Every Friday through the end of 2018, the Rant will feature a dish that stands out among Lee County’s restaurant scene. We’ll usually focus on lunch, but there aren’t any rules – we just want to let you know (if you don’t already) about the many dining options we have that are owned and operated by people right here in Lee County. Today we look at the iconic fried bologna sandwich at Yarborough’s in downtown Sanford. 

Yarborough’s feels like one of those places that’s always been there. Walk inside and – in addition to the sights and smells of griddle food being cooked quickly and a display case containing a rainbow of ice cream flavors – you’re greeted by photos and relics of the Sanford that existed as far back as the 30s. A place doesn’t last that long without making great food, but if you’re reading this, you already know that. Everything on the menu is simple – no bizarre hybrids or “elevated” fare here – but that’s the charm. The item we keep coming back to is the fried bologna sandwich.

THE DISH: Yarborough’s bologna sandwich ($3.57) is just what it sounds like: A half inch thick slab of bologna deep fried and served on a soft bun (we recommend having them put a piece of iceberg lettuce, a tomato, a dab of mayo, and maybe a little bit of raw onion for some crunch). The bologna’s charred outside gives way to a sweet firmness you just don’t find in the thinner, non-heated variety. This is what they had in mind when they invented sandwiches. Add fries ($1.55 for a small order, or you can do the honorable thing and spend the extra 17 cents for a large) and a drink ($1.55 for a large) and you’ve got yourself a damned decent meal (if not exactly the most nutritious one, but we prefer to think the bologna’s processed nature offsets the fact that it’s full of fat and cooked in a giant vat of oil. That’s how that works, right?).

WHAT ELSE TO TRY: You won’t regret getting a burger ($3.59 for a single, $4.60 for a double, or $4.71 for the bacon and cheese variety), but the other truly can’t-miss item on the menu is the vegetable beef soup ($3.54), which is a nice mix of tomato-ey broth, ground beef, and soup veggies that are cooked to perfection, not to mush. It’s great when the weather starts to cool off. And since “ice cream” is in the place’s official name, make sure to double down on your commitment to exceeding the recommended daily caloric intake by midday by getting a cone (we didn’t write down the price). Perhaps a waffle cone (65 cents more). Go back to work feeling absolutely wonderful about yourself.

Yarborough’s Homemade Ice Cream is located at 132 McIver St. in downtown Sanford and also has an awesome mural on its side. Visit their Facebook page here.

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