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Ford’s Garage – Refuelling on Both Food and 1920s Motoring Nostalgia

Some of America's southern and western states pride themselves on paying tribute to the 1920s and roaring vehicles that were released thanks to Henry Ford. At the same time, they also express their love for creating the best burgers on the block while serving up pints of craft beer. How better to combine these two love interests than in the form of a historic restaurant chain? A chain that spans from Florida to Texas while also covering Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, and Ohio?

2012 was the year when this concept came to life with the restaurant Ford’s Garage. Having opened its first restaurant in Fort Myers, Florida, it became an instant hit with the locals and other Floridians. It opened less than a mile away from what was once Henry Ford’s winter home.

To this day, various Ford’s Garage restaurants have opened up in other states around Florida. This allows more motorists to be fuelled on food and craft beer from a restaurant, which is also an official Ford Motor Company licensee.

Does this chain, however, live up to the Floridian hype? This is what I was excited to find out, as I recall my visit to the Orlando Premium Outlet branch of Ford’s Garage.

Having arrived at the restaurant, I am greeted by a waiting staff member who guides us to the waiting area to wait for an available table. The décor of Ford’s Garage makes me feel like I am in a sports bar, thanks to the wall TVs showing an American Football match. I also spot a small gift shop in the distance, selling Ford’s Garage merchandise for those who loved their time eating here and wish to take a small memento with them.

The interior of Ford's Garage

I then turn to the bar area, where a Model T Ford from the 1920s floats above it on display. Bar staff and mixologists work under this car to produce and serve Ford's Garage's finest beverages.

As I look on in wonder at this old-fashioned car, a food runner directs me to a booth where I will be dining, just like the motoring fanatic. I scour the food menu and immediately notice the many appetisers that pay tribute to the late Henry Ford. This includes Ford’s Classic Wings, Ford’s Pickles, and Ford’s Original Nachos.

Before examining the menu further, I turn to the drinks menu to find out what’s available at Ford’s Garage. A list of cocktails, mules, wines, pitchers and margaritas becomes available for me to read. I notice a Motor-jito cocktail with a Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum base, something which, from personal experience, I can’t say I have tried before. I order this with utmost curiosity and continue to sample it as I review the food menu.

The coconut flavour of the Motor-jito isn’t too strong, as it is consumed by the minty flavour that it provides. Who would have thought that coconut and mint would work so well together? I certainly didn’t until coming to Ford’s Garage.

Turning my attention back to the food menu, I am intrigued to find out whether Ford’s Garage genuinely does have the ‘Best Burger on the Block’. Browsing these burgers, I come across the High Octane burger which includes Pepper Jack cheese, jalapeno peppers and chipotle ketchup. There will certainly be no doubt that the heat from this burger will be there.

As a fan of heat, I order this burger from the menu. I also request the Giant Funnel Tower of Jumbo Piston Onion Rings to start my engines, as the title of that menu section states. These arrive soon afterwards, with a pot of ketchup and Hidden Valley ranch.

The Giant Funnel Tower of Onion Rings

My onion rings arrive at my table soon after ordering them, hooked around a tall-standing piston and appear golden and crispy, just as any golden-battered onion ring should. Biting into my first onion ring, I can feel the crispiness from the breading and the softness of the onion encased in this breading. The presentation is unique and appeals to those who love food and piston engines; it also identified that the restaurant has made a connection between pistons and onion rings.

Moving on to my main course, the High Octane Burger. At first glance, the presentation isn’t as elegant as it was with the onion rings. The burger and fries are laid out in front of me on Ford’s Garage paper. The burger has some decent height, packed with the juicy half-pound burger, with everything else that the menu described. Its height is lengthened by the flag with the words 'High Octane Burger'.

I bite into this burger, and during this first bite, the burst of flavours from all accompanying burger ingredients comes to life. Not only does the flavour come through, but so does the heat from the jalapeno peppers and pepper jack cheese. The smooth texture from the guacamole also comes through and does not overwhelm any other flavours.

High Octane Burger and French Fries

The fries that come with the burger are light, thin, and fluffy and have an enhanced flavour thanks to the pot of Heinz Ketchup on the side (ordered at my request). It’s safe to say that overall, my engines are roaring after having a heat-packed burger and fries. The restaurant manager stops by our table to double-check if everything is ok with our food, and I reply, confirming that everything is fantastic.

After thanking the food runner and requesting my bill, he clears the table as I head to the restroom. To my surprise, I notice the wash basins on the left are made entirely out of tyres. At first, I find it complicated to use, but another guest points out that there is a blue handle to lift for the water to come out. The basin itself is in the shape of a tyre, which again shows the uniqueness that Ford’s Garage provides.

A wash basin found in Ford's Garage

Upon returning to my table, I settle the bill and pass my thanks to the food runner before departing. I again admire the Model T Ford before leaving the restaurant with a refuelled stomach.

One thing is sure: While the wait for a table was lengthy, it was good to feel refuelled after a hearty burger and two glasses of Motor-mojitos. I know where I will return if I’m ever in Orlando again and need to fill up while commemorating Henry Ford.

The Model T Ford that hangs above the Ford's Garage bar

Ford’s Garage, Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets, Orlando, Florida, United States of America


Food Prices

  • Starters - $10.99-$15.99

  • Salads - $16.99-$21.99

  • ½ Pound Burgers - $15.50-$18.50

  • Soups - $8.99-$9.50

  • Sandwiches - $15.50-$17.99

  • Roadsters - $13.50-$14.99

  • Desserts - $7.99-$10.99

  • Sides - $5.50-$6.99

  • Brunch - $9.99-$17.50

  • Kids Menu - $7.99 per item


Drink Prices

  • Cocktails - $10.99-$13.75

  • Brunch - $11.99-$25.99

  • Shareable Pitchers - $20.99 for 2/$37.99 for 4

  • Wine - $9.99-$37.99

  • Craft Beers – Click Here for the complete list.

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