90.7 WMFE and 89.5 WMFV are Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming and Classical Music. Part of the community since 1965, providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

Spotlight: Scott Joseph Reviews Ford’s Garage

Play Audio
Photo courtesy of Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide

Photo courtesy of Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide

This review is abridged for broadcast. Find the full version of the review at Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide on this page.

Ford’s Garage is a burger and beer brand born out of Ft. Myers and now headquartered in Tampa. You’d think Michigan, right? But there is a natural connection: Henry Ford had a Winter home in Ft. Myers, less than a mile from where the first Ford’s Garage restaurant opened in 2012 (Henry did not attend).

Nearly all of the locations, just under a dozen so far, are in Florida, the newest in Orlando.

As you might expect with a garage-themed restaurants, Ford’s is tricked out in a design that might be classified as early grease monkey. But there are a lot of nice details.

Such as the hose-clamp napkin rings, the napkins themselves being grease rags.

Instead of windows there are garage doors, naturally. Out front you’ll find old-style gas pumps and a couple of vintage cars; another Ford, its wheels turning, is jacked up over the bar. Someone had a lot of fun with all the gews and gaws hanging about. It’s fun and stops just short of being over the top.

As I mentioned above, Ford’s Garage is a burger and beer joint. Actually, to cite the subtitle: “Prime Burgers, Craft Beer.” About that prime assertion: Nowhere on the menu could I find the letters USDA — black angus, yes, but not USDA Prime (angus is a breed of cattle, it is not a quality grade).

That said, the burger I had on my visit was really quite good. It was the Ford’s Signature, a half-pound patty, thick, yet grilled just right to a juicy red medium rare, topped with thick-sliced rashers of bacon, cheddar cheese and a barbecue sauce laced with bourbon. The meat had a nice smoky charred note. Neither my companion nor I cared very much for the fries, which were thick cut and stubby.

Ordinarily, a concept like Ford’s Garage probably wouldn’t be worth a mention. But its Florida origin and apparent ambitions to grow make it worthwhile. Not to mention that it makes a pretty good burger, prime or not.

Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida news, updates on special programs and more.

Stay tuned in to our local news coverage: Listen to 90.7 WMFE on your FM or HD radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” and you’ll be connected.

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity