Ker’s Wing House

Ker’s Wing House is a bar and grill style restaurant with a scantily clad staff. It may sound familiar to another chain, but the main difference is that the food here is good. They have a solid beer selection, which makes a perfect partner for their wings. Their wings come in a variety of flavors, Blackened being my favorite. Their Blackened wings are a nice mix of Cajun spices. You can also get the wings breaded, buffalo style, or naked.

Wing House offers a variety of sides as well, including fries, chili fries, onion rings, jalapeño poppers, and many more. One side they are famous for is their fried pickles, which are a nice is of sweet and tangy. The service at Ker’s is second only to the food. The only complaint that I have about the service, and Wing House in general, is that the staff comes by towards the end of your meal trying to sell you various merchandise including shot glasses, playing cards, calendars, and more. Putting up with this is a small price to pay for a great meal that will not leave you hungry.

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Tijuana Flats

Tijuana Flats is a Mexican restaurant chain started by a UCF graduate.  It is most famous for the psychedelic artwork that covers its interior, as well as its selection of hot sauces. The number of hot sauces available varies by location, but there are usually at least 10 to choose from, ranging from the mild and sweet, the the unbearably hot (at least for me). Their selection ranges from the usual tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, to flautas, enchiladas, tostadas, and more. They also have certain menu items for a limited time. You can view their entire menu on their website. Toppings include lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, fresh jalapeno peppers, sour cream, and black olives. You have the option grilled chicken, blackened chicken, re-fried beans, beef, or steak for most items on the menu as well.

It is primarily a self serve restaurant, but the staff is very helpful and will come around and refill drinks, or get you anything else you may need. I have been to at least 5 different Tijuana Flats in the area, and have received excellent service and food at all of them. I visit the one on Aloma in Winter Park most often, and I can say the staff there goes out of their way to make you happy. During my most recent visit, I accidentally dropped what was left of one of my tacos on the floor, and they offered me a new one without hesitation. That is exceptional service you don’t always see, but it is what keeps people coming back.

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O’Boys Bar-B-Q

O’Boys Bar-B-Q is a run of the mill barbecue restaurant. The food is unimpressive, but you get enough to fill you up and then some. The price matches the amount of food you get; expect to pay $10+ for lunch (including tip), but don’t expect to be satisfied with the food. We had a group of 8 people and chose to sit in the bar area rather than wait 30+ minutes for a table in the dining area. To his credit, the bartender tried his best serving us, but could have used some help considering he had to run the bar as well. We spent about 2 hours there between waiting for a table, waiting for our order to be taken, waiting to be served, and finally waiting for our food.

We had lunch there on a Friday, but that is no excuse for the poor service or food. Most places are busy on Friday’s during lunch, and should staff accordingly. The experience was unpleasant at best, and I would not recommend O’Boys Bar-B-Q. There are plenty of barbecue places in the Orlando area, all them being either cheaper or better than this place, and you won’t waste two hours of your life on one meal.

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Zaxby’s is a fast food restaurant along the same vein of Chick-Fil-A. Everything on the menu is chicken, but it is prepared in a variety of ways and flavors. Zaxby’s has chicken fingers, wings, salads and sandwiches. The wings and fingers are great, and they even have a combination platter. The Wings and Things meal comes with 5 wings, 3 chicken fingers, french fries, and a slice of Texas toast. With a drink, it costs less than $10 and could feed even the hungriest of appetites.

Their wings come in a variety of flavors, nothing particular to Zaxby’s, but tasty none-the-less. Zaxby’s has their own special Zax sauce, which is basically a creamy thousand island dressing. Their french fries are crinkle cut and golden brown. I’m not sure if they are made to order, but I always get a fresh batch. It tastes great and is a perfect compliment to their moist and tender chicken fingers. You get one or two sauce packets with most meals, but have to pay extra if you want more than that. It is the one thing that turns me off about Zaxby’s, as does any place that charges for things like sauce.

Zaxby’s is an excellent place to get a variety of chicken meals, many between $5 to $6. All are tasty, but don’t expect to get a healthy meal here. There are not many locations so it may be difficult to find one close by, but it is worth the drive to eat here.

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Mellow Mushroom

Mellow Mushroom is more than just a pizza place; it is an experience. From its variety of gourmet pizza recipes, to its large beer selection, and its delicious appetizers, Mellow Mushroom will leave you satisfied and coming back for more. Mellow Mushroom uses all fresh, organic ingredients, whole wheat flour and spring water to make the dough, and a parmesan covered crust. It’s has a hippie atmosphere, but not to much to get in the way of making amazing food.

The garlic bread, garlic cheese bread, and soft pretzels are all excellent choices for appetizers. Both breads come with marinara sauce for dipping. The pretzels come in three flavors, salt, garlic and parmesan, and honey and cinnamon sugar. All are excellent, but I would recommend the garlic and parmesan for an appetizer, and the honey and cinnamon sugar for dessert. Mellow Mushroom also has a large variety of craft beers on tap, and a full bar. The beer selection is ever changing so be sure not to wait until next time to try one. They make it very easy to try a bunch of different beers at once with their paddles, which are 3-4 4oz beers of your choice.

Let’s get to the main reason you go to Mellow Mushroom, the pizza. Even a plain cheese pizza is good, but the great stuff is the house recipes. You can view their menu online to see everything they offer. Most pizza places have their own recipes, but Mellow Mushroom’s are unlike any other. I haven’t had them all yet, but the ones that stand out that I have personally tried are, the “Caesar! Caesar!”, with in pesto chicken, provolone, mozzarella, and feta cheeses, and then topped with a Caesar salad and Roma tomatoes. It is quite out of the ordinary, but delicious and refreshing; a nice mix of hot pizza and cold salad. The “Funky Q Chicken”, which is a barbecue chicken pizza, with caramelized onions and bacon. Others may offer a barbecue chicken pizza, but not like this one. The “Magical Mystery Tour” is a must for mushroom lovers. Lastly, the “Buffalo Chicken” pizza is topped with buffalo chicken, caramelized onions, bacon, and mozzarella cheese, and the sauce is ranch dressing based, rather than tomato.

Mellow Mushroom overs several other house recipes that I’ll let you discover on your own. You can also make your own from their laundry list of ingredients. They also have calzones, salads, and deli and grilled subs. I haven’t been able to separate myself from the pizza to try any of these items, but I imagine they are excellent as well.

Overall, Mellow Mushroom is a pizza place unlike any other. Everything on their menu is fresh and delicious. Their beer selection will always have something different for you to try. Their service is always helpful and more than polite. Nothing there is cheap. It’s about $10/person, but it is worth it. You will leave satisfied, and probably with some leftovers.

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