Rolling into Clewiston, Florida the first order of business was to find the hotel and dump my bag into the room. At the desk I asked the clerk if she had any restaurant suggestions. She pointed to a chain BBQ joint and said they had a great salad bar. I thanked her and decided to explore the local food scene on my own.
The main drag was largely deserted by the time I drove towards Lake Okeechobee and Scotty’s Tiki Bar. The restaurant is part of Roland Martin Marine & Resort, and is located under a large opened air pavilion on the edge of the lake. The sound of laughing people carried over the parking lot.
I took a seat at the bar and ordered a cold Bud. The beer arrived moments later and I looked over the menu. The Tiki Bar offers various appetizers, salads, tacos, burgers, sandwiches, and seafood entrees. I was in the mood for some wings and fish tacos. The bartender indicated the wings would be out first and I sipped on my beer and took in the local scenery.
A bus load of tourist from Quebec arrived the same time I did and commandeered a group of tables furthest from the water. Neon lights lined the rafters, illuminated palm trees hung around the bar, and beer signs lined the walls. Locals crowded around talking with one another while ripping heaters and slamming shots. Several televisions showed Jeopardy with the volume turned all the way down so that the answers to the blue and white questions remained a mystery.
Following a 20 minute wait the chicken wings arrived. They were served dry with a homemade spicy Buffalo garlic sauce, bleu cheese, and celery. The wings tasted like they were poured from a bag and tossed into the fryer. The sauce was good, but there wasn’t enough to cover the wings, and my attempts to flag down a frantic bartender were in vain.
A second beer bridged the long gap between the wings and the arrival of the fish tacos. Three flour tortillas were filled with the Tiki Bar’s “Ultimate Fish” (aka Swai) topped with shredded cheddar cheese, shredded cabbage, and tomatoes. I ordered the fish blacked but it appeared to have been served grilled. The mild fish without any season was lost among the toppings and resulted in something that was filling rather than delicious.
The best part of my dinner was the ice cold beer as the laid back vibe. Service was also glacial as it took almost two hours to get a basket of wings and three fish tacos. The Tiki Bar is located at 920 E. Del Monte Ave and is open daily from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. The restaurant can be found online at tikibarandgrill.net and contacted by telephone at (863) 983-3151.
Sweet Tea & Bourbon’s Rating: