Ford’s Garage – St. Pete
Ford’s Garage: 200 1st Avenue S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Ford’s Garage is a licensee of the Ford Motor Company. A group of co-workers were in St. Petersburg, FL, for a meeting with the South Florida Eats team, and several of us were craving burgers and good cocktails. We were in downtown St. Petersburg, FL, and Ford’s Garage was just a few blocks from our hotel. So they left the pool and walked with me to the restaurant. I believe there must have been about eight people in our group.
We were greeted by a smile when we entered through the front door. The restaurant is not too far from Central, one of the main streets in downtown St. Pete. Just a few minutes walking distance from the marina and waterfront areas and in the heart of the financial and restaurant zones.
From the outside, Ford’s Garage is a nondescript brick building in one of the high rises stretching across the downtown skyline of St. Petersburg, FL. A fairly nice-sized bar area stares at you as you stand in the lobby waiting to be seated. You can browse their merchandise and gifts while waiting, such as t-shirts, mugs, spices, and more.
The main dining area is to the left, filled with tables and chairs. Along the back wall are a few booths, but it’s mostly an open seating concept. There is also outdoor seating along one side of the restaurant that looks out onto 2nd Street. If you are into people-watching, this is a great restaurant to do it at. A classic Ford model-T hangs from the ceiling in the bar area, and the atmosphere is fantastic. TVs are spread throughout the place, allowing you to watch your favorite sports.
Let’s start by looking at the various appetizers Ford’s Garage offers. The menu offers things like wings, nachos, chicken dip, their version of bang bang shrimp called Firestone Shrimp, and a Giant funnel of onion rings. All eight choices are good, and you can’t make a wrong decision for your starter.
The South Florida Eats team decided to go with the regular chips and salsa, a standard provision on each table, before ordering. We thoroughly enjoyed the housemade salsa. From there, we moved on to Ford’s Pickles: Crispy, Hand-Breaded Claussen® Pickle Spears in a Panko Crust with Cucumber Wasabi Dipping Sauce. We opted to substitute ranch for the wasabi dipping sauce as none of the group was much into very hot things. We all loved the pickles and how crispy they were, with a nice snap that you would expect from a Claussen. You have to try them out for yourself.
Edsel’s Hot Pretzels was up next—salted Soft Pretzels served with Ford’s Beer Cheese and Honey Mustard Dipping Sauces. I’m a giant soft pretzel fan, and the four pretzel rods they serve up at Ford’s Garage in St. Pete have the perfect crust to provide a little crunch on the outside while maintaining the soft inside. The beer cheese and honey mustard dipping sauces were perfect for dipping, adding just a bit of flavor that sent our table over the moon. I wish I could make these precisely like they do at home.
Ford’s Garage Main Menu:
Now, let’s look at the main menu items that the South Florida Eats team tried at Ford’s Garage in St. Petersburg, FL. For those who are more into going green, there are five different salads to satisfy your fancy. However, no one in the group wanted to try those out this time, so I am not sure what they taste like. In addition, there are a couple of soups and a few sandwiches. You will also find about ten different comfort food entrees towards the end of the menu.
One group member did go with a comfort food option and chose Mama Ford’s Homemade Meatloaf. It’s their signature recipe topped with housemade gravy, served with a choice of two sides. He decided to go with Cole Slaw, made in-house with a blend of finely shredded cabbage, carrots and dressing, and creamy mashed potatoes.
Ford’s Garage is famous for its variety of burger options, and most of our group decided to try them out. Let’s start with Ford’s Signature burger. Besides their house grind making a perfect patty, it’s topped with Tillamook® Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Bourbon BBQ Sauce, Chopped Romaine, Tomato, and Red Onion on a Brioche Bun. The flavors mixed perfectly, and the BBQ sauce was not overpowering like many restaurants.
The next burger being tried was the Black and Blue burger. They use the same patty grilled with Blackened Seasoning, Crumbled Bleu Cheese, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Chopped Romaine, and Tomato on a Pretzel Bun. The blackened seasoning adds a nice kick, offset by the incredible flavor of the blue cheese. The best part is the pretzel bun, which tastes like their soft pretzel rods.
The Roadster burger is a slightly smaller and lighter version of the restaurant’s standard 1/2 lb. options. The version the South Florida Eats team tried was the Americana Roadster, Topped with American Cheese, Red Onion, Tomato, Chopped Romaine, and Pickle Planks on a Brioche Bun. The three Roadster options might be the right fit for those looking to taste these outstanding burgers without all the guilt.
Several of our group also had the American Standard 1/2 lb. burger topped with American Cheese, Chopped Romaine, Tomato, Red Onion, and Pickle Planks on a Brioche Bun. The traditional toppings added so much flavor that we cleaned our plates in no time flat. If you are looking for a more traditional burger, this is the one to try.
The last burger we tried at Ford’s was the BBQ Brisket Burger. 1/2 lb. patty topped with Tillamook® Sharp Cheddar, Bourbon BBQ Sauce, Hickory Smoked Brisket, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Red Onions, and Crispy Onion Straws on a Brioche Bun. Again, this one did not disappoint either. The mix of flavors was like an explosion in your mouth. This burger is a little messier than the others but well worth every drip and bite.