When you first walk in, you’re not sure whether to order food, buy a book, or browse the exhibits. That’s because, at The Yearling Restaurant, you can do all three.
Established in 1952, this historic eatery takes the name of the area’s most famous literary character. Just a few hundred feet north of where author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings crafted her timeless story of life in the Florida frontier of the late 1800s, The Yearling Restaurant offers local food and live music in a rustic, Old Florida setting.
First off, you can’t help but notice the many historical artifacts throughout the place. There’s everything from a vintage typewriter (maybe Rawlings wrote her books on it) to an authentic fishing boat. Part of an old post office has been reconstructed in one room and antiques and collectibles can be found everywhere. There’s even a life-size diorama of the wildlife that inhabits the area’s forests and lakes. The backdrop was painted by a local artist and the animals professionally preserved by a local taxidermist.
Then there are the books, thousands of them, with many early editions of Rawlings’ novels, and they’re all for sale. You’ll find fiction, cookbooks, how-to books, biographies, nature books, and travel guides in hardback and paperback, and a variety of covers and bindings. Even the Florida Wine Country Guide to Northern Wineries can be found among the many titles on the shelves.
The Yearling Restaurant Menu
Come hungry because there’s a mouth-watering selection of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Start with fried green tomatoes and end with buttermilk pie and you won’t be disappointed. It’s no wonder The Yearling Restaurant is a 10-time recipient of Florida Trend Magazine’s Golden Spoon Award.
Menu items range from locally caught fish and game like froglegs, quail, and alligator, to traditional favorites like stuffed flounder, prime rib, and grilled chicken. You can have fresh catfish with cheese grits or try the venison with collards and tater tots. Be sure and save room for dessert. The Sour Orange pie is a must-have!
The Florida Wine Connection
Although the official address is Hawthorne, The Yearling Restaurant is located on County Road 325 near the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park in Cross Creek, about 14 miles southeast of Gainesville. Bluefield Estate Winery is about 13 miles north in Windsor and Island Grove Wine Company is about 4.5 miles south in Island Grove. Katya Vineyards and The Corkscrew Winery are about 24 miles south in downtown Ocala. So, if you are making it a wine tour weekend, The Yearling Restaurant should be on your list of stops.
The Yearling Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Thursday through Sunday, offering a full bar as well as their unique menu. Blues artist Willie Green is a regular feature, playing authentic blues on both his guitar and harmonica and other local musicians can also be found here, especially on Saturday night.
The Yearling Restaurant
14531 East County Road 325
Hawthorne, Florida 32640
- Thursday: Noon-8:00
- Friday: Noon-9:00
- Saturday: Noon-9:00
- Sunday: Noon-8:00