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Florida Guide > Dining

It was our daughter who first took us to Ruby Tuesday. Having worked in the Miami area for a year she had visited many restaurants, and this was one she had enjoyed. We had spent a fantastic day at Busch Gardens and decided to visit the Mall at Brandon Town Centre, which is a short distance away. By the time we got there we were pretty hungry, and to our surprise we found a Ruby Tuesdays right at the entrance, so in we went, and we found it to be excellent value.

The chain of restaurants known as Ruby Tuesday was founded in 1972 by Sandy Beall and four colleagues from the University of Tennessee. They wanted somewhere where they could have a good time with friends and family, as well as eating good food. They now have 800 restaurants world wide, and this year have opened more in places as far apart as India, Trinidad, Kuwait, and Hawaii. There are several in the Orlando area, including one on the 192, one on South Orange Blossom Trail, in Clermont and in the Florida Mall. They have certainly succeeded in offering good food at a great price, and are now one of the largest chains of casual dining restaurants which offer grill and bar style of eating.

You can’t miss Ruby Tuesday, with its brick exterior, red blinds and huge red letters above the entrance. We have always found them welcoming and friendly. The style of décor is very similar to that of Bennigans, tables for 4 and low slung lamps overhead. However, Ruby Tuesdays provides a large salad bar where you can fill a bowl with salad if you order an entrée. There is fresh green salad, broccoli, garden peas, tomatoes, pasta, beans, eggs, broccoli and other vegetables, fruits, gourmet toppings and dressings, as well as a medley of cheeses. You can even order a combo which consists of soup or a loaded baked potato combined with the salad bar, if you can’t manage a full meal.

Starters include loaded cheese fries – what a plate full! – coconut shrimp, nachos, buffalo wings, quesadilla, spring rolls and Asian dumplings, as well as chicken tenders. If you like burgers then you will love Ruby Tuesday’s. They offer a huge range of 36 burgers, made with 100% USDA choice ground beef, or turkey, chicken or fish, and of course there are veggie burgers. However, a low fat option is their bison burger, with a variety of fillings, which is something my daughter always orders. I was quite curious the first time she ordered this, but it looks just the same as a normal burger. A recent addition is ‘Ruby’s Minis’ which consists of 4 mini burgers topped with cheese and onion straws. But if you are really hungry then go for the ‘Ultimate Colossal Burger’, made with two half pound burgers on a triple decker bun – if you can eat that you may well pop!

I must admit that I enjoy their steaks, top sirloin, juicy ribeye, or a steak and coconut shrimp combo, all served with fries, or a baked potato and freshly steamed broccoli. However, they are big, so I tend to go for the Petit Sirloin as this is just enough for me. Their plentiful platters include ‘Hang off the Plate Ribs’ an accurate description of this huge portion of premium baby back ribs. Of course there is seafood, pasta and salad and soups, and if you are still hungry there are desserts to finish with.

Our favourite dessert is their fantastic brownie, which is served hot, and is topped with ice cream and drenched in chocolate sauce. It’s mouth-watering and we often can only manage to share one – but of course they don’t mind you doing that! We have yet to sample their chocolate tall cake, which is ideal for the chocoholics. With layered chocolate cake, chocolate mousse made with Oreo cookies, drenched in caramel and chocolate sauce and topped with ice cream and mounds of whipped cream you will put on the inches just looking at it. We have promised ourselves that we will leave room for their ‘Blondie’ dessert next time. This is a warm cookie packed with nuts and chocolate chips, topped with ice cream and caramel sauce. Mmmm, mouth watering.

Unusually, you can try a smoothie. Our favourites are the strawberry or supreme, which is a mixture of peach, strawberry and mixed berry – delicious! There are ‘Java Freezes’ made with coffee, and of course Margaritas and Cocktails. Refills of flavoured teas, lemonade, fountain drinks, iced tea and coffee are free.

Children are not forgotten, with a menu to suit them. They can choose from mini cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, pasta or the salad bar, and of course a beverage is included. Mashed potatoes or broccoli can be ordered instead of fries.

We find that a trip to Ruby Tuesday after shopping at the Florida Mall is an ideal way to end the day, so why not try it next time you are down that way?

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Page added on: 7 June 2006
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