This summer, tens of thousands of Southwest Floridians are hitting the road for summer vacation. Being so far south has its challenges. It can take a long time to get out of the state. In addition, driving back into the state you sometimes need to stop and refuel. The kind of refueling I’m talking about is for the body, not the motor vehicle. When you feel the need for a break when driving up the interior state, check out this Highway 17 diner, a favorite Florida Pit Stop. It’s  Gloria’s Restaurant in Bowling Green.

Gloria’s sits almost right on the county line separating Polk and Hardee. I had passed by this place for years before finally stopping one day when I was tired and hungry. The parking lot almost always has cars in it, which for some people is a good sign. Just as we walked in, I caught a man taking the first bite of his sandwich. Juice came dripping out all over his plate and I thought, this has GOT to be good.

Food at the Highway 17 diner

Gloria’s serves breakfast all day. No frills, just good home cooked food. A chalkboard with the daily specials is at the front of the restaurant. Meatloaf is one special that sells out. There were so many things that looked good. However, we settled on a simple breakfast burrito and a Cuban sandwich.

The burrito was not huge, but rather manageable and hit all the flavor points you would expect. Simple and good. The Cuban had a generous slathering of mustard and mayo on the bread, along with pickles. Fries came with an all-purpose seasoning and the coleslaw had a touch of sweetness. I would definitely stop again.

There is another great place to stop on U.S. 17 just off of I-75 in Punta Gorda. Peace River Seafood is a local crab shack that is a must try. If you have a favorite pit stop, let me know here. In the meantime, here are some photos of this Highway 17 diner, a favorite Florida pit stop. Next time you drive past, give it a try to satisfy your hunger.

Photos From The Highway 17 diner

Sign me up for the ESPN Southwest Florida email newsletter!

You love listening to ESPN Southwest Florida, now make sure you’re getting all the extra perks. Sign up today to be an ESPN Southwest Florida Insider!

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.