© 2024 Central Florida Public Media. All Rights Reserved.
90.7 FM Orlando • 89.5 FM Ocala
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Spotlight: Scott Joseph Reviews Ford's Garage

Photo courtesy of Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide
Photo courtesy of Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide

This review is abridged for broadcast. Find the full version of the review at Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide on this page.

Ford’s Garage is a burger and beer brand born out of Ft. Myers and now headquartered in Tampa. You’d think Michigan, right? But there is a natural connection: Henry Ford had a Winter home in Ft. Myers, less than a mile from where the first Ford’s Garage restaurant opened in 2012 (Henry did not attend).

Nearly all of the locations, just under a dozen so far, are in Florida, the newest in Orlando.

As you might expect with a garage-themed restaurants, Ford’s is tricked out in a design that might be classified as early grease monkey. But there are a lot of nice details.

Such as the hose-clamp napkin rings, the napkins themselves being grease rags.

Instead of windows there are garage doors, naturally. Out front you’ll find old-style gas pumps and a couple of vintage cars; another Ford, its wheels turning, is jacked up over the bar. Someone had a lot of fun with all the gews and gaws hanging about. It’s fun and stops just short of being over the top.

As I mentioned above, Ford’s Garage is a burger and beer joint. Actually, to cite the subtitle: “Prime Burgers, Craft Beer.” About that prime assertion: Nowhere on the menu could I find the letters USDA — black angus, yes, but not USDA Prime (angus is a breed of cattle, it is not a quality grade).

That said, the burger I had on my visit was really quite good. It was the Ford’s Signature, a half-pound patty, thick, yet grilled just right to a juicy red medium rare, topped with thick-sliced rashers of bacon, cheddar cheese and a barbecue sauce laced with bourbon. The meat had a nice smoky charred note. Neither my companion nor I cared very much for the fries, which were thick cut and stubby.

Ordinarily, a concept like Ford’s Garage probably wouldn’t be worth a mention. But its Florida origin and apparent ambitions to grow make it worthwhile. Not to mention that it makes a pretty good burger, prime or not.

Nicole came to Central Florida to attend Rollins College and started working for Orlando’s ABC News Radio affiliate shortly after graduation. She joined Central Florida Public Media in 2010. As a field reporter, news anchor and radio show host in the City Beautiful, she has covered everything from local arts to national elections, from extraordinary hurricanes to historic space flights, from the people and procedures of Florida’s justice system to the changing face of the state’s economy.