nicholas hopkins

Old Florida Grill

In a rustic building, on North US 1 in Cocoa, you’ll find a place called the Old Florida Grill & Oyster House. Owned by Lee & Jeff Mullins and Cathy & Tom Miller, the place has been around for many years. Though the unassuming building doesn’t exactly reach out and grab you as you drive by, the tasty food and friendly atmosphere inside just might.

When you walk in the door, the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s very homey. The natural wood paneling, floors and tables make for a very warm atmosphere. You’ll more than likely be greeted by a smiling manager or member of the wait staff, who’ll tell you to “grab a seat, wherever you’d like.” Just like home.

No sooner than you sit down, you’ll have a menu in hand and the chance to get a drink from the bar; in other words, the service is quick and friendly.  As you’d expect from a place called the Old Florida Grill & Oyster House, the menu lists (in a nautical sort of way) toward the seafood lover, but there’s plenty of fare for the non-fish lover too. The selection is great, and as an added bonus, nothing is priced over $20 - in fact, most of the entrée’s are less than $15. When you’re talking menu items like Snow Crab and Shrimp, Mahi Mahi, Grouper, or Seared Ahi Tuna, it’s easy to see that’s a pretty dang good deal. And of course, everything is served with a salad, a spud of some sort, or some delicious (crisp, not overcooked!) grilled veggies and the obligatory, scrumptious hushpuppies.

However, do yourself a favor and order a bowl of the Lobster Bisque before you have dinner. You might want to split it with your date. Though it’s absolutely delicious, and served at a perfect Goldilocks, not-too-hot, not-too-cool temperature, it’s thick and filling. At the beginning of the meal, when you’re still hungry, it would be easy to forget that you’ll want to save at least a little room for one of the desserts. More about those later.

For our dinners, we decided on the Bacon Wrapped Scallops for her, and the Filet Mignon and Shrimp Surf & Turf for him. There was of course, a lot of “you’ve got to try this” going on, so both of us got a good sampling of both dishes and both were great. The large scallops were wrapped in a generous portion of crisp bacon and were melt in your mouth delicious. The steak was an excellent cut and was cooked to order, with the perfect amount of pinkish red in the center.  In keeping with everything else, the shrimp was also very good and was an excellent compliment to the steak.

Since we had both ordered a cup of the Lobster Bisque before dinner, we were very quickly getting very full, so we decided to ask for a take-out container for some of our entrée’s in order to have room for some dessert. (You may want to do the same or split a bowl of the Bisque. See above.)

When asked what they consider to be their specialty dessert, Denise, the night manager told us about their home made Key Lime Pie. However, being confirmed choco-holics, we also saw the Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Ice Cream and were immediately torn between the two. So, we ordered one of each.

The Lava Cake was everything you’d expect with a name like that; so sinfully delicious, it may very well be illegal in some states. The Key Lime pie was also perfect and it’s easy to see why they consider it a specialty. If we hadn’t absolutely stuffed ourselves already, it would be the perfect, semi-light dessert.

While chatting with Denise, we learned about some of the weekly specials they have at the restaurant. For instance, from 11 – 4, Monday through Friday, you can get a dozen oysters, clams or wings for just six bucks. Along the same lines, you can get a bucket of oysters, for $18 (normally $23). And, what would any self-respecting place be without the essential Happy Hour? Every Monday through Friday, from 2 – 6, you can get a Bucket O’ Bud for $10. (All those selections, a Raw Bar, and a Happy Hour? It’s just the sort of stuff that makes you think, “Life is good.”)

As if that weren’t enough, there’s also an outside deck and a Tiki Bar open on the weekends with live entertainment. And since it’s right on the Indian River, you can fire up the boat and cruise on up, or down to the dock at mile marker 59. The Tiki Bar is also available for weddings; there’s catering, fishing tournaments, Poker Runs and in the near future, Sunday night might just become Bike Night.

The Old Florida Grill & Oyster House: A come-as-you-are, value-packed, down-home restaurant.  Bring your appetite though. You’ll need every bit of it.

Copyright © 2018, Nicholas Hopkins. All Rights Reserved.