“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” — Doug Larson
Or breakfast sausage. Or fried Chicken. Or any of the fresh baked pies from Yoder’s Restaurant. (Fast fact: they sell about 6000 of their signature pies on Thanksgiving! Not pieces of pie. Whole pies!)
This legendary restaurant located in the “Amish Riviera” town formerly known as Pinecraft, just west of Beneva Road and Bahia Vista Street was also featured on The Food Network’s “Man Vs. Food” and The Travel Channel’s “101 Tastiest Places to Chow Down”. No wonder. Portions sizes are ENORMOUS, and prices are super budget friendly. A visit here is also like a trip back in time. You can dine inside or order at the take out window and dine on the outside deck. There’s a fascinating history to this little corner of Sarasota, but more on that later.
Jill and I had been meaning to get here sooner, but happily decided when my son and daughter were both in town to head there for breakfast recently. Arriving shortly after 11 a.m. was a stroke of unintended luck, as we were seated almost immediately before the waiting line swelled out the door and down the front of the restaurant. Fittingly, we got there right on the cusp of the change over from breakfast to lunch, but managed to wrangle a couple of breakfast menus anyway, with the caveat that the Amish Scrambles and Omelettes were not available at that time of day. No problem. That still left us with oodles of down home breakfast choices, which Jennifer and myself went for, while Jill and Tyler decided to order from the lunch menu.
The first orders to go in, from a timing point of view as suggested by our server, were our breakfast choices. Jen chose the Fried Chicken Benedict (you read that right), and I ordered an equally robust Sausage Benedict. Not stopping there, I added a side of lovely crisp bacon, and Jen picked the grits (as if we were going to starve without them or something).
Both had light, fluffy homemade biscuits as a base, covered by our Fried Chicken and Sausages respectively, then the requisite poached egg, slathered in rich gravy, hers, a light and smooth chicken gravy, and mine a sinfully rich gravy spiked with generous pieces of chopped sausages. Add to those a huge portion of fresh, hashbrown potatoes, and we each had breakfast fit for (probably a COUPLE of) kings and queens. Even the side bacon consisted of FIVE slices, not the usual 2-3 in most places!
Tyler order the 1/2 fried Chicken, which Yoder’s allowed you to order all white, all dark, or both dark and white meat, along with two side dishes. For his two sides, he went with sweet, freshly made corn muffins (again 2, not just 1), and a Carrot and Raisin Salad. I swear I saw the table sag just a bit when our server put it down!
Jill went for their famous Fried Chicken as well, only dark meat, and selected the Amish Potato Cakes, and (I’m sensing a theme here), the Amish Buttered Noodles. If it has the word Amish in the description, she’s going for it. When her dish arrived she couldn’t believe how large the chicken pieces were. “This has got to be the biggest drum stick I’ve ever seen!” Tyler agreed. As did Jen. As did I.
By the time the food was all in place, I swear there wasn’t room for a thimble left on the table. Seriously, check out the pictures.
If you’ve never experienced a meal at Yoder’s Restaurant, you owe it to yourself to eat in this “Norman Rockwell painting-come-to-life setting”. Afterward, or anytime for that matter, you have to check out Yoder’s Produce Market and Yoder’s Fresh Market next door! Just remember, they are never open on Sundays or religious holidays.
For more on the flavor and history of this amazing neighborhood, click on the link below: