The Smiling Bison - Sanford, Florida

Welcome to Historic Downtown Sanford, Seminole County’s Foodie Friendly Destination

Florida foodies and culinary travelers looking to wet their whistles and fill their plates should swing through Sanford, where the meals are always mouthwatering and the craft beer taps are always flowing. The historic city and county seat has one of the “region’s hottest food scenes” according to the Orlando Sentinel, and boasts a unique and far-ranging spread of culinary experiences that cater to every appetite.

Here’s a taste of what Sanford has to offer Floridian foodies, epicurean explorers and locals looking for convenient chow:

Tennessee Truffle – The Southern-fusion restaurant is renowned for its rave reviews, ever-changing menu and commitment to fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Chef Nat Russell puts a contemporary spin on Southern classics, dishing out plates such as: Nashville Hot Quail with scallion waffle, red onion chutney and smoked maple; Shrimp and Grits with grilled Florida shrimp, Antebellum Anson Mills grits sous-vied, a Lake Meadow Naturals farm egg, orange and celery salad and shrimp cuison; and Summer Pound Cake with macerated Plant City strawberries, buttermilk ice cream, popping sugar and lemon verbena syrup. This is not your grandmother’s Southern food restaurant.

The Smiling Bison – Farm to table aficionados flock to this restaurant and bar in historic Sanford. Their menu offers natural bison burgers and ribeye, a must for any restaurant named after these bovine beasts, but also nods to the fresh seafood on its doorstep with items such as grouper cheek rolls and local red snapper. Combine drinks and dessert with the “tekeyla lime pie,” a tipsy twist on the Florida treat made with tequila custard, toasted meringue and black sea salt.

Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe – Book a one way flight to Deutschland at this beloved local restaurant. In addition to serving a fantastic selection of imported German wines, beers and schnapps, the seasonal menu features traditional delicacies such as bratwurst platters, Wiener schnitzel and a giant pretzel known as a “riesenbreze.” Willow Tree also offers traditional beer hall entertainment and a gourmet German deli. Prost!

Wondermade Cafe – Dessert lovers rejoice! Wondermade’s shop in historic downtown Sanford features a sweet array of Wondermade marshmallows and ice creams, including exclusive store-only flavors. Visitors can also get their hands sticky with hands-on family workshops, couples date night workshops and kitchen tours.

Boba Babes – Fill up on tasty waffles and gourmet teas at this fresh Sanford eatery. The milks, teas and ingredients are all organic, the honey is locally sourced and the restaurant’s organic sugar is made in house.

And if the food isn’t tempting enough, the beers just might be! Four new breweries have opened in Sanford since the start of 2018, making it the unofficial king of the Central Florida beer scene. Hop on a few tours and toast the town at one of these breweries:

Sanford Brewing Company – This combined eatery, pub and brewery seats more than 100 people and serves up a massive menu of fresh brews and locally-sourced food. Try one of their hand-crafted beer, meads, ciders or specialty sodas while listening to local musicians and soaking in the sun.

Deviant Wolfe Brewing – Deviant Wolfe opened its doors in early 2018 and committed itself to “promoting balance in life through adventure, community and great beer.”

Wops Hops – Sanford’s first microbrewery is located in the landmark Stokes Fish Market in historic downtown Sanford. Wops Hops specializes in brewing English-style ales, American IPA’s, German lagers and ales and experimental fruit and spiced ales using only the finest ingredients. The founders believe “craft beer is an art” and take great pride in sharing it with their ever-growing community of loyal customers.

Inner Compass Brewing – Inner Compass’ simple, straightforward brewery opened in fall 2015 and offers craft beer fans delightful brews and plenty of outdoor seating. They currently have a crisp Kolsch, velvety Stout, reimagined Saison and a medium body IPA on tap.

New eateries, breweries and distilleries are constantly cropping up all over Sanford. Loggerhead Distillery is working with the City of Sanford to create a new craft distillery offering tasting rooms and tours to guests, which will be the second craft distillery of its kind in Central Florida. Even the Old Sanford Jailhouse is destined to become a restaurant serving “Sunbelt Smile Cuisine,” or cuisine inspired by the foods and flavors of the southern United States from California all the way to Florida.


About Orlando North, Seminole County:

A short drive from all the major attractions of Central Florida and home to Orlando Sanford International Airport, Orlando North, Seminole County offers first-rate accommodations for less, varied meeting & event venues, and diverse dining and shopping in its charming communities. Known as “Orlando’s Natural Oasis,” the destination offers visitors a wide array of thrilling outdoor activities from an aerial adventure course with zip lining to paddling alongside manatees in clear freshwater springs and rivers. Long known as an exciting and affordable meetings/groups destination, Orlando North also offers an array of sports and training facilities, including the new 102-acre Seminole County Sports Complex. For destination information call 1-800-800-7832 or 407-665-2900 or visit

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