For several months I drove past the former site of Bucca de Peppe and noticed signs for a Ford’s Garage coming soon. I figured it was just an auto maintenance place. I was wrong. Ford’s Garage is a restaurant franchise that boasts Prime Burgers & Craft Beers. Who doesn’t love a burger and a beer? I figured we’d try it out sooner or later. Last week our Great Escape group headed over there (it was Mike’s pick and Mike does love him some burgers).
The restaurant has been open now for about 2-3 months and while I attributed the early crowds to curiosity, there’s been no waning of attention. The parking lot is always full. Kudos to them.
They get high marks for decor – they’ve pulled out all the stops when it comes to decorative touches that evoke an old time garage (a very clean one). Model T replicas both inside and out. There are cute touches like using blue rags clasped with an O ring napkin holder. The wait staff is outfitted like garage attendants. Very nice black and white prints of old timey cars and people and colorful tin signs like Val Vo Line and such - It all works. And whether you need to or not, go visit the rest room and check out their unique sink formed from an auto tire - adorable.
Fords Garage doesn’t take reservations unless you’re a party of 12 or more, so our party of eight used the call ahead system which promises no more than a 45 minute wait. (Imagine if we hadn’t called ahead?!) The place is extremely noisy, not very conducive to conversation. So we were happy when they offered us the patio, but unfortunately they wanted to seat us at a high top table and that didn’t suit some of the group due to back problems. When we refused that seating it resulted in another 20 minute wait and some confusion with the staff. But finally we were seated. It was a beautiful cool evening and the patio was perfect. We enjoyed the quieter atmosphere.
As for the food, it’s a burger place so really that’s what you should order. I will say that hubby and I had been to Fords once for lunch soon after it opened and we very much enjoyed their burger. This time I chose sliders from the menu and I wasn’t so happy with them. Because they’re small they were over cooked. Oh well, lesson learned. Everyone else seemed to enjoy their burgers. Kathy ordered a Bison Burger (that’s an exotic pick) and said it was quite good.
We partook of some beers as well and Cheryl tried one called Oberon that our waitress said would be a good substitute for Blue Moon. It was close and Cheryl did like it. The list of beers they carry, both bottled and draft, is staggering. One wonders how knowledgeable the wait staff can possibly be in assisting diners with selections. Do they have to go to Beer School? Fun!
It was a Saturday night and the place was slammed. Our waitress seemed overwhelmed and frankly could have been much more attentive than she was. So what is our final lesson learned? Go for lunch during the week in a party of no more than four so you can hear each other speak. Have a burger and a beer – that’s what they specialize in after all. And you’ll enjoy it no doubt. Hubby and I met 27 years ago at a dance club in NYC called "Chevy's" that was decorated with '57 Chevy cars. So maybe I have a soft spot for automobile themed restaurants, who knows?
For the true burger lover with a taste for adventure, they offer a 10 pound ginormous burger called “Henry Ford’s Hub Cap” for $125.00. Comes with 5 pounds of fries. This serves up to 15 guests HOWEVER, if you’re a maniac and eat it all yourself within 2 hours it will be free (although you may need to spend that savings on medical bills!) Hey who’s that guy from Man Versus Food? This would be right up his alley.
Located at: 11105 Causeway Blvd. Brandon, FL 33511 813-661-FORD (3673)(Don't forget to call ahead!)