Winter Haven: Scores Downtown

Art exhibit and tree debris in downtown Winter Haven, Florida
Central Park in downtown Winter Haven, post-Hurricane Irma

Scores Downtown restaurant exterior in Winter Haven, FloridaLike everyone in Polk County, we were affected to some extent by Hurricane Irma. One thing that impressed us in the days leading up to the storm, and in the days following, was how hard restaurant staff worked to keep their businesses running as long, and as soon, as possible (see our recent post from the Broadway Diner in Bartow for an example). Restaurants at all price levels offered considerable comfort to a lot of folks who lost electric service – or who just needed a break from cleaning up – as a result of the hurricane.

Scores Downtown restaurant interior in Winter Haven, FloridaNot long after Irma passed through our area, my wife and I made our way to downtown Winter Haven. The downtown is lovely, with a number of restaurants, a great public library, and outdoor sculptures that change every year.  As in all Polk County communities, we found some restaurants open and some still without power. One restaurant that was open was Scores Downtown. We had been to Scores once before, but this visit felt different because of the recovery efforts still going on all around us. Scores takes a very basic approach, there is nothing fancy about the exterior or interior of the restaurant. And that’s not a bad thing, because it reminded us that a restaurant doesn’t have to look fancy to provide a good experience.

Fried green tomatoes with ranch dressing at Scores Downtown in Winter Haven, FloridaFirst, our server was very welcoming and clearly working hard, despite not having power in her own home. She assured us that “Carbs and calories don’t count after a hurricane!”  Like the restaurant, the menu is basic, no-frills, mostly sandwiches and burgers.  They do serve breakfast but we were there for lunch.  Iced tea and Diet Coke to drink.  We were in the mood for comfort food and were happy they offered an appetizer of fried green tomatoes.  The tomatoes were well breaded with a dusting of Parmesan and came with a generous portion of ranch dressing.

Bacon cheeseburger on kaiser roll with french fries at Scores Downtown in Winter Haven, FloridaFor our main courses, I ordered a BLT on wheat toast with fries and my wife ordered a bacon cheeseburger with fries.  Despite being busy, the restaurant staff all seemed to be working quickly and we had our food promptly.  It was all very good.  My BLT came as I ordered it, without lettuce.  A lot of restaurants are stingy with bacon on sandwiches, but Scores Downtown loaded this sandwich with plenty of bacon.  My wife’s bacon cheeseburger came on a hearty onion-kaiser roll with the cheese nicely melted.  Less than 48 hours after Hurricane Irma passed through Polk County, Scores Downtown gave us a delicious meal with prompt and friendly service.

Bacon and tomato sandwich with french fries at Scores Downtown in Winter Haven, FloridaWith tip, our total was $38, which seemed very reasonable to us considering we also had the appetizer.  This was another reminder of the importance of the food service industry in providing not just food, but experience.  Experiences that, in the long run, will be much more important memories than material objects.  The next time you’re looking for good food in a casual atmosphere, give Scores Downtown in Winter Haven a try.  They are in downtown Winter Haven on Avenue A NW, close to the Winter Haven public library branch.

If we have inspired you to visit Scores Downtown, 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!

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