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Check It or Chuck It: Meet Beefy King, an Orlando institution

This article expresses the views of its author(s), separate from those of this publication. Readers are encouraged to comment or submit a Letter to the Editor to share their opinions. To submit a Letter to the Editor, follow the instructions here.

Hey, y’all. I hope all is well and that winter break was good for you. To ring in the new year with another review, here are my two cents on an Orlando staple I visited during the break: Beefy King.

Being home means sleeping in and spending as much time away from academic responsibilities as possible. While I’m home, I partake in this tradition with glee. However, the true meaning of home for me is a sliced roast beef sandwich from Beefy King.

What’s Beefy King? For my Jacksonville audience, this place is about as familiar to locals as putting snow chains on tires. I’m sure my Orlando people know what’s up.

Founded in 1968 by Freeman and Margaret Smith, Beefy King is renowned in Orlando for their signature steamed roast beef sandwiches. This establishment has stood the test of time for three generations, never franchising and remaining in the same exact location in the city’s Milk District for almost 60 years.

My high school friends and I embarked on a pilgrimage to this hallowed ground this winter break. Beefy King had been the site of many off-campus lunches. We were reminded of the moments and memories we added to the restaurant’s legacy as we walked through its doors.

The building looks plucked straight from the 1970s—a small, pale white and cream-colored box with a large, bright yellow sign adorned with a regal-looking bull. The only things that needed to be added were the Pintos and Camaros in the parking lot and the drive-thru window.

This beefy beacon has guided many customers to gastric nirvana for nearly 60 years. (Ethan Leckie)

The inside leans just as heavily into the 70s chic aesthetic. The wood paneling on the walls and dividers gives the stained-glass windows and lamps a mellow vibe. Memorabilia from five-plus decades of operation hangs on the walls. The floor appears to be a mosaic of light and dark vinyl wood tiles. The kitchen cabinet colors are mismatched. The meat slicer (yes, the meat is sliced in-house) behind the cash register gives one the impression that Beefy King has made many happy customers. Finally, the menu poster informs guests of the available combinations of Junior, Regular or X-Large sandwiches and spuds (tater tots) for their gastric pleasure (salads are in the top right corner).

The red and black font guides your quest for the perfect sandwich. (Ethan Leckie)

The sandwiches are what you pay for: a thick bun filled with the best steamed and sliced roast beef money can buy. One thing to note is that add-ons like lettuce and tomato must be requested. I chose a Regular sandwich platter with small spuds and a soft drink. I didn’t ask for lettuce and tomato, but it was still a great sandwich. For $11, I got a satisfying lunch and quality time with my friends. The service is simple; you only need to order and wait at the counter for a great deal.

Check it or chuck it? 100% check this place out. For the same price as most fast food chains, you can get a higher quality meal and support a local business.

The food, in all its simplicity, was divine. From the beef to the spuds, it was truly an ethereal experience. (Ethan Leckie)

Places like Beefy King remind people of what makes a city unique. These places positively reflect on their communities and serve as something to be proud of. As a lifelong Orlandoan, I proudly claim Beefy King to be one of our finest businesses. Next time you’re in Orlando, skip the parks and head to the Milk District for Beefy King.

Beefy King

Address: 424 N Bumby Ave, Orlando, FL 32803

Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; closed Sundays

Website: https://beefykingorlando.com/


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About the Contributor
Ethan Leckie
Ethan Leckie, Opinions Editor
A Pad Thai enthusiast, NASCAR follower, and Jon Bois fanboy, Ethan Leckie is a third-year journalism major at the University of North Florida, minoring in international studies. He first began his involvement with Spinnaker as a volunteer reporter in the fall of 2021 and currently holds the position of Opinions Editor. Ethan has always had a passion for writing and hopes to work for a newspaper one day. He enjoys watching YouTube, cooking, and visiting restaurants in his free time. If you see him on campus, ask him about his pieces- he loves to talk about them!

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