As three generations of the family-owned Fred’s Southern Kitchen celebrate the opening of its fifth buffet restaurant with its new location on U.S. Hwy. 301 in Riverview, it is also bringing much-needed fresh flavor to the community.

The 162-seat family-style buffet filled with contemporary, welcome decor in a bright and colorful, welcoming atmosphere, is not your usual buffet of luke-warm foods and bland flavors.

Instead, Fred’s prides itself on bringing families back to the dinner table to enjoy good home-cooked food and atmosphere.

The new Riverview location, located at 6501 U.S. Hwy 301, at Krycul Rd., is open seven days a week for lunch and buffet offerings include home-smoked Barbeque, Fried Green Tomatoes and collard greens with a full salad bar and biscuits and gravy to name a few.

General Manager Vicki Sharer has overseen the opening of three of the five current locations of Fred’s Southern Kitchen and says, “Riverview has been so welcoming, this community has opened up its arms and embraced us.”

The restaurant opened in early December and has been a hit. “Fresh to the table is what we strive for,” describes Sharer who has been with Fred’s for 10 years.

“We want to be a big part of the Riverview community and we are off to a great start.” Fred’s is currently open every day for lunch and dinner, weekend breakfast is planned this year.

The company started in 1954 when Elton and Evelyn Johnson first started with sandwiches sold from a gas station which quickly grew into the Johnson’s Restaurant in Plant City. In 1998, son Fred and wife Tammy opened Fred’s Market.

In 2003, Johnson Barbeque opened and oldest son Owen runs the BBQ restaurant. In 2004, Fred’s Southern Market expanded with a Lakeland location followed by a Bartow location in 2008 and Winter Haven in 2009.

Currently, Fred’s youngest son Michael is also managing the Riverview location.

The restaurant offers an early-bird special Mon-Fri from 2- 4 p.m. and kids eat for $1.99 on Tuesdays. Lunch is $11.59 for adults or $9.59 for the Waste Not, Want Not-simply take what you like and eat what you take and get a $2 per person credit for a clean plate. Dinner and Sunday lunch is $14.79 or $13.49 for Waste Not, Want Not. For take-out orders, call 741-9101 or visit

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Marie Gilmore
Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!