Uncle El’s Seafood

by Katie on March 30, 2012

Brandon and I spent a few days traveling to Florida to visit a couple of our customers . Overall, it was a nice trip:  meeting customers we’ve been doing business with for at least two years, checking out their business, learning about their customers and competitors.

But, we did make a wrong turn…

Upon arriving in Orlando, we retrieved our rental car for the 80-mile trip to Ocala, “The Horse Capital of the World.” Similar to our goal when visiting Texas to eat as much barbeque and seafood as possible, we intended to fill our bellies with seafood in Florida.

We were following the handy GPS to our hotel destination in Ocala and decided to use the “points of interest” feature for the first time to locate a seafood restaurant nearby.

Short story:  we will not use that feature again.

Long story:

The closest seafood restaurant was listed as “Shell’s Seafood,” less than one mile from the hotel. But, when the GPS was telling us to turn into Shell’s, there was no Shell’s. There was an “Ocean Buffet,” which claimed to have a mixture of seafood, sushi and Japanese cuisine. We opted out.

The next closest location offering ocean fare was “Uncle El’s Seafood,” 2.7 miles away.

We had to travel north some off the street we were on, then turn east on the next major road through town. As soon as we made that turn east, Brandon spoke up.

“Um, I think we’re in the ghetto.”

No sooner had he said those words than we drove past a small green house with a card table on the front porch, occupied by two young men with backwards ball caps, wife-beaters, low-slung pants and a tower of beer cans.

“Um, we’re definitely in the ghetto,” I responded.

Yes, I realize we were completely stereotyping the area and its inhabitants, but it’s hard not to. It looked just like a neighborhood back home which is a proven ghetto.

We only had .7 miles to go before we were supposed to arrive at Uncle El’s. The next place of business we passed was a run-down corner store with a stream of customers very similar to the two gentlemen on the front porch we passed.

Brandon said, “If that’s what Uncle El’s looks like, we’re not stopping.”

As the GPS began alerting us to our destination, we approached a small, shady laundromat.

On the corner of said laundromat?

Uncle El’s.

Without either of us saying a word, Brandon made the first u-turn we approached.

After we were back on track to the opposite side of town, Brandon asked, “How did we travel to one of the richest cities in America and end up in the ghetto within ten minutes?”

One of life’s great questions, I tell you.

Needless to say, we abandoned our seafood search and stopped at the first steakhouse we saw, which ended up being an excellent choice anyway.

[If you’re ever in Ocala, Florida, stop at Cody’s Roadhouse.]

 

 

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