We were camping in Bahia Honda State Park last week on a trip from NY to KEy West and were talking to our neighbors about Q. We mentioned that about 5 years ago while on a time share pitch in Orlando - the salesmen when he realized we weren't buying (went for the free tickets) sat back and started talking food with us - he was an old timer and a native (unusual - it seemed to us) and told us about Jimbo;s in Lakeland - thought it was a long drive from Orlando - but being true hounds (way before we ever knew about this site) we jumped on the details and hightailed it over for some mighty tasty Q. Well cut back to last week - these guys were from Clearwater and thought nothing of jumping on the bike to drive 80 miles for the BBQ at Chocktaw Willies - Route 50 (west of Orlando) in Groveland.
So we once again made food the focus of our journeys and detoured off the route home (95) to go for it.
Started out from Delray (next stop after the keys for us) at 6:00 am and were worried that we might get there too early for lunch or worse yet they might be closed or gone - was it an urban legend or was it for real....
Made a few pit stops and thrift store breaks (got a great 1950's everyday china set at the Salvation Army, etc) and rolled into Groveland at 11:00 - thinking how will we find this place (vague directions) Well there was a big old highway sign - Chocktaw Willies - Exceptionally fine BBQ - located in downtown Groveland.
Being from a big city - we wondered if downtown would be apparent enough - no need of course to worry - kept on driving and sure enough there it was in the cluster of shops and stuff - and it was now 11:15 - they opened at 11:00 -
Walk in - fairly big place with lots of tables and boothes - a few tables already occupied but plenty of choices - sit down look at menu and cann't decide what to order, so basically we ordered a bit of everything. Waitress explains that the bbq is dry with vinegar based sauces on the side - there are 4 sqeeze bottles on the table and she brings over 2 more fancy packaged bottles (they bottle and sell their own sauces) for us to try.
Explained to waitress - who was a doll - how we happened to find the place and how excited we were and couldn't choose - so we were planning on overordering and taking the "leftovers" on the road with us. What does she recommend, yada yada
We ordered rib plate, pork plate, chicken/beef combo and catfish plate - each comes with 2 sides - cann't decide on all sides so we hold off to see what we like best (fried okra and bbq beans were the favs)
Food comes we are in heaven but hands down favorite is the ribs - big and meaty - dry with about 6 sauces to choose from on the side. The plate had 3 huge ribs - but that was not going to be enough for the three of us once we bit into them - so we call her over again and ask about ordering just ribs - a half slab is about seven and change - a full slab about fourteen. She suggests getting the kitchen to cut up half the slab to go (mind you we are three and have already gone thru most of the 4 plates).
Meanwhile she comes back and says - I was telling the owner about you guys and how you found us and he wants to buy you dessert on the house - nice touch.
we proceed to eat as much of the ribs as we can and discover a new sauce by mixing their speciality sauces together - one had an apple and cinnamon back taste - the other was somewhat curried (old west I think).
We stop by the owners table (they're eating with some friends) to say thank you, gave them our card (with accolades written on the back and proceed to go buy 5 bottles of sauce to take home. The owner comes up to us and hands us two more bottles of sauce. Our total bill was $58 plus I gave the waitress a $10 tip - because she was worth it and made a good experience GREAT - the cashiers says to us - you had our best waitress Kim - well, thank you KIM and thank you Chocktaw Willies for making 3 New York Hounds very welcome and very happy....