Patio 850

Patio 850

… a Neighborhood Gem

BY TAMMY SEREBRIN

A charming neighborhood restaurant sits tucked into the South Lake Morton area at 850 Tennessee Avenue. Chef Patrick and partner Bruce Lyons opened the restaurant, originally a 1920s schoolhouse, last November. Chef Patrick also owns and runs La Porta Rossa on Edgewood Drive (formerly Mario’s.)

Online reviewers refer to Patio 850 as “a hidden gem. The flavors in every dish will bring your taste buds alive, and every dish is so different and creative. Outdoor ambiance is great as well.”

Bruce Lyons and Patrick Shaefer - Co-owners of Patio 850 where Patrick is the Chef

A new menu is printed each day to reflect specials. Of his dishes, Chef Patrick says, “The bacon popcorn with truffle oil and parmesan cheese is really popular, as well as the hummus. I can’t keep enough of the duck and pear pate’ in the house.” He uses different flavors “you don’t find other places” and top grade cheeses and meats. “I gear food choices to different beer and wine – they are meant to go together.” Appetizers also include dishes such as Mediterranean Small Bites Platter or warm mixed nuts, and a main course could be fresh vegetable or meat pizzas, flatbreads, or a Gouda pressed sandwich. Desserts are made fresh in house and change every other night varying from fresh Panna Cotta (like a crème Brule) to coconut chocolate mousse to homemade ice cream.

I enjoyed the vegielicious pizza in salad form (no crust) and my friend really liked the veggie/cheese wrap she ordered that was steaming hot when served. The dessert available when I was there was homemade vanilla ice cream. A sample taste proved to be delicious.

529509Chef Patrick creates many of the dishes rolling up his sleeves to prepare food when things get busy; while dividing his time between La Porta Rossa and Patio 850; leaving much of the Patio 850 food preparation to his chef Geronimo who formerly worked at the Lakeland Yacht Club.The indoor seating area for 40 offers high top tables and stools, a bar, and a corner sitting area with chairs, couch and coffee table. In the lush patio, umbrella tables and chairs seat 150. Live music is performed outdoors most nights by different artists, moving indoors during inclement weather as it did the evening I was there. “Entertainment”, he says, “is a large part of the business. We have half the patrons when we don’t have live music.”

Patrick has been in the food business a long time. Born in France and moving to Milwaukee when he was five, he grew up in Tampa from age 12 with a brother and working parents, often cooking meals for the family. After high school, he joined the Air Force for six years and upon his father’s advice, entered the first culinary program at Disney in 1989. He was promoted ahead of his class finishing the three year program in two. “During school, I spent a full day in class and worked (in restaurants) throughout the property the other days. You can’t beat that program.” He became a management chef at Disney where he worked for fourteen years. During that time he helped develop the many restaurants at the Disney Yacht and Beach Club and started the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Eight years ago, he moved to Lakeland while working at Armani’s at the Grand Hyatt in Tampa and commuting until he ventured into opening his own Lakeland restaurants.

He and his wife Lisa who met at a restaurant in Disney where theyboth worked (she is now employed with a computer company) have two grown sons and 3 grandchildren.

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Chef Patrick visibly enjoys his venture with Patio 850. “It’s a great place to relax and enjoy yourself. It is dog friendly outside, has great food and prices.”

The venue which is open for lunch and dinner 6 days a week in the fall, winter and spring, is closed for lunch and Sundays and Mondays during the summer. It is available for private groups – “We have had weddings, birthday parties, and corporate events. Two film companies have shot films here.”

Future expansion calls for redesigning the outside for more outdoor seating with different levels and seating walls and a wood burning oven.

For more information about Patio 850 such as the night’s entertainment or menu items and the day’s specials, go to Facebook at Patio 850 or call 863-940-2030.

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