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Very sad news.  My dear friend R.C. Bauer, a big radio executive in Tampa, informs me that the restaurant was
destroyed by fire and that there are no plans to rebuild.  This is a real shame.  It was a sensational family place dating back to 1948.
Picture's of what's left at the bottom of the page.

We first dined at the Farmer Jones Red Barn Steakhouse back in 1988.  I was operations manager at NewsRadio 970 WFLA in nearby Tampa and our afternoon talk show host, the late Dick Norman, suggested that we give it a try.  I'll always remember him telling me:  "What you do is take I-4 east and get off at County Line Road.  Go over to U.S. 92 and turn left.  It's up ahead on the right. Now when you first see it, you won't want to stop because it isn't very pretty.  But don't be scared off.  It's a great place." It was, as they say, love at first bite for us and I've recommended the place to countless people over the years.

You come to the "Big Red Barn" for big steaks served up on sizzling platters.  This is very casual family dining but make no mistake about it, this is also great dining.  On one side of your table you might find large party of people on their way to a church function.  On the other side of your table you might find two businessmen who have flown in from Atlanta on their private helicopter to enjoy a great steak.  On more than one occasion I personally saw a Bell Jet Ranger parked in the grass next to the place!   And in another corner of the restaurant you might find a farmer with his 10 kids in their overalls chowing down on beef.

The menu features the "usual suspects" including New York strip and filet mignon steaks.  But the two pound porterhouse is pretty hard to resist!  The steaks are broiled under a very hot broiler and seasoned with a garlic powder of some sort.  Great stuff but if you don't like garlic, you might ask them to hold the seasoning.  And they always come to your table on a sizzling hot platter, as I mentioned.

Seafood offerings are included on the menu along with chicken but you come here for one thing--the steak!

Appetizers include some interesting choices including the fried green tomatoes.  And for dessert, they've got some of the best cheesecakes around (plain and with berries on top) baked at a nearby bakery.

For people who live in Orlando and Tampa, a trip to this eatery makes a nice family outing.  A bit of a hike but well worth the reward!

The Red Barn is a great place.  From the moment you walk into the place you can tell that it has been there "forever" and a brief history is written on the menu.

Lakeland is located just off of I-4 between Tampa and Orlando.  The Red Barn was located at 6150 New Tampa Highway in Lakeland. 

Here's all that's left now:


It's so sad to post these (taken in October of 2007).  We had dozens and dozens of incredible meals at the old red barn!  A moment of silence please.  (pause).
Thank you.  May she rest in peace.