If you part the branches of Mixon Fruit Farms’ citrus trees, you might spy an unusual sight: Burmese pythons, an alligator, a crocodile, and African land tortoises basking in the sunlight, surrounded by cages of roosting falcons.
The farm that began in 1939 as a 20-acre roadside fruit stand has stayed true to citrus farmer Willy Mixon’s vision of showcasing the region’s natural splendor. But in addition to an extra 50 acres of fruit trees, the farm has expanded its focus to include a wildlife refuge, where rescue volunteers nurse injured animals back to health and educate visitors on native and exotic species. The farm also hosts an on-site tropical garden along with dazzling koi ponds, and has a magical maze open to kids of all ages.
Along with daily tours of the grove and sanctuary, Mixon Fruit Farms also spotlights Florida’s bounty with citrus-infused ice cream and salads at Groveside Café. Homemade fudge and orange juice also populate the 14,000-square-foot gift shop
Caddyshak Sports Bar & Grill adds a dash of scenery to its pancake breakfasts, overstuffed club and Cuban sandwiches, and Angus burgers. From the patio, guests can take in the idyllic beauty of the nearby lake and tune in to the frustrated yelps of golfers from the adjacent River Club Golf Course. Hash browns and hard lemonade in the morning lead to midday games of corn toss, which in turn lead to live music and lively dancing on the dance floor later on. Chicken caesar wraps and relish-topped hot dogs help diners to concentrate on their bluffing and memory skills during bouts of Buzztime poker and trivia, or during birthday toasts in one of Caddyshak's three party rooms.
Bill Shumate's career as a restaurateur began in 1964 when he opened a small burger shack that catered to the hearty appetites of University of Oklahoma students. After spending the next several decades opening and operating eateries, Shumate decided that his next venture should somehow honor his burger roots. He partnered with Joanie Corneil in 2006 and developed a concept choosing the name Square 1 Burgers to reflect this full-circle journey. Unlike that original restaurant, though, Square 1 Burgers grew over the years, eventually expanding to several locations throughout west central Florida.
Although the concept was intended to be a return to basics, Square 1 isn't constrained by traditional conventions. Patties of Meyer's all-natural red Angus beef, Kobe, lamb, ground buffalo, and portobello mushroom caps all appear between the buns, providing a wealth of options to consider before even thinking about toppings. This eclectic spirit is also apparent in the menu's selection of appetizers, which includes everything from sun-dried tomato and artichoke hummus to homemade double-dipped onion rings. Even the milkshakes made with Blue Bell ice cream seem like faithful renditions of an American classic at first. However, the grown-up versions with Baileys, vodka, and Kahlua or brandy, crème de cacao continue to demonstrate Square 1 Burgers' playful spirit.
Hearty brews from the local area, around the country, and all over the world take center stage at World of Beer Sarasota, with countless varieties on tap and hundreds of selections by the bottle. The selection is updated frequently, so each visit to World of Beer can mean discovering a new favorite brew. For those who aren't certified beerophiles, the modern brick-lined space also offers a selection of white and red wines. After grabbing a drink, patrons can head out to the outdoor patio to enjoy some of the bar's Rocky Patel cigars. In addition to serving the masses, World of Beer also hosts a constant stream of events, including ladies' nights, trivia nights, and performances from live bands.
The Angry Pickle's house-made spicy pickles sit across the high-topped tables from hand-shaped burger patties and a selection of 14 draught beers in a casual eatery. Appetizers such as fried pickles, available in dill or a house-crafted angry spicy blend, named after Sporty Spice after her exposure to hulk-inducing gamma rays, dance across taste buds, and palatable jalapeño poppers burst into a culinary fireworks display of gooey cheese.