the short and tall of food

a couple's adventures in eating

Fairbanks Restaurant (Winter Park, FL)

Restaurant: Fairbanks Restaurant
Location: 1800 West Fairbanks Avenue  Winter Park, FL 32789

The Food: The Daily Special: Chicken & dumplings with a side salad and lima beans
The Price: $6.50 plus tax
The Critique: Before I critique this particular meal, please let me preface by saying: I love Fairbanks Restaurant. We’ve been going to this little diner for upwards of two years and have found this place to be chocked to the brim with warm waitresses and good eats. If you read nothing else in this post, read this: Eat at Fairbanks Restaurant.

Now…. It figures that the day Timothy and I revisited our little old diner in Winter Park specifically for the purposes of this food blog, I would receive a meal that just wasn’t up to par. But, to that later.

It’s not much to look at on the inside: the minty green walls, the old booths, the seasonal knick knacks placed about the room, the odd mirror lining one side of the interior as if to say, “This is a diner by day and a dance studio by night!” (it’s not). Fairbanks Restaurant is exactly what it screams on its tacky, ad-ridden tables: “No Fancy Napkins Here. Just Good Home Style Cooking.”

I’ve been wanting to try the chicken and dumplings here since we began going. But, as we usually dined in for breakfast, I’d never had the opportunity. Still on this sunny Wednesday in Orlando, I soldier on and give it another go. Prematurely self-defeated, I ask our server at around 10:30AM, “Is it too early for chicken and dumplings?” She informs me they’ll be ready in about ten minutes. “Perfect! I’ll wait.”

My meal is preceded by a side salad. It’s clearly a bag mix but I’m easy going. Finally, the big moment arrives and my platter is placed on the table. I imagine myself to look like a cartoon character with an oversized napkin tied around its neck and both fists clenched with silverware, armed and ready to tear at my entrée. But, alas,my dreams are crushed by this specimen.

Oh, how I had hoped for a piping plate of juicy chicken breast swimming in a peppery cream sauce with thick dumplings that stick to your teeth as you gorge yourself. What was this? This looked more like a Vietnamese soup: thin yellowy broth, flecks of fatty chicken, thin squares of- wait- are those wonton wrappers?

Ah. The chef and the owners are Asian. Now, I get it.

I have to say, despite my efforts to give it a chance and a second chance and a third chance,  I just didn’t love the flavor of this meal at all. It more closely resembled a weakly seasoned chicken noodle soup. The lima beans lacked flavor but were satisfying once I salted them. Thus, I have decided to quietly erase this particular meal from my mind and simply recommend the meals that I’ve come to know and love at Fairbanks Restaurant: The french toast daily special, the salisbury steak and rice, and their delectable egg salad sandwich.

The Verdict: Regretfully, I turn my head down to the chicken and dumplings. But, I say YES to all of my other food choices at Fairbanks Restaurant.

The Food: 
1/2lb Bacon Cheeseburger Deluxe
The Price: $6.99
The Critique: Admittedly, I am sad about what she ate. I like Pho as much as the next guy, but a diner? A diner!? Ok, now that I said that.

Normally, when I go to a restaurant I tend to look at the menu as a whole and say, “what can I get at this restaurant that I can’t get anywhere else?” Again, this is how I normally make my decisions. Not today. Today I had a 1/2lb (no doubt the weight before cooking) Bacon Cheeseburger Deluxe. What made the burger “deluxe” I will never know.

The burger is served with two nice pieces of bacon on it, and some shredded cheese that I wish was melted more. A nice kaiser roll fits and holds up to the patty nicely, but hey…it’s a kaiser roll. Accompanying this blood-thickening burger is a thick slice of raw white onion, a thick slice of tomato (yuck) and a couple pieces of iceberg lettuce. The burger is usually served with crinkle-cut fries which are crispy and perfectly cooked…why didn’t I go with the fries? I went with a side salad. WHY!? WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY!? A small bowl of some lettuce, a sloppily choppily tomato, and one shred of red cabbage! Fries. Always (pause) go (pause) fries. Rant complete. Alright, here’s the short and the tall. The burger is really nice. It’s a good size, nice flavor and will fill you up. The answer to “what side would you like with that?” Well, I think you know the answer to that.

The Verdict: I do look up at this burger and I look WAY WAY WAY up to those fries. They are a feature that is not to be missed. Salad in general is a bad choice to a cheeseburger. Do not let the guilt of bacon, cheese, and ground beef get to you. Relax. The fries aren’t going to “send you over the edge.” Check this place out, play it safe and have something conservative. Y ou won’t be disappointed.

Fairbanks Restaurant on Urbanspoon


5 comments on “Fairbanks Restaurant (Winter Park, FL)

  1. Linda Neal
    August 24, 2012

    Sad looking Chicken & Dumplings. Your Great-Grandma Bowers made the BEST Chicken and Dumplings. My mother made drop dumplings which are not noodles at all. They were made by dropping biscuit dough into boiling chicken stock. They would puff-up and then they melted in your mouth. Two different regions and how each learned by techniques that were passed down through generations. Both delicious. Plus the added LOVE in each dish was the first ingredient to hit your tongue and go right to your heart.

  2. cantimothy
    August 24, 2012

    Amen to all of that! I love that story about Grandma. Those are my personal favorite types of dumplings. Wishing I could have some homemade dumplings right now!

  3. thisfloridalife
    August 25, 2012

    Very nice post, did not know about this place and may give it a try sometime. Keep up the great work!

  4. ron & laurie
    August 25, 2012

    there should be kosher food around? lots of deli’s we lived there 10 yrs
    6 yrs ago.. still no real food we hear omg.

    • cantimothy
      August 26, 2012

      We have not gone to any kosher restaurants yet. Maybe in the future. Check back later for future posts.

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This entry was posted on August 24, 2012 by in American, Diner Food, Florida Food, Restaurant and tagged , , , , , .

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