Saturday, April 26, 2014

You want a bite of this? No thanks, I'm stuffed: Linger Lodge — Bradenton, Florida's taxidermy-themed restaurant

 Inside this Old Florida-looking locale awaits one of the Top 5 Weirdest Restaurants in America...

 ...and if you don't agree, take it up with Al Roker.

 This distinguished elderly gentleman greets you at the door...

Old and very fragile? Sounds like the results from my last physical.

 Not every restaurant spells their name out in a snake font...

 ...made of real snakes.

 They got lots of them all around...

 ...including this fellow with venom 30 times more potent than a rattlesnake's. Suck it, rattlesnake!

 It 's all fun and games until a gator starts chewing on a man's leg...

 ...and I don't believe I've ever seen a stuffed boar's butt mounted on the walls of the Olive Garden.

 They've got alligator on the menu and I'm guessing it tastes like chicken...

 ...I opted for the yummy fish and chips instead.

 The lodge sits on the beautiful Braden River... all its glory.

 They're fond of stuffed squirrels playing sports like baseball...

 ...and golf. That's nuts!

 And for readers of The Weekly World News, there's a jackalope...

 ...Alaskan fur fish...

 ...and blue-billed ortholock.

 Not quite sure what the connection to JFK is, but, okay.

Tip your waitress!

As mentioned in our previous post, the eccentric roadside wonders of Bradenton, Florida are plentiful, indeed. As if a vintage Mister Donut shop, a Uniroyal Gal and a manatee on every corner aren't enough, the "friendly city," as it's known, boasts a strange and glorious throwback to Florida tourist attractions of days gone by in the Linger Lodge, an RV park and restaurant on the beautiful Braden River in the east part of town. It started out as a campground in 1945 and in 1968 a Mr. Frank Gamsky, an amateur taxidermist, and his wife Elaine bought the place and added eccentricity to its ambiance by filling the walls and rooms with stuffed native animals, including snakes, bobcats, turtles, alligators, bears, fox and fish, all glaring at you while you enjoy your frog legs, alligator chowder and other less challenging traditional Southern dishes. There are also whimsical creatures such as jackolopes and Alaskan fur fish, and demented stuffed squirrels making golf shots and throwing hoops. This would not be the place to hold the next monthly PETA board of directors meeting, to say the least, but the food I ordered (fish and chips) was really good and the atmosphere was fun in a ghastly sort of way — I felt like I was dining in the corridor between a natural history museum and a novelty store. The Lodge's current owners put the place up for sale last fall, with plans to perhaps sell the restaurant separately from the adjacent RV park.  Let's hope the new owners treat the place with the same reverence for jaw-dropping Old Florida anything-goes ambiance as every owner has before. After all, no one likes a stuffed shirt.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hut damn! Bradenton, Florida's Quonset hut Uniroyal Gal

Coming across a Uniroyal Gal is like seeing the leading lady from the deliciously awful 1958 sci-fi classic "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman." "Har-ry!..."

When Eccentric Roadside moved our world headquarters from Rhode Island to Bradenton, Florida, little did we know kismet was involved until we discovered there is one of those rarest of rare eccentric roadside attractions right here in town: a Uniroyal Gal, the Muffler Man's sultry female counterpart, created as an eye-catching Jackie Kennedy-esque roadside icon by the International Fiberglass company for Uniroyal back in 1966. There are only 12 or so of these beauties left that are still out in full view and we've been fortunate to have seen three before (click here) in such far-flung places as Blackfoot, Idaho, Blackwood, New Jersey and Unger, West Virginia, but we never dreamed there would be one right on own own home turf. This one is displayed in front of the Edmunds Metal Works Quonset hut. The hut has an imposing hand-painted sign on it that says "Powder Room: Total Custom Powder Coating". Across the way is another building with an old-timey sign that says "Gasoline Alley" on its side. This whole establishment looks like it would make a fine locale for one of those cable-TV shows about outrageous auto customization, with Miss Edmunds (or some other alias) as their fetching heroine. Compared to the other Uniroyal Gals we've seen, Miss Edmunds is rather au natural, with her sun-baked, worn complexion and scruffy, yellow bikini. Perhaps she's due for a, there's a cable TV series we'd watch: "Uniroyal Gal Makeover." Of course, though, we know she's beautiful on the inside and that's what really counts.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Eccentric street name of the week

I wouldn't want to be the real estate agent selling luxury condos on Cockroach Bay Road. For a possible explanation of why they call it that, click here.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Oh, the huge manatees! Scenes from Manatee County, Florida

There's a county in Florida that's so proud of its eccentric native herbivorous marine mammal, they named the county after it. We're talking about Manatee County, incorporating the city of Bradenton and smaller towns of Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach, Longboat Key, Holmes Beach and Palmetto. One of the main drags in Bradenton is called, appropriately enough, Manatee Avenue and on it and other streets in town you'll see a plethora of businesses and places that proudly use Manatee in their names.  We love this and like to take the names literally, as if Manatee Dental is where a manatee goes to get his teeth cleaned and Manatee Termite is the exterminator of choice for sea cows everywhere.

Kudos to you, Manatee County, for picking such a lovable and kooky creature for your namesake. Below is a gallery of some of the local signs that amuse the eccentric traveler along the way:

 I'm guessing manatees prefer Whirpool

 The main drag through Bradenton

 This manatee's teeth (manateeth) light up at night. Just thought you should know that.

 If you look closely you'll see a manatee in a recliner. Just thought you should know that, too.

 You might think Manatee High School's sports mascot would be the, oh, I don't know, manatee, but they're the Hurricanes because, let's face it, manatees just aren't that intimidating.

 We're guessing if you want books about manatees, they got 'em

Bradenton has a manatee celebrity named Snooty at the local aquarium, which I'm sure we'll blog about in the future, and there will be another lousy "Oh the humanity" joke, I guarantee.