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. It’s hard to fathom anyone living here for more than a week and not knowing about the Fairview Dairy Bar, but we’re gonna tell you anyway.
There’s not much to say about the Dairy Bar that hasn’t been said already. The now 65-year old diner is about as “iconic Sanford” as something can get, and while we were sad to see it burn in 2014, we were equally happy to see the place get back on its feet a few short months later. Like many other Sanford staples, the menu contains simple fare, and you can point at just about any item and be confident that you’re getting a winner. So while we had a hard time picking out which dish to feature, it was only because they’re all so darn good. The Dairy Bar club really is something, though.
THE DISH: The Dairy Bar club ($7.99) is just what it sounds like – a club sandwich. At just twenty cents more than the Dairy Bar’s turkey club ($7.79, duh), you get ham in addition to turkey, which is a pretty amazing deal when you think about it. You should always get ham in addition to turkey if you’re able to get ham in addition to turkey. Served on toast with Swiss cheese, mayonnaise, bacon, lettuce and tomatoes, it’s as simple as it is filling. The sheer volume of cold cuts alone on this sucker make it a formidable meal, but the crunch of the lettuce and the sweetness of the tomato to their best to convince you that, hey, you’re getting your vegetables too. It comes with your choice of side, which can take the form of old reliables like French fries or slaw, or something less conventional, like beets or apple sauce. Also available are things like mac and cheese, broccoli salad, green beans, rice and gravy, and what we went for, the fried squash. It’s sliced thin and coated in a light batter, and is crisp and flavorful. Hard to imagine better.
WHAT ELSE TO TRY: Everything. Really. Go at breakfast and get some biscuits and gravy (one for $2.29, two for $3.89) and a Mickey Mouse pancake ($2.49) for your kid. Go at lunch and have any number of other sandwiches (the chicken and shrooms, for example [$8.49]), salads (try the Bahama mama with shrimp [$8.99]) and more. Have the bacon cheese fries appetizer ($7.99) because you only live once, and it’s taking forever! Go at dinner and try one of their daily specials like boneless pork chops ($8.99), meatloaf ($8.99), or spaghetti ($7.99). Go on Friday night and get a basket of fried oysters ($14.29) – you know how good they do ’em at the Dairy Bar’s sister restaurant next door, so they’re of course gonna be great here, too. Expand your pallet and get the fried chicken livers served with rice and gravy ($8.49). You know you want to. Try everything.
The Dairy Bar is located at 109 Carbonton Road in Sanford and can be reached at (919) 775-5721. They are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Visit their Facebook page here.