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Florida Guide > Dining

The New Food Outlets at the Florida Turnpike Service Plazas Part 1

We have been travelling down the Florida Turnpike for many years, and have found it to be an excellent road to Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Every 45 miles or so there is a plaza where you can get petrol, food and beverages, gifts, and information. However, we have noticed, over the years, that the service areas have got more and more in need of updating.

So it was with great interest that, on a recent visit, we noticed that major refurbishment had started. One service area was already closed, apart from its gas station, and changes to the food outlets had already taken place. Whilst the other service plazas had not been updated, some food outlets had been replaced by newer ones. However, there are great plans in the pipeline to completely change the face of the plazas.

Areas USA have been awarded the contract to provide food, beverage and retail services at the eight plazas along the Florida Turnpike. Since the late 1980s these plazas have been operated by HMS Host, offering such food outlets as Nathans, Sbarro, Starbucks and Burger King. However, for the first time in 20 years, there will be a drastic change in management, as Areas USA embark on their 30 year contract to operate the plazas from Okahumpka in Wildwood, to the north, down to Snapper Creek in Florida City, south of Miami.
Gone are Starbucks, Nathans and Burger King and instead a new range of eating options will be on offer. These include several with roots in Florida itself.

Dunkin Donuts
This international donut and coffee retailer was founded in Massachusetts by William Rosenberg. Since 1950 Dunkin Donuts has increased its sales of coffee to make it a competitor of Starbucks. As well as donuts, there is a range of other products such as bagels, cookies, muffins, breakfast sandwiches, and toasted filled flatbreads.

Cheeburger Cheeburger
This Florida based company first opened a burger restaurant on Sanibel Island in 1986. They offer 1950s styled restaurants which specialize in cheeseburgers, French fries, onion rings and milkshakes. Their biggest claim to fame is their famous ‘Pounder’ burger, which weighs 20 oz before it is cooked. Anyone who finishes the entire burger can be photographed for that restaurant’s Wall of Fame. Children are allowed to appear on the wall if they eat a half pound burger. Not the healthiest of promotions!

Vicky Bakery
This family owned bakery has been in operation in South Florida for over 37 years, and produces authentic Cuban pastries. They have a diverse menu which includes baked goods, fresh bread, sandwiches, meat pies, cakes, desserts and coffee.

Chekkers
This is the largest chain of drive-through restaurants in the USA. They specialise in hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries and milkshakes.

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Page added on: 5 February 2011
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