So, we are always looking for new and innovative places to eat. The Pantry in Auburndale is new, innovative and already may well be one of the best restaurants in Polk County.
We first heard about this place on the Polk County Restaurants & Reviews Facebook page. Fortunately, we already were headed in that general direction on another errand. So we decided to hop off US 27 and head west on Hwy 17-92 and try it out.
Our little trip turned out to be a tasty one.
Locating the Pantry
Although it’s worth the trip, it’s not easy to find. Thank The Lord for our GPS. The Pantry is located on an outparcel of the Auburndale Wal-Mart location. We were directed to the west side of the property and immediately found a parking spot.
Inside we found a spacious dining area. They also feature a party room where patrons can hold special events. The walls are decorated with historic pictures of the city. The Pantry bills itself as “A Modern Diner” and it is just that. Unlike many diners it is open from 6am until 10pm.
Those who follow us know that we look for restaurants that pay attention to the fare they serve. For us, it was easy to see that the owners were working hard at just that. They bring their customers a great dining experience.
When we arrived, the hostess greeted us and called our waitress – who then took us directly to our table. Candice (our waitress) then gave us our menus and took our drink orders. We first got our drinks, then were presented with a surprise appetizer. It was a pair of biscuits with individual dollops of strawberry-infused butter, blueberry-infused butter and regular butter.
I can eat breakfast for any meal, so I ordered a spinach, mushroom and tomato omelet – which also included onions, Swiss cheese and an avocado spread. My home fries also came with a sprinkling of onion and green bell pepper.
My wife opted for the “Build a Basket” option. Her chicken sandwich came with Swiss cheese and a brioche bun that was simply delicious (yes, I got a bite). The spring mix salad that came with it was as large as some dinner salads. Moreover, the balsamic vinaigrette dressing was very light and flavorful.
This was as delicious a lunch as we have had anywhere. Moreover, it came at a good pricepoint.
Browsing their menu makes us want to come back and try other selections. Breakfast orders encompass a wide array of egg combinations, omelets, skillets and offerings from the griddle. Lunch options range from soup & salad, to burgers, sandwiches and entrees.
They also have a sweet choice of sides and appetizers. I intend to get an order of “gator bites” on our next visit. I also noted they offer “fried cape shark,” meaning I potentially could get two predators in one meal.
Seriously, the quality of the food and excellent service is the kind of thing that encourages us to return and bring some friends. But admittedly we have to hurry – this place has received overall rave reviews.
In addition to our biscuit – another nice surprise came at the end of the meal. Candice dropped off a pair of complimentary snickerdoodle cookies, wrapped in a special envelope and sealed with a signature sticker.
The Pantry had been open less than a week when we visited. It was bustling with service help. One of the managers stopped by to chat with us about the current menu and future plans. Our waitress Candice also did a great job promoting the restaurant while being a great server.
And if you want to take some of The Pantry home with you, (besides the cookies), they also have signature jams and jellies for sale.
This really is a destination location and certainly on its way to being one of the best restaurants in Polk County.