All of us in Polk County got a surprise the morning of September 8 when we woke up and saw the revised forecast for Hurricane Irma showed it coming close to us (previously, the storm was forecast to move up the east coast of Florida). Saturday, September 9, a lot of businesses were closed and a lot of folks were making preparations for a hurricane expected to arrive on September 10. So my wife and I were grateful when we saw the Broadway Diner in Bartow was open for lunch on that Saturday.
The restaurant was spotless and comfortable. Not a lot of diners were there at the time, no doubt due to the unusual circumstances. There was some music playing, softly so it didn’t disrupt conversation, and it must have been movie music day because we enjoyed hearing the theme from Rocky and Grease by Frankie Valli.
The staff seemed a little tense over the approaching hurricane, which was completely appropriate and reflected how we felt also. But we appreciated the friendly service we did receive – our server at one point said, “It’s our restaurant, too,” when expressing her concern about the safety of the restaurant.
The Broadway Diner offers a wide array of breakfast and lunch options on its menu. We were there for lunch. We started with something we don’t see often in restaurants, an appetizer of fried pickles. The pickles were outstanding, the quantity was plenty for us to share, and they came with a generous portion of ranch dressing. This was a real treat.
For our main course I ordered a pork tenderloin sandwich with fries and my wife ordered a Broadway Burger (bacon cheeseburger with grilled onions, lettuce, and tomato) with fries. Two iced teas to drink. And it was all delicious. My wife did say she would have liked a little more bacon on her bacon cheeseburger. I did actually order mashed potatoes with my sandwich, but the fries tasted good and it is possible that supplies were running low by then. But everything was well cooked with a lot of flavor. The pork tenderloin was substantial and the breading had good flavor without being too heavy or greasy. My wife’s burger was well done, as she had ordered it. We received a generous amount of fries and slaw. We had enough food to take home to enjoy later.
With tip our total was only about $36, which seemed quite reasonable considering we ordered the appetizer also. And the experience reminded us that a restaurant isn’t just a place to eat food. As we have been frequently reminded during our Polk Eats experience, a restaurant can be a place to come closer together away from the stresses and distractions of daily life. And, sometimes, it can be a safe haven when a storm is approaching. Give the Broadway Diner a try, we highly recommend it. They are located on North Broadway Avenue in Bartow, just north of Van Fleet Drive.
If we have inspired you to visit Broadway Diner, or if you have already been and want to share your experience, please do so via the comments section below. And if you have Polk County restaurant tips, we would love to hear from you via our Contact Us page. Thanks for stopping by and happy eating!