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Focus Stories

Fred’s Market Restaurant

by Laura Breen Galante

Featured Photo from Fred’s Market Restaurant

Fred’s Market has a strong Florida heritage. It all started in 1954 when Elton and Evelyn Johnson established a Plant City tradition of family dining and Southern hospitality. The venue was a gas station where Evelyn, now known to most regulars as Grandma Johnson, would cook family meals for her husband and children. It wasn’t long before friends and passers-by would show up to enjoy her Southern cookin’ and generous hospitality. 

“It all started with my mom wanting us to have a home-cooked meal as a family and turned into a legacy we get to pass along to our children,” says Fred Johnson, president and CEO. “After so many years, so many meals cooked and served, she is not just Grandma to our family, she is Grandma to every guest she meets.”

Fred and his wife Tammy carried forward the tradition in 1998, opening the first Fred’s Market restaurant on the site of the Plant City State Farmers Market, where the family incorporated the fresh fruits and vegetables at their fingertips into the recipes.

The legacy of Southern hospitality and treating guests as members of the family continues at locations in Lake Mary,Lakeland, Plant City, and Riverview. In fact, if you visit the Plant City location on a weekday, you may spot Grandma Johnson. Evelyn, who just turned 90, still spends her days cooking and charming customers.

The Lake Mary location has become a staple in the community after only being open a little more than a year. Families and friends gather at large tables to enjoy the copious food amid comfortable, rustic-yet-chic surroundings. Food is cooked slowly in a natural and unprocessed way and served in a cozy atmosphere full of warmth and fun without compromising on quality or character – whether it’s the ingredients or the attitudes of the staff. You’ll find Southern charm that’s pure and hearty all the way to the core. With breakfast, lunch, and dinner offered seven days a week, there’s something for everyone.

You can find Fred’s Market off of Lake Mary Boulevard on Currency Circle. For more information visit the website  at 

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