By Hope S. Philbrick
“I’ve never had the frog legs! I’m going to order them tonight!” So said my 12-year-old dining companion after listening to his dad tout the signature dish at Marsh Landing Restaurant, where our group would dine later that evening.
Fast forward a few hours. We’re sitting around a table in a private room at the restaurant and the same kid tells the waitress, “I’ll have ribeye.”
“I thought you were having the frog legs,” I reminded him.
“But I love the steak so much!”
Ah, the unadventurous palate of youth.
You may be wise not to make that same mistake. Fellsmere, Florida is home to the annual Frog Leg Festival—next scheduled for January 19-22, 2017—so it’s arguably the place to try some. It’s true: It tastes like chicken.
The Frog Leg Festival is the Guinness Book of World Records holder for the Largest Frog Leg Festival in the world. At Marsh Landing, you can see that Guinness Book of World Records certificate on display alongside another for “most frog legs served in the space of a working day,” which was awarded January 19, 2001.
Marsh Landing Restaurant is housed in a building built in 1926 as the land sales office for Fellsmere Estates Corp., later used as the headquarters for Florida Crystal Sugar Co., and then a municipal building. The interior architecture boasts details like cypress wood frames and a tongue and groove ceiling, accented with whimsical décor to set a casual, festive mood. “We will transport you to Florida’s boom and bust years of the 1920’s and ‘30’s, when folks lived off the land and were still settling the wild yonder!” boasts the website.
At the helm in the kitchen is Chef Larry Bass, a Georgia native. The menu offers what is billed as “old Florida cuisine” including frog legs, catfish, gator tail, fried green tomatoes and swamp cabbage alongside hand-cut steaks, ribs, fresh seafood dishes and homemade desserts. For breakfast there’s eggs, sweet potato pancakes, biscuits & gravy, and other traditional favorites, all cooked to order.
Among the cocktails is a Marsh-A-Rita, made with habanero-infused tequila, Indian River grapefruit, triple sec and lime juice. The heat level is just right; you may decide to wrap your tongue around two.
Leap to Marsh Landing and be as daring with your order as you can stomach.
Open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Odds of Encountering Children: High, but you can request a quiet space since the restaurant has several nooks and dining spaces.
Marsh Landing Restaurant
44 N Broadway St.
Fellsmere, FL 32948
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
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