A Foodie's Road Trip Through Levy County
Whether Levy County is your ultimate destination or you’re passing through, bring your appetite as the area’s restaurants are well worth a special trip.
Seafood reigns supreme in Levy County thanks to its location along the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but you’ll also find traditional Southern cuisines, barbecue and a winery when you visit. Levy County hosts a number of food festivals in the fall and winter, so take a look at its events to see if one is happening when you visit.
If you’re traveling nearby on Interstate 75 or taking one of the main roads through Levy County, you’re minutes from a number of unique and delicious restaurants. Set your car’s navigation, get ready for Instagram-worthy snapshots and dine at one of these spots:
The Ivy House, Williston
Williston sits on the eastern edge of Levy County and is one of the closest cities to I-75. Taking this 15 to 20-minute detour will put you on Northwest Main Street, where you’ll find The Ivy House. Open for lunch and dinner, the highly rated restaurant serves Southern favorites like fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, fried seafood, sandwiches, salads, and steaks. For dessert, the peanut butter pie is always a hit. Owner Marjorie Hale (aka “Mimi”) and her daughters, granddaughters and the staff at The Ivy House will make you feel like family. And if you enjoy Mimi’s cooking, you can purchase a copy of her cookbook, “Gracefully Southern,” to take with you as a souvenir.
106 NW Main St., Williston. 352-528-5410.
19/98 Grill & Country Store, Fanning Springs
Pulling up to 19/98 Grill is like driving into another era. The rustic, western exterior welcomes you with outdoor seating and a fire pit. Inside, you’ll be amazed by the extensive list of items on the menu sure to satisfy any of your cravings. Try the seafood baskets, burgers, zucchini fries and sandwiches, or taste the Reuben sandwich sure to rival a New York Reuben. Dine inside, where you’ll find John Wayne memorabilia, or eat outside at a picnic table under the Spanish moss-draped oak trees. Serving lunch and dinner, this Fanning Springs restaurant takes its name from its location in the northern part of Levy County, where U.S. Highway 19 and U.S. Highway 98 meet.
17110 U.S.-19, Fanning Springs. 352-463-1998.
Dakotah Vineyards and Winery, Chiefland
Only three and a half miles south of the 19/98 Grill is Dakotah Vineyards and Winery, an idyllic setting for enjoying a tasting of local wines. The vineyard’s first grapes, muscadines, were planted in 1985. Today, Dakotah makes nine wines: dry, sweet, dessert and a non-alcoholic muscadine juice, all of which you can sample for free in the tasting room. Visitors favorites, Carlos, Noble and Blush, are made from muscadines, as are the Port and Cream Sherry. Dakotah Winery also makes chardonnay, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and a blueberry dessert wine. In between sips you can peruse the wine-themed food and gifts in the boutique, or wander out to the back deck to see the koi pond and its resident wood ducks. The tasting room is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
14365 U.S.-19, Chiefland. 352-493-9309
Bett’s Big T Restaurant, Chiefland
Serving Southern style home cooking with generous portions, Bett’s Big T has been a hotspot for locals for more than 60 years. The restaurant was built in 1954 as a truck stop and restaurant, pre I-75 when U.S. Highway 19 was the main thoroughfare for truckers. Try the famous fried chicken, and save room for the delicious apple pie when you dine.Bett’s Big T opens daily at 6 a.m.
2525 N Young Boulevard (U.S.-19), Chiefland. 352-490-4906
Bar-B-Q Bill’s, Chiefland
If you’re craving juicy, grilled meat while driving through Chiefland, Bar-B-Q Bill’s serves up barbecued chicken, beef, pork and ribs all day.
1901 N Young Blvd. (U.S.-19), Chiefland. 352-493-4444
Shrimp Landing Restaurant, Inglis
At the southern end of Levy County is where you’ll find this spot that’s a favorite among locals for breakfast. Shrimp Landing opens daily at 5 a.m. and stays open through dinner, so it’s a great option anytime your route takes you along U.S. Highway 19. You’re guaranteed not to leave hungry—each day features a different all-you-can-eat special. Start your morning with a fluffy three-egg omelet, breakfast sandwich or the country fried steak and eggs. The lunch and dinner menus offer seafood fresh or fried, sandwiches, and salads.
48 U.S.-19, Inglis. 352-447-5201
Riverside Inn at Izaak Walton Lodge, Yankeetown
On the banks of the Withlacoochee River is Riverside Inn at Izaak Walton Lodge, offering lunch and dinner in a picturesque setting. It’s a quick three and a half mile drive west from Inglis on the Follow That Dream Parkway, named after the 1962 Elvis Presley movie that was filmed in the area. The Riverside Inn serves Florida favorites, including local farm-raised gator bites, conch fritters, shrimp, grouper, catfish, burgers and pasta. Originally completed in 1924 for Mr. A.F. Knotts, the lodge has welcomed celebrities and presidents. The lodge was rebuilt in 1999 after a fire destroyed it. The name honors Englishman Izaak Walton, noted outdoorsman and author of “The Compleat Angler,” published in 1653 and still in print today.
6301 Riverside Drive, Yankeetown. 352-447-2595
Steamers Clam Bar & Grill, Cedar Key
Seafood with sea views is what makes a detour to Cedar Key a must-do while in Levy County. Try the local clams; Cedar Key is one of the largest producers of farm-raised clams in the United States. Steamers Clam Bar & Grill offers clams hand breaded, fried, steamed, in chowder or in a spicy diablo sauce, along with a variety of seafood dishes, steaks, sandwiches and pasta.
Other waterfront dining options in Cedar Key include 83 West, Carlin’s Steakhouse & Pub and try the award-winning clam chowder at Tony’s Seafood Restaurant. The clam chowder was crowned world champion three years in a row at the annual Great Chowder Cook-off in Newport, Rhode Island, earning the secret recipe a place of honor in the Great Chowder Cook-off Hall of Fame.
Steamers Clam Bar & Grill: 420 Dock St., Cedar Key. 352-543-5142
83 West: 310 Dock St., Cedar Key. 352-543-5070
Carlin’s Steakhouse & Pub: 490 Dock St., Cedar Key. 352-543-8004
Tony’s Seafood Restaurant: 597 2nd St.,, Cedar Key. 352-543-0022
Bon voyage and bon appetit! Click here to see more restaurants in Levy County.