For several years I have spied The Purple Onion Deli & Grill as I strolled downtown Lakeland and thought it looked appealing. I’m not sure why I didn’t visit sooner. Of course, they can be a little harder to spot these days as they are next to the newly constructed Nobay Apartments. Still, exploration is what downtowns are about, so my wife and I finally headed to The Purple Onion for lunch one recent Saturday.
The welcoming interior has very high ceilings that create a feeling of openness. (The one downside to that is that it can become something of an echo chamber; I can imagine the restaurant being a little noisy if it gets crowded.) Sadly, due to an iPhone glitch I lost my photo of the interior, but it is lovely and comfortable.
We got a friendly greeting from our server and great service throughout the meal. I ordered the special of the day, a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich on a kaiser roll that included fries and a drink. I chose the orange-infused water made in the restaurant. I ordered mine with a mustard/mayo mix, tomato, and Swiss cheese (oddly, it came with lettuce even though I didn’t order it, and that was easy enough to remove from the sandwich before I ate it). My wife went for the balsamic grilled chicken sandwich on a kaiser roll topped with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, with fries and a fountain drink.
The food was all outstanding, quality ingredients well prepared and well presented. A pork tenderloin sandwich is not something I ever really think of, so it was a nice surprise and a real treat. The orange-infused water is a brilliant idea and something we plan to experiment with at home. My wife loved the combination of flavors on her sandwich, all the ingredients in just the right proportions. Excellent sandwich bread also.
With tip our total came to about $24. An added bonus is they are right next door to Jesse Carl Vinyl, a delightful used music shop in the ground floor retail section of Nobay Apartments. So for lunch we highly recommend The Purple Onion for its unique and delicious food, friendly service, and prime location.
If we have inspired you to visit The Purple Onion, or if you have already been and want to share your experience, please let us know in the comments section below. And if you have any Polk County restaurant tips, we would love to hear them via the Contact Us page. Thanks for visiting and happy eating!