Lakeland landmark diner celebrates 8 decades of being a place to meet and eat

Every Wednesday around 8 a.m. you can find the same group gathered at Reececliff Family Diner in Lakeland. 

"We just like to get together to talk about old times and new times and what's going on," customer Neal Grossfield. 

This group of patrons has been coming to the restaurant for more than 20 years. 

"We just have an hour, hour and half of great fun," Robert Johns explained.  

Theresa Johns is the only woman in the gang. 

"These guys need me to keep them straight," she said jokingly. "That's a lot of work." 

The trademark restaurant has a lot of history. 

"It was a landmark restaurant in Lakeland," explained James Bronkhoust, owner of Reececliff Family Diner. "It's the oldest running restaurant in Lakeland. It started in 1934." 

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Its been serving up down-home southern cuisine for more than 80 years. 

"You are not going to get anything fancy here," he shared. "You get meatloaf and mashed potatoes, roast beef, chicken and dumplings. Fried fish on Fridays."  

Bronkhoust bought the diner 19 years ago. The Clearwater native started in the service industry when he was 12. After years of working out west, he decided to move back close to family. 

"I wanted to get closer to my home so I brought this place," he said.  

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It’s a place where friends come for memories and comfort food. 

"We tried other restaurants. They are good at times and bad at times. This place is always consistent with good food," Bronkhoust added. 

A historic landmark diner where people come to meet and eat.

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