you may get some extra spirits with your spirits here. The owner is related to old blue eyes himself.

Sinatra’s L’Aldila Ristorante
355 Cassadaga Rd, Lake Helen, FL 32744
(386) 218-3806

Mi Tierra

You won’t be far off the beaten path in Orange City, where there are plenty of restaurants right off I-4. But if you are looking for a good local restaurant, Mi Tierra serves authentic Mexican food in a colorful, festive atmosphere. Sizzling fajitas, an extensive menu, great prices and irresistible margaritas.

Mi Tierra
2235 S. Volusia Ave. Orange City, FL 32763
(386) 774-1438


Swamp House Riverfront Grill

If you’re looking for a meal on the St. Johns River, this place has a second-floor view of the river from Highbanks Marina. It’s not far off the beaten path, but it feels like it! The full name is The Swamp House River Front Grill and the Happy Snapper Tiki Bar. With all manner of fish dishes, wings, steaks, chicken, burgers, sandwiches and salads, there’s something for everyone. St. Johns Eco Tours is located adjacent to the restaurant, so it’s a good place to eat and take a pontoon boat tour on the historic St. Johns River.

Swamp House Riverfront Grill
488 W Highbanks Rd., DeBary, FL 32713
(386) 668-8891

Osteen’s Diner

There’s nothing quite like being out on a rural stretch of road, you’re hungry, and you find a welcome oasis of good comfort food. Some places are not only places to get a good meal, they are cultural attractions. Osteen’s Diner is such a place. It wasn’t long ago, that they only accepted cash.

Osteen’s Dinner
195 S State Rd 415, Osteen, FL 32764
(407) 323-6469

Gators Riverside Grille

Since this scenic highway is named for the St. Johns River, it’s nice to find those out-of-the-way places on the river. Gators Riverside Grille will put you right on the river. Located on the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor on the eastern edge of Sanford, the restaurant is south of Lake Monroe on the St. John’s River. With outdoor seating over the river, regular entertainment, and a distinct local feel, this is a genuine Florida establishment. Fish is their specialty with shrimp, oysters, clams, mussels, crabs legs; they also serve gator bites, wings, cheesesteaks and salads. Open seven days a week and easily accessible by either car or boat.

Gators Riverside Grille
4255 Peninsula Point, Sanford, FL 32771
(407) 688-9700

Genuine Bistro & Lounge

Located right on the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor in Debary, the Genuine Bistro
The executive chef, Tommy Vitek built an impressive resume before coming here after a couple of decades in the Orlando area and at a couple of fancy country clubs. Billed as a place where “the locals go,” Genuine Bistro has a nice selection of American fare and a full bar.

Genuine Bistro & Lounge
2 S. Charles Richard Beall Blvd, DeBary, FL 32713
(386) 320-0217

Angel’s Soul Food and BBQ

If soul food is your preference, and you’re in the Sanford area, Angel’s Soul Food and BBQ, according to some folks, is “the best soul food you’ll ever find. It may look like a hole in the wall, but when it comes to good food off the beaten path, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Genuine soul food, huge portions, and a great price.

Angel’s Soul Food and BBQ
114 S Sanford Ave, Sanford, FL 32771
(407) 302-6167

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