Marlow's Tavern: Comfort Food in Florida's Backyard
Florida is one of the southern most states in the United States, but it has not always been deemed an authentically culturally southern state. States like Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and the Carolina's are known for their southern hospitality, culinary delights, and unique Southern culture. If you're a Floridian, and your yearning for some Southern comfort food, you don't need to look much further than Central Florida. Central Florida has become home to the quickly growing "Marlow's Tavern." Marlow's Tavern is a southern chain that has crept its way through the southern states and left a huge impression on the Central Florida community.
My husband and I stopped by the Marlow's Tavern in Winter Park, FL. We thought it was so cool that they converted an old McDonald's location into this really unique restaurant. The former ordering counters and seating areas were now a blur as the restaurant hosted a dimly lit room that had booths and tables for couples, families, and friends to enjoy a nice meal. As we walked to the former playhouse, we quickly realized that Marlow's Tavern turned this area into an adult casual lounge. There were couches to hang out with your friends and dine with food placed on the coffee table. In addition, there was a innovative tavern atmosphere with regular tables and a high top area. It looked like a great place to host a private dinner or a party. Marlow's Tavern is a combination of casual dining and bar food, with a twist of sophistication.
Marlow's Tavern has a nice assortment of craft cocktails, wines, beers, and non-alcoholic beverages. Their craft cocktails are very unique because they have southern drinks with a modern flare like the "New Fashioned," "Blueberry Buck," the "Southern Charmer, and the "Prickly Pear Margarita." They've taken traditional Southern drinks and added a pop of flavor and a Marlow twist. The options are vast and truly distinctive.
We started off with appetizers. This was my favorite part of my meal! Marlow's Tavern offers some of the best comfort appetizers ! I was blown away by the "Hot & Sweet" chicken wings. They come with a house-made Gorgonzola sauce that will make you close your eyes with each dip. It is absolutely incredible! Sauces like these make me want to go to the kitchen and jot down the recipe. I can honestly place Marlow's Tavern wings on my list for top 5 wings that I have ever had! We got the "Classic Buffalo Style" and the "Honey Mustard" wings. Go with the "Classic Buffalo Style!" They're both good, but the traditional classic style's flavor is a home run every time.
Then, we had the "Shrimp & Crab Nacho Plate." This was a unique dish because there was no need to dip your nachos with this dish. Each nacho was already covered with shrimp, crab, pepper jack cheese, and fresh jalapeno. Our last starter was "J.T.'S Kettle Chips." I have had a recent love for kettle chips. So, when I saw it brought out with Gorgonzola cheese, bacon, roma tomato, and scallion I think my stomach leaped for joy. It was like eating a a loaded baked potato with kettle chips instead of the potato.
For our entrees, I ordered the "Shrimp & Grits." I really liked that it came with a grit cake instead of a plate of grits. The grit cake is covered with sauteed spinach, roma tomato, shallot and roast tomato. The crispiness of the grit cake offers a nice texture to the entree. I really enjoyed this meal. The only thing I would have changed is I would of preferred larger shrimp. My husband ordered the "Black & Blue Steak." It came with beef tenerloin, crips field greens, roma tomato carpaccio, scallion, silvered pickled red onion, crumbling Gorgonzola, and creamy Gorgonzola dressing.
We were too full to eat dessert! However, we are looking forward to returning. We heard that they have a "Fried Banana Split" and a "Classic Creme Brulee" that you don't want to overlook.
Overall, the restaurant was very impressive. They must of known that I have a gorgonzola weakness! It is refreshing to know that the food is made fresh with local ingredients. They take pride in prepping the food each day to make sure that the customers have the best possible experience each evening. The manager and servers are so hospitable. You can sense the southern charm. The price is extremely reasonable, especially for the amount of care placed in each dish. Marlow's Tavern is definitely a place that won't break the bank and will leave you more than satisfied with your meal. I can't speak for the other Marlow Tavern locations, but the Winter Park (Orlando) location is a must try.
Would I recommend it: Yes! Bring some friends or family and go in on the appetizers! You'll be glad you stopped by.