The Best Locally Owned Restaurants in Tallahassee, Florida

The Best Locally Owned Restaurants in Tallahassee, Florida

Impress your parents this Parents’ Weekend by taking them to the best eats in Tallahassee.

Whether this is your first Parents’ Weekend or your last, you don’t want to take your mom to Guthrie’s on a Friday night (maybe your dad, but that’s a case-to-case basis). Take them to a charming café or a fancier restaurant – if Dad’s paying, let’s go all out! If you’re struggling on finding a perfect place to eat this weekend, here are my top favorites (not in any specific order):

Jeri’s Midtown Cafe

Jeri’s is a cute and charming café with a friendly atmosphere. This café is the perfect place for brunch or lunch! They offer soups, salads, and sandwiches all with a little twist. They offer indoor and outdoor seating, so feel free to bring a furry friend. Jeri’s has a one-of-a-kind menu that has something for everyone. They have a drink menu for a Saturday or Sunday brunch and bring you complimentary pimento cheese and crackers. Jeri’s also has gluten-free and vegan options. Order ice coffee or a latte from Argonaut Coffee, located directly upstairs! Argonaut is a somewhat new coffee shop in Tallahassee and is my personal favorite. The restaurants work together to bring you the best experience, so you can order Argonaut Coffee from your table inside Jeri’s. I recommend trying their grits and apple butter – it’s to dieeee for. Jeri’s is located in Midtown and shares the building with other businesses such as Izzy Pub and Sushi (which I have yet to try!), Argonaut Coffee, and Midtown Reader (my favorite bookstore of all time!). 

Em’s Fav: The TAB sandwich, a side of apple butter and grits, and a sugar-free caramel ice latte – or a mimosa (if I’m feeling bubbly).

https://www.jerismidtowncafe.com/

Midtown Caboose

Midtown Caboose is for the burger lovers and the football fans. It is a family-friendly American restaurant with innovative burgers, sandwiches, and salads. On football weekends they play popular games on their many monitors. Midtown Caboose is famous for their peanut butter and jelly hamburger – yes, you read that right. I personally haven’t tried it (yet), but many people have told me it’s surprisingly good. Midtown Caboose offers many other award-winning signature burgers, ranging from sweet to spicy. They also have gluten-free options.

Em’s Fav: Robbie’s Revenge sandwich with sweet potato fries.

https://midtowncaboose.com/

Photo borrowed from the Midtown Caboose Instagram page, @midtowncaboose

Hopkin’s Eatery

Hopkin’s is a beloved Tallahassee staple with three locations in the city. It’s a better, homemade version of Panera with a Mom-and-Pop feel. Hopkin’s is the perfect lunch spot! They offer hot and cold sandwiches, soups, and salads all made with fresh ingredients. Their north location offers a gluten-free bread option. Hopkins’ also makes the best dessert! What makes them unique is their mint sweet tea – I strongly recommend it.

Em’s Fav: The turkey sauté sandwich with mint sweet tea.

http://www.hopkinseatery.com/

Hobbit

Don’t be fooled by the name, Hobbit isn’t a folksy Lord of the Rings themed restaurant (though that would be amazing). The famous Hobbit character may be its namesake, but the restaurant is a classic American grill with amazing wings and hamburgers. There are three locations in the Tallahassee area, but my favorite is on Pensacola Street about half a mile away from Doak Campbell Stadium. They have multiple screens always playing different sports games and events. The environment feels like a local Beef-O-Brady’s with a warmer and more genuine quality. You can sometimes find football players eating a late dinner there after a home game. It’s a Tallahassee staple!

Em’s Fav: Honey mustard wings with tater tots.

https://www.myhobbitonline.com/

La Tiendita Mexican Restaurant

If you’re craving Hispanic food, La Tiendita is the perfect place for you. Located near Midtown off of Monroe Street, La Tiendita serves authentic and amazing food in a quaint and colorful setting. They offer indoor and outdoor seating as well as a Mexican cuisine or Brazilian cuisine menu. La Tiendita also has a store inside the restaurant that sells Brazilian and Mexican candy. If you’re 21 or older, I recommend their mojitos!

Em’s Fav: Enchiladas rojas with chicken and a mojito.

https://latienditatally.com

Backwoods Crossing

Last, but definitely not least, is Backwoods Crossing, a gourmet restaurant serving fresh farm-to-table goodness. It’s the priciest restaurant on this list, but it is worth every penny! The owners of Backwoods Crossing grow their own produce on their farm as well as source their ingredients locally. Their menu is full of fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, and seafood options. Backwoods Crossing dishes are exquisite, original, and progressive. If you are looking to dazzle your parents and get a good meal, Backwoods Crossing is the place to be! It is outside of Capital Circle and resides in a quieter part of Tallahassee. Check out their website! You can see cute pictures of their farm, hens, and their garden cat, Athena.

Em’s Fav: Any of their seafood options – it’s all amazing! And their sweet potato mash.

https://www.backwoodscrossing.com/

Photo borrowed from https://www.backwoodscrossing.com/gallery?pgid=it0vkhcv-972e1066-6ca9-486d-a76a-ffe7cfb4b886

I hope one of these restaurants is a perfect fit for you and your family! When you’re eating lunch or dinner, remember the real adventure isn’t the food you’re eating, but rather the people you’re with. Savor time with your loved ones like the best dessert!

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Completely Captivating: Vacationing in North Captiva Island, FL

Completely Captivating: Vacationing in North Captiva Island, FL

Looking for a vacation destination that is stylishly off-the-grid but not entirely separate from civilization? North Captiva Island is the perfect place. 

In late July I had the opportunity to travel to North Captiva Island, FL, with some amazing friends. This wasn’t my first visit and I can surely write that it won’t be my last. I previously visited the island six years ago and was in desperate need of a North Captiva Island reset.

My vacation started with a short and peaceful ferry ride across the Pine Island Sound. One of the unique things about North Captiva Island is the lack of cars. Golf carts are the main method of transportation on the island dirt roads. It almost felt like a tribute to The Villages, a retirement community next to my hometown where many of the residents drive golf carts instead of cars.

Riding around on a six-seater golf cart is not only fun (or maybe dangerous – depends on who is driving!) time, but it is also a special way to see the tropical foliage, blooming hibiscus flowers, and brightly painted vacation houses. Keep an eye out for gopher tortoises as they cross the road. The houses are almost as vibrant as the island itself. Each one has a splash of tropical color and a catchy name. We stayed in a blue house named Manatee Manor. Having been inside several of the houses, I can safely say they are quirky and inviting – one of them even had an old elevator!

The sunset on a boat ride through Pine Island Sound.

We saw over eight manatees on our trip. If you aren’t familiar with manatees, they are sweet and gentle ocean mammals that frequent Florida’s coastline. You can often find them lingering around marinas in search of fresh water. On the last day of our trip, we saw dolphins, sea urchins, and starfish.

If you are planning to vacation in North Captiva, I strongly recommend bringing your own boat (or renting one). One of our favorite things to do was to go island hopping. We rode the pontoon boat (a luxurious, relaxed boat style) to Cabbage Key, Cayo Costa, Captiva Island, and Boca Grande. One day, we grabbed lunch at the historic Cabbage Key Inn and Restaurant, which offers quaint island charm. As a Floridian, I would classify the restaurant as a tourist trap. The prices are a little higher than a normal bar and grille, but it was a cute stop nonetheless. Cayo Costa is a remote barrier island with lush greenery and an abundance of wildlife including shorebirds, gopher tortoises, raccoons, bobcats, and even feral pigs. I recommend anchoring on Cayo Costa’s shore and lounging beachside or floating on a tube in the pristine blue waters.  This is also a perfect place to search for seashells.

If you don’t have a boat, don’t worry. North Captiva Island has plenty of beautiful beaches! Manatee Manor was a beachfront property, allowing us private beach access, but there are multiple public beaches around the four-mile-long island. Bring a chair, an umbrella, a book, and you’re set!

Captiva Island, not to be confused with North Captiva Island, is only a short boat ride away. It is home to several island restaurants, shops, and bars – some with live music. I strongly recommend having dinner at the Bubble Room, which is a bizarre and enchanting three-story restaurant. The Bubble Room is based on Old Hollywood, Christmas, and everything fantastical. The food and drinks there are amazing! If you’re claustrophobic, I suggest walking through the restaurant before committing to dine there. The rooms and seating are very tight, but each one has its own unique and dazzling theme. The Bubble Room is a must-see!

Em’s Adventure: Making new friends in beautiful places. North Captiva Island is the perfect place to unplug and focus on what is most important: family and friends. The most beautiful thing about vacation is that no matter where you go, the memories made and the laughter shared among friends and family is what you will remember most. I am so grateful for the wonderful people I stayed with and the new friends I made. It was an amazing trip that I will never forget!