If someone is new to a town, one of the most common questions they may have is – Where is a good place to grab a bite to eat Well lucky for us, Ocala has several locally owned places to chow down!I complied a list of a few of my favorites in town. I hope you get the chance to check them out and let me know what you think.
1. Ivy House – The original Ivy House is located in Williston , Fl. just east of Ocala. But lucky for Ocala, they recently opened a location right on Silver Springs Blvd. The Ivy house offers Warm Southern Hospitality and a menu graced with great comfort food. The severing sizes are gracious and the food is remarkable. The Ivy House was voted by Florida Trend Magazine as one of the best places to eat in Florida. The crispy chicken and buttermilk walnut pie is enough reason to keep coming back again and again. Visit the Ocala location at 917 E Silver Springs Blvd.
2. Mesa De Note – This place is a real gem! You would never guess given the location right on the busy Silver Springs Blvd in what used to be a small strip plaza that behind the glass walls lies fine dining in an elegant atmosphere. Mesa offers traditional Italian dishes prepared with pasta made in house. They use fresh ingredients and it shows! Pair you meal with any of the over 100 fine wines offered. Mesa was a 2012 Taste of Ocala winner and I can see why. 2436 E Silver Springs Blvd.
3. Harvest Market- A great place to grab a bite for breakfast of lunch! Located in Southeast Ocala in a residential area close to neighborhoods like The Arbors, The Vinings, Florida Orange Grove, Double Gate, Hawks Landing and more, it is well worth the hunt! Travel south on SE 36th Ave, South of Maricamp on the curve you will find this family owned produce stand and deli. All the food is prepared right in front of you with fresh ingredients. The salads and burgers are probably the best in town. You may have to wait in a line, but believe me it is worth it (and the line moves pretty fast anyways). Become a regular at this quaint little eatery. 3751 SE 36th Ave. Ocala.
4. Marks Prime Steak House and Seafood – Located on the historic downtown Ocala square, this is one of Ocala’s most upscale restaurants. Although the menu offers many delicious options, Mark’s is known for its fine quality, USDA prime beef. This is a great place to special occasions or if you really want to impress a client. The location, the food and the atmosphere is is truly PRIME!
5. Champion BBQ – This is a place locals LOVE!!! The best BBQ in town in my opinion. Chris, the pitmaster, knows what he is doing when it comes to BBQ. Champion is located off Silver Springs Blvd. west of I-75 across from Gander Mountain. The food is served out of a bright yellow BBQ trailer, so there is no indoor dining. But hey, you are eating BBQ! Grab a seat at one of the picnic tables or take a box to go. They also catering, so keep that in mind for your next gathering.
This is just a small list of some of the Ocala greats. Please come back often as I will give more information on the best of Ocala from dining, shopping, doctors and of course great neighborhoods and houses.