Yellow Dog Eats is a bistro and wine store in the town of Gotha, Fla. That won’t mean much to most people, and it didn’t mean a whole lot to me – despite having spent 23 years of my life in Central Florida. You see, all these years Gotha has been playing second fiddle to its more popular neighbor, Orlando. So, it is unlikely you have ever considered a visit to Gotha, but if I can give you one reason to go it would be for Yellow Dog Eats.
A short distance down Hempel Avenue, or what is considered “Main Street” in Gotha, sits a two-story building with a slim tin roof, black shutters and lots of Southern sensibilities. Formerly, Fishers Country Store and a National Register of Historical Places designee, the structure now houses Yellow Dog Eats.
Inside, the restaurant has an air of familiarity –like your visiting your grandma’s house. The old wooden tables, the mismatched chairs and the wooden shelves lined with sauces all lend to its down-to-earth feel.
The menu is the brainchild of Chef Fish Morgan and is chockfull of sandwiches, BBQ, salads and just the right amount of whimsy. The foundation of the dishes is quality ingredients including locally grown baby greens, homemade pastries and bread, and flavorful meats that are smoked on premise.
My eyes immediately landed on the BBQ section, and I had to look no further then the Club Elvis. Comprised of delicate and luscious pulled pork that is topped with thick-cut bacon, Gouda cheese and fried onions, it is served with a side of chips and coleslaw. Now I am going to recommend that you go on ahead and put that coleslaw right on top of that heaping mound of goodness and pat the sandwich down just enough so you can get a bite with all the flavors.
No doubt, it is a messy sandwich, but I made no apologies as I bit into the succulent pig products piled between two buns. Or as the citrusy mustard based BBQ sauce and creamy coleslaw combined and ran down my hands and painted my face.
As quick as the sandwich landed in front of me it was gone. My lack of willpower and the sheer force of having that much pork on one sandwich proved to be more than I could handle.
Yellow Dog Eats makes unapologetically good food. It is not fancy – and you may even get a little messy – but it is honest food made with quality ingredients and that intangible whimsy.
About Yellow Dog Eats
Location: 1236 Hempel Ave., Gotha, Florida 34786
Contact: (407) 296-0609
Credit Cards: Accepted
Hours: Open daily from 11a.m. to 9 p.m.