By Erik Butler
When I heard that the iconic and personal favorite “The Oaks” was going to be sold, I had a temporary panic attack. What would happen to the “all things to all eaters” menu where you can easily pin a copy to the wall, chuck a dart at it, and be happy? Where would I get my onion ring fix? Would they keep that same Florida-style vibe?
I was so relieved that local guy Keith Askew, who is an Oaks barkeep legend, teamed up with some terrific partners and simply transitioned the venue to Keith’s Oaks Bar & Grill. Keith “ain’t no fool”…If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Simply make it happen and make it your own.
My taste buds were ramping up in unison with the familiar wooden steps as I approached this local Mecca for comfort food. My thoughts were to get right down to business as I met up with my dear friend Suzy from the Osprey Observer. The grouper sandwich was calling my name as this as much as anything would reveal if there were any doubts about Keith’s commitment to maintaining and enhancing the proud culinary legacy of The Oaks. Yes, it is a “market priced” item, which those related to me who know my frugal ways would be shocked that I ordered (without a coupon).
Well, I decided I was worth it, and also knew that Keith probably kept the same reasonable price that The Oaks had been using over the last five years. More than the value, this grilled grouper on a fresh Kaiser with its house made tartar sauce simply hit the spot. Carefully placed, a couple of the world’s greatest onion rings on top got lost in the moment. With apologies to my guest, I augmented this awesome sandwich with a healthy bowl of the amazing crab and cheese soup. Rumor has it the wonderful former owners sold enough that it allowed them to retire early. Either way, I don’t understand why Keith still allows people to buy just a cup size. Seems like a waste.
Keith’s vision is to make his version a local place with “A lil’ somethin’ for everyone.” Between daily happy hour, karaoke, Kid’s Night, AYCE specials, 2 for $15 entrees, $5.99 daily lunches and fan club functions, I think Keith is well on his way to accomplishing the mission.
Keith’s is located at 108 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon and can be reached at 685-5257.For those times where those few steps seem like a bit more effort into being well fed, simply let the TakeOut Butler Restaurant Delivery Service bring Keith’s Oaks to your favorite table.