Lakeland is probably not much different from any other medium-sized city today in that you sometimes start to wonder if there are any unique, local restaurants around. Twenty years ago, it would have been rarer to find a national chain eatery (other than fast food places like McDonald’s) than a local favorite. Times change, though, and people—despite what they may say—prefer the familiarity and comfort of a popular establishment. Taking a chance on a local place comes with a risk. If you eat out every night, that risk may be minimal, but people who only dine out once or twice a month have to be more careful with their selection.
That’s why it’s always nice to shine a spotlight on a local Lakeland restaurant with the kind of style and flavor you can’t get at any national chain. Fat Jacks, situated neatly into a shopping strip on South Florida Ave., is such a place. Competing more directly with Denny’s and IHOP than Chili’s, Fat Jacks offers greasy food, scrumptious breakfast, and a diner atmosphere that is sorely missing in today’s restaurant landscape. If you’re backing away at the mention of “greasy food”, come back! No, Fat Jacks isn’t a great place to eat on your diet, but then where is? This is where you go when you just want to have a nice Sunday breakfast and forget about working out for one day.
Don’t be alarmed when you have to fight for a table; during peak hours the restaurant gets plenty busy and there isn’t a lot of space for overflow. They’ve been in business for over 45 years, and in that time, the locals have certainly discovered it. If you have been looking for a new place to try or if you haven’t been to Fat Jacks in a while, you might want to drive up there one morning (or midday…or evening) and see what you’ve been missing.
Fat Jacks Deli & Sub
2940 S Florida Ave
Lakeland, FL 33803
Looking for more places like Fat Jacks? Check out Guy Fieri’s book Diners, Drive-ins and Dives: An All-American Road Trip . . . with Recipes! (Food Network) for the best American diners across the country.