North Carolina has done a lot for the foodies of America. So kudos to you, my Southern Friends. But… let’s not forget that sunny state of Florida and how they have impacted the country in many foodtastic ways. So as the Beatles said, “Here comes the sun…”
This is not a ranking; items are listed in no particular order. For the purposes of this article, the number of features is limited.
*This article was written with suggestions from Carlynn Crosby from the University of Florida.
1. Key Lime Pie
Alright. This is an obvious one… But c’mon. This treat deserves a salute and an all-out pig fest from every pie-lover out there. So take a moment of silent indulgement to appreciate the Florida Keys for creating a delicacy worthy of your ever-growing secret stash of sweets and the Florida Legislature for immortalizing this dessert as the official state pie of Florida.
#SpoonTip: Check out the world’s largest key lime pie here.
2. Pub Subs
Well, this might have come as a surprise, but everyone should know that Publix was started in Winter Haven, Florida in 1930. Despite the irony, this sunshine state supermarket continues to satisfy the entire nation with its deli sandwiches and friendly customer service, ranked year after year as one of FORTUNE’S “100 Best Companies to Work For.” So trust me and my college student budget…
Just remember that every time you drink a glass of orange juice with your Cap n’ Crunch pancakes or Baked Egg in an Avocado, Florida was the reason you got through the day. Though Tropicana is owned by PepsiCo now, it started in Bradenton, Florida in 1947. So now every time you walk down that Publix isle and pick up a jug of Tropicana, you have no choice but to thank the sunshine state for brightening your morning twice over.
Hooters started with a hoot. And I mean literally. While the name was inspired by a famous sketch from the comedian Steve Martin, the sports bar was established on April Fool’s Day, 1983 and opened later that year in Clearwater, Florida. Known for its wings, burgers, and beautiful servers, the franchise provides a casual spot to down a few beers and enjoy lots of football.
Y’all probably didn’t know this one…but Wally Amos, founder of the Famous Amos cookie brand and the singing duo Simon & Garfunkel, was born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida in 1936. Although he grew up poor, he was always rich and satisfied by his aunt’s tutelage and homemade chocolate chip cookies. Inspired by her, he went to culinary school and the rest is history.
#SpoonTip: Although the first store launched in Los Angeles, this cookie sensation sprung straight outta Tallahassee, Florida.#soproud.
6. Sonny’s BBQ
Although Tallahassee gave you famous cookies, the ‘Noles have to support our fellow Floridians in Gainesville (except on game days) and highlight how they brought real southern barbecue to Florida in 1968. With their slow-smoked ribs, Sonny’s earned the #1 spot on the Daily Meal’s “America’s 25 Best Barbecue Chains.” So go…Florida!
#SpoonTip: Check out Spoon’s Best Barbecue Joints List right here.
In the summer of ’65, the assistant coach of the Gators, Dwayne Douglas, noticed his players being affected by heat related illnesses and sat down with the University’s physicians, Dr. Robert Cade, Dr. Dana Shires, Dr. H. James Free and Dr. Alejandro de Quesada, who discovered that the fluids and electrolytes the players lost through sweat wasn’t being replaced. Thus…the ultimate athlete drink was born. Florida scores again!
8. Red Lobster
Correct me if I’m wrong, but Beyoncé has a song about taking her man to Red Lobster… so thank Bill Darden for opening the first Red Lobster in Lakeland, Florida in 1968. The restaurant chain is spread out virtually all across America, so if snow’s got you down you know where to go.
#SpoonTip: You can buy the mix for Red Lobster’s cheddar biscuits at most grocery stores. You may not want to eat anything that day, just in case.
9. Burger King
First off, the “insta broiler” stove and store “Insta-Burger King” that inspired James McLamore and David Edgerton was invented by Keith Kramer and Matthew Burns in Jacksonville, Florida in 1953. McLamore and Egerton later bought out Kramer-Burns, renamed the franchise “Burger King”, incorporated the more reliable “flame broiler” and established its signature item, the Whopper in Miami, Fla. That’s a double whammy, folks.
#SpoonTip: Follow Burger King on Twitter, and you won’t regret it…
And finally… (drumroll)
10. The Rum Runner
Rumored to have been served for the first time at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada, Florida, rum runner cocktails are allegedly named after the real “Rum Runners” of the Florida Keys (here they are again…) Due to the excessively large quantities of rum in each serving, it’s extremely doubtful that you will be running anywhere after two or three. 151: 1, you: 0. So good luck.
#SpoonTip: Check out the unofficial list of every state’s cocktails.