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Favorite Restaurants

Do you remember Gary’s Duck Inn, Chastains, Meiner’s Barbecue, Ronnie’s, Gabriel’s subs, Rossi’s Pizzeria, Lee’s Lakeside, the luncheon counters at McCrory’s Downtown and in the Winter Park Mall?

Rossi’s Pizzeria is the only restaurant still in business today, that I remember from my teen years in the early 1970’s. It was my absolute favorite pizza place.

For seafood, however, no one could top Gary’s Duck Inn at 3974 South Orange Blossom Trail. Gary’s Duck Inn was an Orlando favorite right up until it closed in 1996. It was such an Orlando landmark that there is actually a Gary’s Duck Inn photo collection at the Orange County History Center in Orlando on Central just west of the Orlando Public Library. Gary’s great food and super service is reported to have been the model for Darden’s Red Lobster seafood restaurant. I never had the desserts, always ate my fill of shrimp and flounder, but I found this recipe for their famous key lime pie.

Gary’s Duck Inn’s Key Lime Pie
6 ounces fresh or frozen lime juice
28 ounces canned sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1 (9-inch) graham cracker or chocolate-cookie crumb crust

– bring lime juice to a boil. just as it begins to boil, remove from heat and refrigerate about 15 minutes. stir lime juice into condensed milk and pour into pie shell. place in refrigerator. serve topped with whipped cream and garnish with a slice of lime.

Source: Another Taste of Florida: the Best of ”Thought you’d never ask,” by Dorothy Chapman and HeatherJ. McPherson.

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Gary's Duck Inn

Gary's Duck Inn on South Orange Blossom Trail was an Orlando tradition as was the jumbo shrimp platter. Both are featured on...

Gary's Duck Inn

This is a more recent post card of Gary's Duck Inn on South Orange Blossom Trail. 

Gary's Duck Inn

This is the view most of us remember after South Orange Blossom Trail was widened, wiping out the front parking lot.

Chastain's Restaurant

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Chastain's Restaurant

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Fred Houk Matchbooks 11

Matchbook covers from the famous Ronnies Restaurant which was located at Colonial Plaza.

Ronnie's Menu Cover

From Ronnie's Restuarant at the time they closed around 1994.

Ronnie's Menu Cover

From Ronnie's Restuarant at the time they closed around 1994.

Lee's Lakeside at Eola Park part 1

Inside of the matchbook cover from Lee's Lakeside at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando.

Lee's Lakeside at Eola Park part 2

Outside of the matchbook cover from Lee's Lakeside at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando.

Lee's Lakeside at Eola Park part 3

Outside of the matchbook cover from Lee's Lakeside at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando.

Gary's Duck Inn - Grand Re-opening 1949

Large advertisement was published in the Orlando Morning Sentinel (page 9) on August 10, 1949 announcing their grand re-opening.

Ronnie's at night - Postcard

Ronnie's Restaurant at the old Colonial Mall at  night with the neon lights. 

Interview with Fred Houk

10-20-09 interview with long time citrus professional and Central Florida resident Fred Houk. Mr. Houk spent his years on the road documenting Florida historical markers that eventually won him honors in 1987 from the Florida Cabinet. Mr. Houk participated in getting the official spelling of Lake Jesup corrected to use only one "s" (after General Thomas Sidney Jesup). Retired now, Mr. Houk has amassed the largest matchbook collection in the state of Florida.




10-21-09 Mike Worrell and Charlie Hoeck Int Pt 10 (Ronnie's Restaurant)



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Ronnie's Restaurant Menu

Ronnie's Restaurant menu cover. This is the bottom  half the a Ronnies Restaurant Menu from about 1994 when the closed.


Gary's Duck Inn Re-Opens

Gary's Duck Inn Reopens Today

    Gary's Duck Inn, popular restaurant at 3974 S. Orange Blossom Tr, will be reopened today following an extensive remodeling program.

    The remodeled restaurant now has a modern air-conditioned dining room on the North side and a small private dining room in addition to the improved and redecorated original dirning room on the South.

    The bar has been lengthened 12 feet, and a comfortable lounge has been installed, seating 28 [at] pullman booths and 12 at tables.

    In addition, kitchen space has been tripled, and new equipment and accessories have been installed, among them a stainless steel service counter costing $2,700 alone. Parking space has been increased four times.

    Gary Starling, owner, said yesterday the remodeling was designed to make the restaurant a "homey, comfortable, clean place where customers can enjoy good food at reasonable prices."


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