Classical Golf Adventures
Cherry Pocket Steak and Seafood Shack
Central Florida's Polk County
by Anthony Scaggs
"When you want oysters in Polk County, you come to Cherry Pocket,"
according to Shane and Matlock. Shane, a fifth generation native of Polk County, has a day job but likes people and wanted something fun to do at night. He decided to work at "The Pocket". His associate, Matlock, made the same decision seven months ago. Matlock came to the Cherry Pocket during karaoke night and decided to stay. Matlock was helping his father move his farrier business from South Dakota to Central Florida's Polk County. Matlock lamented:
"Shoeing horses in South Dakota during the winter is an experience."
Historically, two men, who loved fishing for "The Big Fish" in Lake Pierce, started the Cherry Pocket in the 40's. The inlet leading to the door, looked like a pocket. The original owner was named Mr. Cherry, ergo "Cherry Pocket." Rick and Elsie Eten are the new owners.
Like most fish tales, the Cherry Pocket stories get bigger and bigger. The "Big Fish" stories range from gambling and cock fighting to alligator wrestling and horseback riding. One story was collaborated by a regular named Randy (He has been coming to Cherry Pocket for 15 years). Randy's grandfather would buy groceries, bait, and occasionally a drink at the Cherry Pocket. Usually, he dismounted and tied his horse to the hitching post. If in a hurry, he and others would ride their horses into the bar for a drink and then out the back door, giving the term-Fast Service-a new meaning. Chrysa, the General Manager, assured me that horseback riding through the tavern is outlawed.
"We are too busy especially on Oyster Night, Tuesday, and karaoke nights which are Friday and Saturday."
Even without horseman riding through Cherry Pocket, she insists,
"there's nothing in Polk County to compare to the Cherry Pocket's fun, food and service."
If there is a slow time, it is from November to April. The high season (May - October) results in three-hour waits. The customers rarely, notice the wait. The staff caters to those waiting by taking drink orders and serving appetizers. There are three levels of waiting at Cherry Pocket, the tavern, the barn and the parking lot. The barn is behind the restaurant with outdoor seating and a bar. The parking lot is self-explanatory but includes benches and chairs. To avoid the wait, guests arrive an hour or more before the scheduled opening.
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