Gone are the days of dreary, old, ugly service plazas along the Florida Turnpike. These are not the rest stops I remember as a kid traveling with my parents. These new plaza’s are clean, new and comfortable and make a great impression to our visitors and tourists. Just take a look at this picture of the Turkey Lake Service Plaza. Nice! On our recent trip to north Florida, we stopped in to check out their new look and restaurant options.
West Palm Beach Service Plaza – Earl of Sandwich
Our first stop headed north was the West Palm Beach Service Plaza on the Florida Turnpike. They did a total rebuild and this place looks great. Modern and sleek comes to mind when you first see the outside. Stonework, steel and wood really make the building look sharp.
Inside, it’s bright and cheery and is a total 180 degree shift from the old service plazas. There is cool tile everywhere and some art pieces and some architectural features that let lots of natural light in.
We needed to refuel for breakfast and this particular service plaza has an Earl of Sandwich. They also have a Dunkin’ Donuts, KFC, Cheeburger Cheeburger and a Pizza Hut Express at this location. Earl of Sandwich seemed to be the clear choice for breakfast so we took our place in line.
Earl of Sandwich is a fast food restaurant that specializes in sandwiches. They have a conveyor oven that warms the bread (it’s really good bread) and the sandwich meats. For breakfast they offered Bacon, Egg and Cheese and Egg and Cheese sandwiches.
Today, there were two people working the counter, one taking orders and payments and one ‘cooking’. You expect the turnpike restaurants to be really quick since they do serve many people, right? Well, these two workers just didn’t work well together.
There were only three people ahead of us and they still couldn’t get things running smoothly. The first people got the wrong sandwiches and that threw everything off. It was almost like watching Lucy and Ethel in the candy episode. Maybe this was ‘breakfast and a show’ and we just didn’t know it. We paid and finally got our order, a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich and found a seat. The sandwich was still hot as it was fresh out of the oven and we cut it in half to share.
The bread at Earl of Sandwich is really good and high quality. The trip through the oven toasts it perfectly and softens it up well. The egg is actually scrambled and they cook it by a trip through the oven. It’s not a fresh cracked egg, rather the pasteurized version but it works well. The bacon is really good for a fast food place and probably one of our favorites. The cheese was melted through and held everything together. Overall this is one of our favorite fast food breakfast sandwiches. We make it a tradition to stop and get one every trip and today’s visit lived up to the expectation (except for the counter service).
Earl of Sandwich is located at Florida Turnpike Mile Marker 94 Lake Worth FL (West Palm Beach Service Plaza).
Turkey Lake Service Plaza – KFC
Since we only split a breakfast sandwich earlier, we found we were a bit hungry at 10 AM. That’s right around when we stopped at the Florida Turnpike Turkey Lake Service Plaza. It’s similar in décor as the other new plazas, with most of the same food options with additions like Villa and Natures Table and Wendy’s . We were in the mood for some KFC and were happy that they opened at 10 AM so we got right in line.
The counter service was quick and we got a two piece dark meat, chicken only. We got our order and settled in to eat. Jeff knows his KFC and yes he can tell just by the look of the chicken that this will be good.
I got the leg and on first bite, I have to say that this is probably one of the best KFC’s we’ve been to. The breading was light and stayed on the chicken and still had some crunch. Jeff confirmed to me that all eleven secret herbs and spices were intact as it was packed with flavor. The chicken meat was done perfectly and very moist and flavorful. The saddest part of the whole snack was when it was over.
While this might be one of the higher priced KFC (it is the Florida Turnpike after all), we’d gladly pay the price for this chicken, it was that good.
KFC is located at the Turkey Lake Service Plaza 263 Florida’s Turnpike Ocoee, FL.