‘Watts for Dinner’: Make some memories at Goodland’s Little Bar

Will Watts
Correspondent

Our next dining destination is Little Bar in Goodland. Visiting the establishment’s website, I was greeted with “Is Little Bar Open?” That’s exactly what I was verifying.

I was also greeted with this message, that was posted last May. “Little Bar is grappling with guidance, economic well-being versus physical well-being, individual freedom versus collective good.”

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And, “The idea that you have to choose between what you can do and what you should do is a very weird place to be in.”

Well said.

We allowed ourselves to eat at the restaurant through a combination of thoughtful decisions; we went between lunch and dinner on a weekday – when there are fewer diners – and we scored outside (waterfront) seating. It was a beautiful day with cool temps, a breeze, and despite the time, there was still live music from the next door neighbor, Stan’s Happy Hour, wafting across the water. Perfect!

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Now on to the food. Things got off to an appetizing start with the blackened shrimp ($13.95) and the conch fritters ($6.75). Even though the shrimp came with melted butter (on the side) they were seasoned so perfectly, they didn’t need anything else. And the conch fritters? Best I’ve had since my last visit to the Conch Republic of Key West (and that’s a place that knows its conch).

For my main dish, I had the fried grouper sandwich ($18.95), which comes with cole slaw and a heaping helpin’ of French fries. This is an amazing and satisfying meal. The grouper, golden brown, sitting atop a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato and onion and your choice of mayo, ketchup or tartar sauce. The sandwich melts in your mouth and the fries are crispy and delicious. 

My partner in dine picked the crab cakes ($18.95) which came with a side of seasoned rice and cole slaw. The cakes come in a lightly seasoned, tomato sauce. While also a little light on flavor, the dish is beautiful to behold and there’s a lot more food on the plate than when you typically order crab cakes from a restaurant.

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Every time I visit Goodland, I must have grouper on my mind. During my last official visit in January 2019, I picked the blackened grouper. While you might think of blackened as dark and spicy – I know I do – this grouper was more grilled in appearance. It was a large fillet, cooked beautifully and with subtle seasoning. And paired perfectly with the tartar.

I also loved the appetizer during that visit, the buffalo shrimp. Four good-sized shrimps with a buffalo drizzle and served with blue-cheese dressing. Amazing!

If you’re hankering for an old Florida feel, or a closeup look at a fishing village, this is the perfect dining spot for you. Staff were wearing masks (yes, even outside), are super friendly and very accommodating. You’ll make memories and will revisit your experience as if you were on a vacation. Happy eating!  

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This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food.

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If you go

Little Bar Restaurant

  • 205 Harbor Drive, Goodland
  • 239-394-5663
  • littlebarrestaurant.com