Favorite Florida pit stops at an iconic diner on US17.
Leaving Southwest Florida by car, often requires hours of driving. Pit stops are inevitable and serve as inspiration for this travel series. Favorite Florida Pit Stops looks at places to literally pull off the side of the road for a break and a bite along the state’s main corridors. I write about food and wine for several publications, and have a passion for mom and pop restaurants. I seek them out when on the road.
A popular route to central Florida is US17. It’s easy to pick up from I-75 in Punta Gorda where this great pit stop is located. Winter Haven is further north on 17. About 20 minutes before you hit I-4 is Andy’s Igloo Drive-In. You can’t miss it. The diner has been there since 1951 when it was surrounded by orange groves. As locals tell the story, it was so iconic that when US17 was planned, it was rerouted to protect the diner.
What to order at the iconic diner
It has a retro, homey feel. The menu is full of comfort food like burgers, pot roast, catfish, fish baskets, even liver and onions. I ordered the Steakette Burger. Regulars rave about it, however, mine was not juicy as promised. It was a bit overcooked.
That being said, everyone else enjoyed their food. And three of those “everyones” were my nephews, ages 10 and under. They can be a tough crowd. Although they did know that ice cream would follow if they ate their meals, they still professed to like their food. The coleslaw was excellent. The mac and cheese also got a thumbs up. In addition, one of the boys even ate green beans!
Finally, the ice cream. We left our cozy inside booth for the walk up window outside. The treats did not disappoint. The portions were generous and we all fell into a sugar coma shortly afterwards.
In conclusion, Andy’s Igloo is a fun stop. From the vintage décor, to the friendly staff, to the variety of food. It’s a feel good place for the entire family. If you have any favorite Florida pit stops, let me know here.