Home for a long weekend means plenty of catching up with family and enjoying the sticky Florida sunshine. We combined both with a promise to our mom for a belated Mother's Day gift- lunch at a restaurant of her choice. She chose one of her favorites- The Ivy House, a down-home Southern restaurant situated in a classic two-story country home, complete with wrap-around porch.
Invited in with a "How are ya'll doin' today?", we claimed a table in one of the front rooms downstairs. A short list of specials accompanies a relatively simple lunch menu- this place knows what they're good at and they stick to it.
I couldn't turn down the opportunity for a glass of ice-cold "Good Ole Southern Ice Tea" ($1.79), served in a goblet with that perfect pelleted crushed ice and plenty of sugar. A glass of this might kill a diabetic, but for me it hit the spot.
My mom didn't even need to look at the menu, ordering the "Baked Krispy Chicken" ($9.99) off the list of specials. The thin chicken breast coated in Rice Krispies and baked to juicy perfection is a staple, but the sides it is served with change frequently. The plate reminds me of my plate at Thanksgiving- a little scoop of just about everything. A small green salad, the end of a baked sweet potato, a slice of cornbread casserole, a buttery roll, baked okra, southern style white beans, and a creamy penne mac n' cheese... a real Southern meal. At first I was turned off by their seeming indecisiveness, but getting to try so many different things in one meal is pretty special.
Another dish on the specials menu caught my eye- the fried shrimp spinach wrap. There was a real identity crisis here- the large green salad and spinach wrap (c'mon, it has spinach in it!) say "healthy!" but the huge chunks of battered and fried shrimp and thick smear of mayonnaise say quite the opposite. The contradiction was quite delicious- a light and fresh batch of veggies alongside a good bit of decadence.
The fried shrimp were incredible- seriously enormous and perfectly fried- and the combination of the soft tortilla, crunchy lettuce ribs, and creamy mayo was a great mix of textures and flavors.
With the motto "Come on Home It's Supper Time," the ambiance, service, and most importantly, the food at the Ivy House really make you feel like you're eating at home- nothing too fancy, plenty of comfort food, and lots of Southern goodness. The front porch is so inviting- a little less humidity and I'd be dining there in a heartbeat. I'm sure we'll be back next time we make the trip home!
The Ivy House