On the west coast of the Sunshine State, nestled in the mangroves with the animals it serves, is the Linger Lodge Restaurant. Probably the most bizarre eatery in the United States; Linger Lodge Restaurant in Bradenton, Florida was originally just a woodsy camp site perched on the Braden River. Voted one of the top 10 most unusual restaurants in the world by Forbes Magazine in 2007, Linger Lodge offers up both typical down home southern fare along with their “Road Kill Menu” featuring such items as Guess that Mess, Swirl of Squirrel, Chunk of Skunk, and Bat Cocktail. The ambiance is just as kitschy. See a cryptozoologist’s dream as you walk past the displays of the Blub-Billed Orthlock, the Jackalope, and the Turkey Rattler. Truly delicious food at reasonable prices with sweet southern hospitality, you just can’t go wrong.
Although Linger Lodge has a sizable indoor main dining room, to really experience “Old Florida” you will want to sit over on one of the two screened in porches that look out onto the river. Massive tracts of condominiums and malls have made backwoods beauty like this hard to find in Florida in recent years. Day time dining will likely afford you views of heron, turtles, and egrets while sunset and night time might allow you a glimpse of the imposing American Alligator! Clearly though the atmosphere is a huge draw, most people come here for the delicious food. After you peruse the parody “Road Kill Menu”, you’ll be ready to check out the real menu which has traditional southern items like fried catfish and barbeque ribs together with more exotic choices such as fried green tomatoes, alligator tail, and frog legs. For those not feeling adventurous, there are always the standards on hand like onion rings, burgers, and club sandwiches. Everything here is wonderfully prepared and served with a smile. And of course you’re going to want to wash everything down with a big ol’ glass of sweet tea.
Linger Lodge restaurant is notoriously hard to find, so make sure you call ahead for the best directions there. Online map searches often lead prospective diners the wrong way, and this is definitely not a place you want to miss. Just south of Sarasota, families on vacation have found this to be a great place to bring the kids as its palatable menu, crazy décor, and comfortable ambiance all lend themselves to a family friendly environment. It is also nice for couples looking for something a little quirkier but still beautiful to behold. Linger Lodge caters to both the cynic and the romantic with their appetizing offerings, fun atmosphere, and hospitable staff. Open six days a week (closed on Mondays), it is a great dining stop for anyone looking for a walk on the wild side.