Linger Lodge and RV Resort - Bradenton, Florida
Linger Lodge, Bradenton, Florida
It was a lunch date with the in-laws. My wife Janis’s Uncle Gilbert and Aunt Effie were picking us up at 10:00AM for a drive to the Sarasota - Bradenton area where we would meet up with the wife’s cousin, Alan, and his charming wife Kyla. It would be an opportunity for Alan and Kyla to show the lovely home they have made for themselves. For lunch, Alan had selected a local establishment with a unique reputation and a long and interesting history, The Linger Lodge.
At the end of a long, lonely sand road on a curve in the Bradenton River, it all began as a campground in 1945. It became quite popular and soon became a fishing lodge. It still has that look of Florida’s lurid roadside attractions; alligator wrestling and the like. Over the years it built a restaurant and spaces for RV’s becoming an RV Resort. The décor still harkens back to the early days. Some famous people have preceded me; Al Roker called it “one of the top five weird places,” and Forbes has rated it as the most unusual. That is just the décor. Don’t let it put you off. The setting is idyllic, the food is good, and the service is friendly.
Counting back, this would be my third visit to the Linger Lodge. A friend and I went there some years a
go to get some Florida stock photo images. The bend of the river with
the overhanging oaks and hanging Spanish moss is very photogenic. A year or so later, 2007, we stopped in for lunch after visiting the Fiorelli Winery, another of our favorite places in the Bradenton – Sarasota area. It looked the same just as it looks the same on this visit. And that is the Linger Lodge kitsch; the look of Florida of half a century ago.
We arrived a bit after the lunch hour and the crowd was thin. We were immediately taken to a nice, large, round table on the screened veranda overlooking the Braden River. The breeze coming across the river and through the screen made us comfortable that otherwise would have been a typically torrid Florida afternoon. Our waitress was immediately there, telling us about the daily specials, taking our beverage and appetizer order. Pepsi products are the order of the day at the Linger Lodge. We sipped our drinks while we scanned the menu.
Then menu has most of the regular items you would expect as well as several that speak of the history of Linger Lodge. For example, the River Platter Basket ($15.99) offers battered fried fis
h, chicken fried frog legs and fried gator. It is served with coleslaw and fries or hush puppies. There are soups, salads, sandwiches, seafood, pasta, chicken and some barbecue. Even if you shy from the exotic offerings, there is still a large selection to choose from and I’m sure everyone can find something to their liking.
The appetizers arrived. Everyone was given a saucer and napkin. There was a nice basket of nicely browned fried green tomatoes ($6.99 Served with remoulade sauce) and a basket of fried onion rings ($6.99 A basket of black and tan ale battered onion rings served with Linger’s own Venom sauce
). The fried green tomatoes were slightly crispy but the tomato still had a nice texture. The remoulade sauce was a good pairing; it was also a good sauce for the onion rings. I was busy sampling the onion rings with the remo
ulade sauce that I missed sampling the Venom Sauce. Maybe next time… The onion rings had a nice crispy fried batter, fluffy like but a bit heavier than a tempura; very good.
The popular dish of the day was the fish and chips basket ($9.99 Fish and chips served with coleslaw and fries or hush puppies
.) Aunt Effie ordered her with hush puppies. Uncle Gilbert ordered his with French fries. Alan ordered his with French fries and hush puppies. The fish servings were adequately large, well batterd and fried a nice golden brown. Everyone gave it the thumbs up for flavor. The fries were the skin on variety where many of the fries have a bit of the skin on after cutting. They were hot and crispy, fried a nice golden brown. The hush puppies, about golf all sized, were fried a crispy and brown. It looked like about five hush puppies to the
order. Effie said hers were very good. Each of the fish and chips baskets came with a side of coleslaw, a serving of tartar sauce and a wedge of lemon.
Kyla ordered the Linger House Salad ($6.99) It was a nice lettuce mixture, with chunks of tomato, slices of cucumber, some red onion slices and grated cheese. The salad dressing was served on the side in two individual portion containers. Kyla though it was Italian dressing. When she tasted it she had a definite taste of pineapple and she found it very appealing. She enjoyed her salad.
Janis ordered the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich ($8.99 Pulled pork on a Kaiser roll with BBQ sauce. The sandwiches are served with your choice of homemade Old Bay potato chips or coleslaw and
a pickle. French fries are $1.00 extra
). There was a good portion of the house cooked potato chips. Golden brown and crispy, they looked good. Janis said they were. There was a good-sized portion of the pulled pork, moistened with BBQ sauce but not sopping. The Kaiser roll was fresh and served undressed. There was a ¼ wedge of dill pickle. Janis said that her sandwich was very good and she was happy that she made a good choice.
I chose the Braden River Burger ($7.99 A half pound of fresh ground beef chargrilled and served with lettuce, tomato, and onion. Add .50 for American, Swiss, blue or provolone cheese or bacon. As before, sandwiches are served with a choice of Old Bay chips or coleslaw and a pickle. French fries $1.00 extra.
) I asked for Swiss cheese, the burger cooked medium well (I don’t think it is a good idea to order ground meat rare when you don’t know the source) and I chose French fries. I do have a weakness for hamburgers but it is a good test of the restaurant’s kitchen. If they can’t make a decent burger then
the rest of the menu is in serious doubt. My hamburger was served open faced and a very nice presentation. The burger patty was a nice uniform patty with well defined grill marks. The lettuce leaves were crisp and fresh and certainly not skimpy. There was a nice thick slice of beefsteak tomato and a nice slice of red onion. That was topped off with a ¼ spear of dill pickle. The sandwich was accompanied with a nice portion of golden brown French fries.
The requested Swiss cheese was nicely melted on top of the burger patty. The meat was cooked through as asked and had a nice charbroiled flavor. There were condiments on the table but were not needed. The patty was moist and the fresh lettuce and tomato provided adequate moisture. The bun was substantial and I was able to eat the burger to the last bites without the bun falling apart. The French fries were hot and crispy. I ate them with a minimum of salt and forbade the ketchup. I thoroughly enjoyed my burger and fries; they were very good.
was a leisurely lunch. There was animated conversation about good time
s at family get-togethers in time long ago. The sun was warm but the breeze across the river was refreshing making for a comfortable afternoon. The waitress stopped by at intervals to see what was needed, refilling beverage glasses without being asked. It was a family gathering but it was as comfortable on the Linger Lodge’s veranda as if it were at the table at home; a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon with family and good food.
you plan a trip to Linger Lodge, go on line and print out a map with
the directions. Over the years neighborhoods have grown across the once straight as an arrow road to the lodge and the route is a twisty one through residential neighborhoods. For more information about the Linger lodge Restaurant and RV Resort, go to http://www.lingerlodgeresort.com/ . Enjoy!
Photographs taken with my new toy, a Pentax W90 - 12.1 MP waterproof sport camera with HD video capability. Photo stitching done with Microsoft Image Composite Editor.
Labels: braden river, bradenton, gator, linger, lodge, old time florida, rv resort, sarasota