33640 State Road 52
St. Leo, Florida 33574
St. Leo Abbey Tavern is one of only two restaurants in St. Leo unless you count the cafeteria at St. Leo University.
This establishment is in an unpretentious building at the Abbey golf course across the highway from the university. The golf course pro shop is in one end of the building. The golf course itself is beautiful, with lots of rolling hills and ancient trees. Don't let the restaurant's plain Jane exterior fool you. Go on in and enjoy yourself.
I visited a bit early for dinner on a Saturday - not quite 5 o'clock - and was greeted by a friendly young server named Alexis. She is a freshman at the university, working her way through college and shooting for a degree in biology. I enjoyed a glass of the house Chardonnay while looking through the menu. The wine was great. It was even better when I noticed it was only $3 a glass. Because of the early hour I decided to eat light. I ordered a large house salad and a bowl of chicken soup. Both were fresh and delicious.
In addition to studying the menu, I read the sign board near the front door that featured the specials of the day. They sounded great: stuffed lobster tail, salmon, 10 ounce pork chop and beef tips. The entrees and the appetizers are very reasonably priced. No way you will break the bank in this cozy little place. The appetizers on the daily special board included fried chicken gizzards, guacamole and chips, fried green beans and fried clam strips.
The Abbey Tavern has a full service bar separated from the dining room by a waist high wall. The bar has a good selection of beer, wine and liquor. The prices are not only reasonable but downright cheap. You can enjoy $2.50 well drinks, $3.00 glasses of wine and discounted pitchers of draft beer.
I imagine it does a good lunch business with menu items that include half pound hamburgers, sandwiches, foot long hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken fingers and haddock. There was a nice mix of customers in the dining room when I was there. Some college students, a family with kids, some retirees and a golfer or two. Wednesday is Ladies Night from 8pm until closing. Beer and well drinks are $1 on that magic evening. Alexis mentioned that they get a great crowd on Wednesday nights.
I like the Abbey Tavern and plan to go again for dinner in the near future. I've heard that people drive for hours just to enjoy The Tavern’s seafood chowder (offered on weekends). I want to try it; it's supposed to be the best in Florida.
St. Leo Abbey Tavern is open 7 days a week from 11am to 9pm, but it stays open until 11pm on Friday and Saturday.