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Thursday, February 19, 2004

Country Cooking and Country Boys... 

Back on the road for more of our tour of Tampa Bay's Guide to Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants, this time Country Boy Family Restaurant at 1353 Main Street in Dunedin. Lunch is a happy time for most diners at family restaurants because, if you're lucky the grill is still up for breakfast items like omelets or French toast as well as grilled sandwiches and by 11 AM the soup of the day is piping hot. The result is that a sleepy, late rising tourist and a busy local half way through their work day can each have their individual preference; vegetarians to can benefit from this grill time switch over.

Country Boy performs this mid day breakfast/luncheon magic with aplomb. Open at 7 AM and sporting a rich variety of full breakfasts and sides including steak n' eggs or gyro n' eggs, waffles, grits, assorted muffins and biscuits with gravy. Available also, lunch including Greek and Italian specialties as well as an impressive selection of sandwiches - how could anyone miss finding just the right food to satisfy.

We walked in and were immediately greeted by a cheerful hostess who quickly found us a cozy sunlit booth. Our waiter was right behind with menus and a pleasant request for our drinks selections - I had noticed a sign just inside the entry bearing the proud Message "Bloody Marys all Day" - which of course would put any weary traveler at ease. We settled for water with lemon and turned our attention to the extensive menu. Nancy decided on a mushroom omelet substituting a country biscuit for the eggs and I chose the veggie wrap: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green pepper, onions and Greek dressing on the side. The waiter seemed perplexed by the substitution and politely replied that he would inquire if the omelet without eggs would present any special difficulty for the kitchen, he quickly returned with the happy news that eggs were out and the biscuit was in, no problem, that's what we like about country places, no fuss, just food the way you want it and lots of it.

The omelet was served with a killer plate of home fries, toast and jelly. The biscuit tasted homemade and rich served warm with a lot of sauted mushrooms, vegetables, topped with fresh feta cheese, it was delicious. My wrap was another matter, not to say that it was bad, but by comparison to wraps we've tasted at vegetarian restaurants it lacked personality; simply diced vegetables in a fresh spinach wrap with a side of Greek dressing it didn't satisfy. I ate half of the wrap, most of Nancy's potatoes and determined to rescue the remaining half-wrap by taking it home and giving it a new life, adding black beans or hummus, maybe both and a shot of hot sauce for the road. Lesson, never read into a menu what by experience you know is not there, the wrap was exactly as advertised; designed for customers on a low fat diet, what was I thinking!

All-in-all we were more than pleased with the Country Boy Family Restaurant; their willingness to accommodate special requests and the quality of service, great food and their clean, well-appointed dining room will certainly merit many return visits, and Perhaps Country Boy will include Nancy's Eggless Omelet on their permanent menu; you can vote for at 727 734-9108.

The message at the bottom of their menu says, "If you are not satisfied, tell us- if you are, tell a friend!" Gentle readers; consider yourselves told.


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