There are times when we are out and about that we run into some interesting places to eat. Some are off the beaten track and known mostly by locals, where word of mouth draws in curious visitors. Others are located on the main roads and hold some historic distinction. In this week’s Florida Eats, we made a stop at Cherry Pocket on the banks of Lake Pierce in Lake Wales.
From their décor to their newspaper-style menu, Cherry Pocket is one of those hidden gems. The restaurant’s website touts the efforts by the current owners to keep it a unique “old Florida” place to visit. The name Cherry Pocket, as legend tells it, comes from the two original property owners in the late 1940s, one of whom was named Cherry. The “Pocket” part of the name was derived from the way the property sat on the canal (the owners thought it looked like a pocket).
For folks who live in the area, Cherry Pocket is one of those laid-back kinds of restaurants they frequent regularly. It’s a place for them to drop in for lunch or dinner or even just a drink. The décor is comfortable and unassuming. Dollar bills are attached to the walls along with license plates from around the country. Fishing poles hang from the ceiling. Posted signs offer diners a suggestion or two – one in particular indicates the restaurant is a “No Whining Zone.”
If the weather is nice and you prefer to sit outside, there is an outdoor deck overlooking the canal. In the center, a boat shaped bar. Grab a stool and enjoy a drink.
The restaurant bills itself as a “steak, seafood shak and oyster bar.” From the appetizers to the entrees, the food is made from fresh ingredients and is cooked to order. The desserts are all homemade.
On our visit, we tried a few of the starters – the Cracker Platter and the Seafood Nachos. Let’s just say the nachos were to die for!
A word of advice for newbies to the restaurant. Don’t be in a hurry. Since the food is made to order, it may take a little longer. Just sit back, enjoy a drink, an appetizer and a friendly conversation.
Cherry Pocket is not just a restaurant. It is also a fishing “resort” offering rental cabins, RV hookups and boat slips. Stay for a night, a week, or a month. The cabins are fully furnished and include utilities and cable TV. Make sure to call ahead to make reservations.
If you’ve never been to Cherry Pocket, just a reminder this restaurant truly is off the beaten path. Rather than providing directions, it’s best for you to map it out from your location. When you get there, make sure to ask for the Cherry Pocket Times. Not only does it have the menu, but also a few “fish stories” you’ll want to read.
Cherry Pocket is located at:
3100 Canal Road
Lake Wales, FL 33898