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Take Me to the River

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This fun little food shack may be in the middle of nowhere, but the fact remains, it is completely a “must go” for any Hernando County eatery aficionado. Let me share with you the food joint that gives new meaning to the word “dive.”

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The Riverside Restaurant is in Nobleton, about 20 minutes outside of Brooksville: 29250 Lake Lindsey Rd, Nobleton, FL 34661.

I’ll be blunt. First off, there’s nothing fancy here. No tacky stuff on the walls. No giant flatscreens blasting the latest football game. No jukebox. The Riverside Café (as it is sometimes called) prefers to stick to two things: minimalism and their menu. But that’s why the place here is so darn appealing. They don’t try and be like the rest. They thrive on what makes them different. With the inside holding only about five booths, medium-sized bar seating, and maybe half a dozen tables in the middle of room – not to mention extensive seating outside the bistro – you’ll most likely remind yourself that the reason you came here wasn’t to for aesthetics or cheap tricks or gimmicks. It was to taste some of the best grub the south has to offer, see some absolutely fantastic live music, and mingle with an eclectic group of people that otherwise wouldn’t congregate together anywhere else – everyone is welcome at the Riverside Restaurant, from bikers to Brooksville’s elite to the salt of the earth. 

The eats at this joint flawlessly pass the test of the tongue. The second you walk in through the front door, you’ll immediately notice that the service is outstanding and the staff is very friendly. Loving what you had to eat is a common thing at this diner. The most notable and delicious meal is the f+amous Nobel-Ton burger. It’s a half pounder made the way you want, with Swiss cheese, grilled onions and black olives. You will salivate the first time you see it. Or, if you prefer to be the more adventurous eater, you could try the Reuben, because it is delish and very tender. Succulent strips of juicy meat combined with mouth-watering sauerkraut both melt in your mouth the moment it makes contact with your sandwich. The fries too, are quite spectacular. Crinkle cut, crisp and hot, they hit the belly and fill you full of satisfaction. There’s also the cheese steak, the monster burger, and their salads, as well as their grade A onion rings. “You get what you want here….and you will like it!!” Said one patron.

Upon arrival, and on a day when a live group is playing, expect to hear a lot of great classic rock songs that don’t just fit in perfectly with the restaurant’s ambiance, but bring you back to a time when you were younger, a time of better music and better tunes. The bands that come here tend to play covers of those hits you used to jam out to on your 8-track player back during high school, groups like Golden Earring, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, and even Queen. You can dance, you can talk, or you can smoke cigarettes until your lungs are black, but if you’re here on an afternoon when a band is playing, you’ll quickly see they make all that ten times more enjoyable. This brasserie simply bleeds rock’n’roll.

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Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this canteen is the way everyone, and I mean all sorts of people from almost every walk of life, gets along as if they were already best friends. No matter how big their differences are, this place welcomes everybody, and everybody welcomes this place. Here outlaw bikers could dine right adjacent to the state police, and no one breaks a sweat. Even if you are intimidated by a certain type of person, you won’t feel it here. I promise.

Whatever their reputation, visiting this joint even once will probably win you over. Yeah, you might think “I don’t belong there,” when you pass by it on the road. But give it a try- at the very least, you’ll get outside your comfort zone. And that’s necessary every once in a while.

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