Okeechobee tends to give the impression of a one-horse town which happens to be erected next to one of the most beautiful and captivating freshwater lakes in the entire country. Give it a little time, however, and visitors soon discover there is so much more to appreciate about life here, including the welcoming locals who really know how to do homegrown hospitality.
As one of the most popular destinations on the Florida vacation list, Okeechobee would not be the same without the wholehearted appreciation it exhibits for mouth-watering cuisine. Life at the lake comes with the benefit of excellent company and good old-fashioned “comfort food” in authentic Florida fare.
Home-cooked goodness wafts out aromas all over town so it is a lucky coincidence there are so many delicious restaurants on offer, especially downtown. Being a multicultural hub in close community with one another, there are various eateries around town, from authentic Italian to charming steakhouses and spectacular seafood. Don’t worry about a thing, you’ll be able to satisfy just about any craving that hits after the fun-filled days in the Florida sun.
Here are a few restaurants worth visiting for your next meal out:
If it is freshness and flavor that draws you to the water’s edge, then Okeechobee’s seafood bonanza will be just the experience your taste buds are salivating to find. One of the oldest restaurants in Okeechobee, established in 1977 and still going strong, Lightsey’s Seafood is a highlight on the dining calendar for both residents and visitors.
It is a great choice for families and couples, with fun nautical decor and a friendly team of servers. The Tin Fish not only has a delicious selection of seafood but includes a few special local items, like the Gator Tail Platter. A romantic rendez-vous may not go down too badly here, either.
Parrot Island Grill
Seafood, Steak, and Burger
An all-round restaurant and bar, Parrot Island Grill is a choice eatery with a wide menu selection in season and out. A place to sit outside on balmy evenings and bar specials most days, there is a laid-back vibe. Try the fish dip, it is one of the best in town!
Breakfast and Diner Joints
Pogey’s Family Restaurant
The simple pleasures of some good old-fashioned home cooking can be found at Pogey’s Family Restaurant. You’ll love the breakfast or brunch menu served with a wide smile and some old-fashioned Okeechobee hospitality. Bring your patience and your appetite, it is worth the wait!
Local Diner (Breakfast and Lunch only)
A popular local spot for breakfast, brunch, and lunch, Gladys’ is part of the furniture on the Okeechobee food scene. Home-cookin’ favorites are an Okeechobee staple so be sure to check out the breakfasts cooked to perfection, with fluffy pancakes, crispy bacon, and superb coffee on tap.
Mom’s Kitchen serves its community attentively, offering great specials all week and breakfast all day in true diner tradition. There are also a couple of Mexican entrees on the menu. Order some grits - they are the best in the town.
it is a regular highway diner, with truckers, cowboys, tourists, and festival fiends all popping in from time to time. Sky blue with quaint decor and a friendly team of servers, it is the home-cooked menu you might expect to find in a Hollywood depiction of a classic American diner. Both Crossroads and the smiles of the Okeechobee locals won’t disappoint, so pop in any time.
Landing Strip Cafe
American, Breakfast, and Sandwiches
A pilot’s favorite hamburger is sure to be found at Landing Strip Café. A slightly different, but no less spectacular view, it looks out onto the bustling Okeechobee airport. It offers excellent value for money with breakfast fare, sandwiches, and traditional American dishes on offer.
Boy, o boy, do the kids adore watching all manner of small-to-medium airplanes and whooshing helicopters taking off just outside the restaurant window (and the adults, too, no doubt).
All-American and Steakhouse Fare
Zippy’s Zesty Wings
American and Chicken Wings
They know food, and they do it with zing! Zippy’s Wings is excellent for chicken wings (and burgers) that pack a punch. Go hungry, leave happy.
A favorite with cowboys and the rest of the townsfolk, too, Ropers Café is a hidden gem right at the heart of Okeechobee. it is simple fare, at reasonable rates, which will hit the spot. There may or may not be rumors of one Governor frequenting this well-beloved cafe.
Wild West Cafe
All-American and Pizza
A fairly new kid on the block, the Wild West Café is an American-style eatery that also kicks the Italian food cravings to the curb with a variety of tasty options. The Philly Cheese Steak is out of this world and the vibe isn’t bad, either.
Don’t be fooled, the Ol’ Speck is no fishery - only steaks here, but boy are they worth sneaking in through the random front entrance of this old-time restaurant. Okeechobee is well-known for its steakhouses and the Speckled Perch a long time favorite of meat-loving local. Grab a brew, enjoy the vibe, and chill out while you wait for perfectly cooked steak and a decent side of spuds.
Sports Bar and Restaurant
The Brahma Bull offers all you need from a homegrown sports bar near Lake Okeechobee. The steak tips are something to call home about and the vibe is awesome. Order a drink and put your feet up, there are friends to call family in this place.
Steakhouse and BBQ
A place where friends meet and eat, Cowboy’s offers generous portions of hometown cooking with down-to-earth hospitality. There is a rancher’s vibe here, and the slight obsession with protein brings meat lovers back again, and again.
Mexican, Latin American, and Salad
Has the sweet spicy Mexican fare got you salivating like Pavlov’s dog? Try Los Cocos - a local favorite located in the center of downtown Okeechobee. From the moment you step onto the threshold, you’ll be ready to eat just about everything on the menu - enjoy!
Mexican and Tex-Mex
Rio Bravo is fresh, spicy, and reasonably pitched to compete with local traditional eateries. Take the whole family and enjoy professional service under the backdrop of true Florida charm. Not Mexican as such, but the chocolate cake with ice-cream dessert is a winning combination, too.
Santa Fe will delight with authentic Mexican flavors and a few other surprises on the menu as well. Need boots? Get those here, too.
Chico’s Burrito Shack
Chico’s Burrito Shack rocks to the spiciest vibes Okeechobee has on hand. It is also the only Tex-Mex in town with homemade recipes, so be sure to give it a go.
Joey’s Pizza and Subs
Dreaming of pizza again? Okeechobee takes care of the whole family with some of the best Italian joints around! Boasting a little taste of authentic Italy, Joey’s Pizza and Subs offers huge slices of tasty pizza favorites, with a hint of New York’s finest.
First choice for pizza in Okeechobee, but by no means limited to only pizza on the menu, Second Street offers a variety of Italian food favorites to satisfy any family on a budget. The team is not only passionate about the food they serve but also try their best to meet the quality of service and fresh ingredients one might expect in a more competitive location.
Another family-owned Italian restaurant, Pizza Heaven offers signature sauces, homemade pizza bases, and lots of love into every dish. The meatball subs are one of the most popular items on the menu, with slow-cooked pasta meatballs a real highlight for Okeechobee locals.
Cafes and Coffee Shops
Brown Cow Sweetery
Cafe and Sandwiches
Searching for a unique setting with a penchant for sweet things and an impressive selection of hot beverages on offer? You will not want to miss out on the Brown Cow Sweetery, From sandwiches and soups to salads and sweet treats, the menu is sure to have something for everyone, including the warm and friendly service of long-time local owners.
Light Meal Cafe
Nutmegs may be summed up in two words: simple and delicious. The meals are healthy, full of flavor and it is recommended you follow up the mains with a treat (or two) from the sweet selection, cupcakes in particular. Don’t go if you’re in a rush, good food takes a lot of love and attention to detail.
Serenity Coffee Shop
As the name suggests, Serenity Coffee Shop is a quiet little spot with bagels and beverages. It serves some of the best coffee in town. The service from friendly local entrepreneurs is also some of the best you’ll find in Okeechobee County.
Where there is good food, there is happiness - it is the Okeechobee way. Bon appetit!