Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lingering Over Lunch At The Lodge

I asked my bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, this morning if she was up for a road trip to get some honest to gosh Florida swamp food. Recoiling in horror she asked, "You're not planning another trip back to that nightmare in Yeehaw Junction, are you?" "No Babe," says I, "It's a lodge on a river down toward Bradenton that serves swamp food, and it really looks safe." With a few or more misgivings she acquiesced, so off we went to the Linger Lodge.

To quote from the Linger Lodge web site: Linger Lodge began as a campground in 1945. Frank and Elaine Gamsky came down from Milwaukee, Wisconsin with their family and purchased Linger Lodge in 1968. The Lodge features a few rare and unusual "Florida Animals" among its collection. The Jackalope sits in its case not far from a Blue Billed Ortholock. The Alaskan Fur Fish is also on display. Frank was an avid animal lover, and promotes the protection of animals as one of our most important natural resources.

One of the first things we discovered on our journey was, to get to the Lodge you really have to want to get to the Lodge. Fergit Google Maps! They had us touring a couple of parking lots before we found our way. Try this: Take I75 south, take exit 217 West, bear right, at second stop light, take a left onto Tara Blvd, drive to the end of Tara Blvd approximately 2 miles to the end stop sign, take a left onto Linger Lodge Road, drive to end of Linger Lodge Road approximately 1 mile, at the stop sign take a right onto 85th Street Court East, drive approximately 2 blocks and enter our parking lot.


We made it, and it was worth the drive. The food was great, the service was beyond just great thanks to Omar, the people were friendly, and this was a paradise reminiscent of the old Florida rarely seen any longer. The Lodge restaurant was quaint and charming. We were greeted warmly.

We scurried past the resident gator...

...past the cats...

...through the bar area... our table on the screened-in back porch. Omar presented us with menus and took our drink orders. "A couple of brewskis, please, to wash away the I-75 dust." The beers arrived and were soon followed by our food choices.

My beautiful dining partner chose the fried catfish basket...a lightly battered delight, perfectly prepared with no bones and accompanied by tasty fries and a savory coleslaw.

I am still swooning over my blackened frog legs. Oh my Gawd, were those legs ever good! I had the River Platter that included the legs, a catfish fillet, and gator bites. All were blackened, all were good, but those legs...

They ain't nothin' like a good shot of leg...frog, that is. C'mon, the Lodge is a family friendly kind of place.

The Belle and I were stuffed and happy with our Linger Lodge lunch. We were even happier when our bill arrived. Four brewskis, and all of that delicious food - $48.45. Of course we tacked on a 20% gratuity for excellent service.

Linger Lodge on Urbanspoon

Linger Lodge Restaurant and Campground on Foodio54

Before heading back to SOG City, we wandered the grounds a bit.

The Lodge back porch

Braden River
Ever heard of the Braden River chain saw massacre? Me neither. But...

The 3D stuffed fish wall


  1. Looks so cool and fun! Although, I probably would've had to order a salad after walking by that many "dead-animals-as-decor". I can be a hypocrite that wayl. ;)

    1. Hi Sweet Polly,

      The animals only appear to be dead. At the stroke of midnight they all come back to life. Campers at the Lodge have reported hearing them scurrying about into the wee hours. I am also told that the Lodge has one hell of a happy hour.

      It's always a pleasure to hear from you.