What a breakfast! Fried eggs and a buttermilk biscuit,  topped with fried chicken and gravy.

The Orlando food scene is growing steadily. When I first moved to the area more than a decade ago, most of my favorite places to eat (The Ravenous Pig, Prato, Cask & Larder, East End Market, Kabooki Sushi and so many more) weren't even in existence. My choices were mainly to eat at home or a chain restaurant. That is, until I found Dexters.

Regular and sweet potato chips.
Dexters has four locations: Winter Park, Thornton Park, Windermere and Lake Mary. Dexters has been around (at least the Winter Park location) for as long as I've been in Florida. Their website states 25 years. I know I've been a regular at the Winter Park location since 2004 and for good reason. This is solid, fresh, well-made food that never disappoints. There aren't any flashy trends or fancy menu items, just quality American cuisine in a relaxed and charming environment. I haven't been to the Lake Mary or Windermere locations, but Thornton park offers the same food and ambiance with a slightly younger crowd and a slightly louder atmosphere.

First, let's talk about the food. I eat at Dexter's most often for lunch, but their main menu is the same all the time, while brunch and dinner menus are usually separate attachment sheets based on the specials they are serving that day. Sunday Brunch is always a tasty option as well.

The standard menu includes salads, sandwiches, and a couple of traditional entrees, but daily offerings always include fresh pastas and more.  The salads are some of the best in town and honestly, if I'm looking to eat a large salad for lunch, topped with a big piece of grilled fish or chicken, it's my first choice every time. In particular I'm a fan of their Summer Spinach Salad with grilled chicken, or the Mahi and Sun-dried Cranberries Salad.

The sandwiches are substantial and well made. My husband favors the Dexter's Special, smoked turkey and gouda with their lava mustard on french bread, but often orders the daily specials, from pulled pork to Muffulettas and French Dips.

Sandwich of the day - French Dip. Yes, please.
The wine list isn't special, but has plenty of reliable choices. I'd skip their cheese plate (other places do it better) but the homemade potato and sweet potato chips are not to be missed. Wednesday through Saturday nights feature live music and I have several friends who go every Tuesday night for the $1 burgers.

Dexters of Winter Park (check out their website for the other locations)
558 W. New England Ave.
Winter Park, FL 32789

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