Harbour Lights Restaurant & Lounge is a quaint little restaurant with a beautiful view of Lake Panasoffkee with impressively large cypress trees lining the embankment.
Harbour Lights is a great example of ‘old Florida’ and not much has changed in the past 30 years including the prices. An old Daily Sun article hangs on the wall and mentions that their buffet price is $13.95. Today it is still $13.95.
Selections on the hearty buffet menu are alternated and include seafood and meats such as ham, roast beef, turkey, fried shrimp, clam strips, broiled fish and fried fish. There are also several side dishes and veggies. On Friday and Saturday, crab legs can be added to your buffet choices at market price.
The restaurant was purchased 37 years ago by Paula and Dave Carson and Dave’s parents Bill and Doris Carson. Today it is run by Paula and Dave with the help of Paul “Ketchup” Heinze who is also a teacher. The Carsons didn’t have any restaurant experience when they bought Harbour Lights, but the former owner showed them the ropes for a month.
The energetic Heinze darts from table to table chatting with guests, reciting the specials with precision while waiting tables. It’s a friendly atmosphere, perfect for families. Heinze proclaims that the house rule is “Dessert before Dinner.” They have a wide selection of desserts to choose from at the buffet.
Before our meal Heinze brought us their pineapple fritters to try, which are heavenly. Beatrice, our 7 year old certainly had her fill.
We chose this restaurant to visit because we have family in Ocala and it’s a convenient meeting spot off of I-75, but is also ‘off the beaten path.’ It was a fun and memorable dining experience.
While you’re visiting be sure to take a walk outside by the lake. They have a little wooden bridge which is a nice spot for a family photo.
IF YOU GO:
Exit 321 from Interstate 75,
West on S.R. 470,
3 miles turn right onto C.R.439
Phone (352) 793-7058
907 C.R. 439B,
Lake Panasoffkee, Florida 33538