Monday, March 18, 2013

More Than Just a Lunch Spot for Boaters- Annie's Bait and Tackle, Cortez, Florida

"Come see us for a taste of Old Florida" -Annie's Bait & Tackle proudly proclaims on their website.  Brian and I decided to experience Annie's for ourselves.  

Our day of boating started at 6:00 AM, entering the water from a Sarasota boat ramp.  It was supposed to be sunny and warm that day.  Instead it was windy and chilly.  Luckily I had on one of Brian's waterproof jackets or else I could not have made it!  

32 inch Redfish we caught in Brian's over-sized jacket
After getting bait under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, we finally made it to our first fishing destination around 9:00 AM.  This spot was peaceful and serene.  Then the fish started coming. We caught beautiful redfish and trout.  One after the other!  

Finally getting into character for pictures!
Brian insisted on me getting a picture with some of the fish.  Of all the years I grew up fishing with my dad, that was the first time I had ever held a fish for pictures.  They were slimmy yet serene.  Looking at their intricate fish scales with their many colors up close and into their eyes makes you well aware that there definitely is a God.  

Inside Annie's Bait & Tackle
I checked the clock and it was already 1 p.m.  It is amazing how quickly time flies when you are doing what you love with the one you love! We were famished.  Brian has been talking about how great Annie's Bait & Tackle is for months now.  After about a 5 minute boat ride, we pulled into this little hole in the wall.  The place was packed out with people of all ages....some came by boat and other by car.  

Assortment of bait and tackle
Annie's opened over 35 years ago.  The owners always dreamed of escaping the mundane life of 9-5 and purchased the shop 17 years ago.  They are a one stop shop for Florida boaters and fisherman.  Not only do they have terrific food, they also have fresh (and frozen) bait, fuel, and fishing licenses.  Additionally, they offer charter fishing, tour rides and parasailing.  

Spicy Cuban Sandwich
As we sat down, the men next to us started chatting away. My JETS sweatshirt was a conversation starter. This was because these men are from Rhode Island. They told us they always make a point to stop by Annie's while staying in Sarasota.  Brian and I decided to both order the spicy cuban. Although, Annie's is well known for their grouper sandwich and hamburgers.  

It was delicious! As we finished our meal, the Rhode Islanders headed out.  A few minutes later, the waitress dropped two "one free beer" coins in front of us.  The Rhode Islanders bought us our next round of beers!  

Local fisherman feeding pelicans at Annie's
As we were leaving, more people starting piling in.  Some were there to eat. Some were there to pick up a six pack for a boat ride.  Some were there returning from an Annie's charter fishing trip.  

 We spent the rest of the day going to different fishing spots.  I ended the day with an inshore slam- a trout, a redfish and a snook!  As we headed back to shore, the sun was setting.  It was the perfect end to a perfect day.  

Sunset at the end of the day
Make sure you stop by Annie's Bait & Tackle
Hours: 6:30 AM- 9:00 PM Daily 
Kitchen Hours: 11:30 AM- 8:00 PM Daily  
(941) 794-3580
A special thanks to Brian Sawyer for providing photos.
 Annie's Bait & Tackle on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Old Mill Tavern- Great food and great times!

Old Mill Cheeseburger
Whenever you are in Homosassa, Florida be sure to stop at the Old Mill Tavern. Old Mill Tavern is a locals favorite.  While there, a frequent customer, Bob, said: "I love it.  It is the best place in all of Florida.  The owners and staff are all very nice.  The people that come here are friendly and fun to be around." 

Old Mill Bloody Mary

Many compare Old Mill Tavern to the bar on Cheers- Where everybody knows your name and they're always glad you came.

 Some of my favorite food items are their cheeseburgers, wings and gyros.  Go there, if you want the best Bloody Mary. No other restaurant can even come close to the Old Mill Bloody Mary. Donna, a waitress, uses a secret family recipe to make the Old Mill Bloody unique. 

"My grandmother taught me how to make them," said Donna.

Donna making her family recipe Bloody Mary

Sugar Mill Ruins
Old Mill Tavern gets its name from the Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park that is next to the restaurant. The steam-driven mill operated in the 1800s.  It supplied troops with sugar products during the Civil War.  You can just walk over to the ruins before or after your delicious meal.  

Brian and I having a fun time on a Friday night at the Old Mill!
The Old Mill Tavern is a great place to go for lunch, dinner or even karaoke!  From 9:30 PM to 1:30 AM, on Fridays and Saturdays, you will find locals singing their favorite tunes and dancing with their favorite partners.  They also have great entertainment, providing customers with live music outside on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  

They know that customer service and quality of food are top priorities.  They provide you with all kinds of specials:

Drink specials: 

Buy 5 of the same drink and get the 6th one free
Happy Hour 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM daily- $1.00 draft beers and $1.75 wells and domestics
Thirsty Thursdays- 16 oz. Coors, Miller Lite for $2.00

Beer Selections at the Old Mill

Food specials:

$1.00 hot dogs on Sundays
Slaw dog with chili at the Old Mill!
$4.99 spaghetti dinner on Mondays
$10.99 prime rib (includes potato and vegetable) on Wednesdays
$7.99 hot, open-faced roast beef on Thursdays
$7.99 BBQ ribs 1/2, $11.00 full ribs on Fridays
Daily Dinner Drawing- place your receipt in the basket and win an $8.00 dinner certificate

Old Mill Gyro
Pool Specials:
Free pool on Mondays from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM

The owners, Shelly and Jon, always dreamed about opening their own restaurant/bar.  A few years ago they asked themselves, "What if we don't ever follow our dream?"  Just a few months later, they became of owners of Old Mill Tavern.

Jon and Shelly love the locals.  To give back, they partner with another restaurant and host the annual Mullet Toss.  At the Mullet Toss, real mullet fish are tossed! It is a fun and fishy event, held in July that benefits the Homosassa Elementary School. 

Rabbit- Chef Extraordinaire and fun Friday night dance partner! 
The Old Mill also offers a packaging store.  If you are in a rush or want to stay at home, you can place your order to go and also pick up a bottle of your favorite liquor or six pack of beer. 

Just call the easy to remember phone number: 628-BOOZ!

Make sure you visit Old Mill Tavern while in Citrus County, Florida. Where else can you go where everyone will know your name?

Old Mill Tavern on Urbanspoon