Yoder’s Restaurant Sarasota
3434 Bahia Vista St, Sarasota, FL 34239, (941) 955-7771
Cuisine: Amish traditional cooking, down-home cooking
Price Rating: $10-$15 per entree
Review Date: March 30, 2012
Review Tip: More of a visual person or don’t have much time? Skip to the bottom for a quick video with all the pics!
A friend of mine, Katie from the Tampa Bay Business Owners came down my way to have lunch with me. We had both wanted to try out Yoder’s Restaurant in Sarasota as it has a pretty great reputation in the area and has even been featured on Man vs. Food.
You can check out their Man vs. Food video here:
Yoder’s is a traditional Amish restaurant located here in Sarasota, FL. There are a lot of other parts to this property including a gift shop, a fresh produce market and a deli. Since the restaurant was featured on Man vs. Food, it has become a very popular place to dine in this city. I like the atmosphere and seeing the Amish around here; you get a sort of homey, down-home feeling in the middle of a regular old suburban town. This is the area of Sarasota with the most Amish, so you see them riding around their bikes going here and there. A short disclaimer on my position on Amish restaurants: the first time I ever went to one it was an Amish place on Cattlemen and Bee Ridge and I was horrified by the food – it had absolutely no taste whatsoever. It is for this reason alone that I haven’t gone to any other Amish restaurants since, and I’m SOOO glad Katie suggested this. Not surprisingly, that restaurant is no longer in business, but Yoder’s is going strong!
When you walk in, you actually have to stand in a cordoned-off line that literally didn’t get any shorter the entire time Katie and I were there. I have a feeling that the line stays that way pretty much all day! It’s not a long line though, at that time of day on a Friday (12:30 pm), we only had to wait about 15 minutes. However, I don’t know what it’s like during the weekend – I imagine it’s quite a bit longer as the restaurant seemed to be to capacity pretty much the whole time we were there.
We were greeted by some very friendly hostesses and our waitress was very nice. We didn’t notice any sort of lag in service at all, considering their traffic. The clientele is pretty much what you’d expect – mostly tourist types and locals. I asked for the typical/popular menu items and was extremely happy I did that.
I ordered the Meatloaf for my meal as it’s one of the most popular dishes and it came with two sides off of a side menu with a dizzying array of choices! I let the waitress decide by telling me what was most traditional, and she suggested the Chicken Stuffing and the Amish Buttered Noodles. I happily accepted. Katie ordered a more tame choice – she opted to order something of a Chef Salad though I didn’t catch the name of it. Just take a look at the picture for the pile of deliciousness that she ordered. She was also served a thick slice of Fruit Bread which looked so moist and soft.
I get the feeling that you can’t really go wrong with a choice at this place. My meal came with some super soft, light wheat bread, no doubt freshly homemade. We chatted about everything under the sun while waiting for our meals and when they finally came, I suddenly became psychic: there were two large doggy-bags about to appear in both of our futures.
I bit into my meatloaf, and this was a nice, thick slice of it, slathered in a rich, thick chicken stock gravy – the perfect touch on top (aka Thank God it wasn’t ketchup because I happen to detest the stuff). It was really good, but I think it could have used a bit more flavor – I happen to like onions and a bit more salt, but that’s my personal preference. The sauce made up for it a bit though. The Buttered Noodles were just that: thick egg noodles covered in a drippy butter sauce. Not exactly heart-healthy fare, but sometimes taste has to trump the healthy factor, right? I’d be silly to even have to explain that these were delicious, ’cause noodles covered in butter…? C’mon. And the chicken stuffing. Alright, a lot of the time, stuffing is really hit or miss. Usually, there’s just one ingredient that will throw it off. I have to say (abashedly) that I really only think there’s one type of stuffing that’s perfect and that’s Stovetop. I know, isn’t that like… sacrilege? But I mean, that’s what I like. And this Stuffing. I think they added some extra nutmeg; my tastebuds detected some sort of spice like that. But other than that, it was like Stovetop with nutmeg. And if you know anything about me, you know I love nutmeg so naturally this was a winner for me. And put it all together – hearty meatloaf with chicken gravy, noodles covered in butter and a fresh take on my favorite stuffing. Yep, no question, I was mighty pleased with my choices. And briefly, for reporting’s sake, I didn’t try any of Katie’s meal but I am sure it was just as good as mine, in a, you know, closer-to-healthy, boring kind of way.
You know by now that it is my literary duty to deliver an account of a full meal wherever I dine, so I am obligated to have dessert, too. I was persuasive enough to talk Katie into ordering dessert as well, so this meant I got to order the famous Peanut Butter Pie and also get to try the Key Lime pie, too! Score! Man vs. Food gives an account of how this Peanut Butter Pie is made and I’ll tell ya – it’s basically crunchy peanut butter mixed with powdered sugar. I’ll give you a moment of silence to process that idea.
A tasty, flaky pastry crust plus this peanut butter mixture, are complimented by gobs of homemade whipped cream and vanilla pudding. Just check out the photo I took to document the literal pile of pie that I was served:
Katie didn’t make out to shabby either on her pile, I mean piece of Amish Key Lime Pie. That’s typically my favorite so I was glad to hear that she ordered it. Katie tells me that you know a really good Key Lime Pie by how light the key lime part is – the lighter the color (less green), the better it will be. And by the looks of this photo below, showing the lightness, gives you some indication of how freaking amazing it was. They have two types of Key Lime Pie here, and I was glad we got the Amish style: it’s light and fluggy and has a flaky pastry crust which is my favorite. They also have a traditional Florida Key Lime pie, which differs mostly by having a graham crust. They say on their menu that if it’s not the best you’ve ever had, that they’ll buy it for you – and I think I will take them up on this bet pretty soon. Of course knowing Yoder’s so far, they won’t be paying for anything.
After the meal, we went to check out the rest of the Yoder’s property. I really liked the gift shop, and it’s a great place for a tourist to check out when they’re visiting. We also went to the food market and the deli as well. Some good stuff there, and would be fun to check out just on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Here’s the pics to prove it:
Go to my Flickr account to check out my Yoder’s Restaurant Review images set to see the rest of the pics I took of all the delicious food we had that night. Or you can watch the short video I made as well for some audio commentary!
Down-home feeling with really great, and quality food. The atmosphere is friendly and the service was great. You can tell this restaurant has been around for so long for a reason!