Arooga’s will go above and beyond even above and beyond. You can tell that your happiness is their own.
By Sean David Hartman
If you had been passing Semoran Blvd heading into Seminole County, you may have noticed a large sign for “Free Wings for a Year.” An intriguing publicity stunt for a restaurant most Floridians have never heard of.
Arooga’s—said to the tune of a train whistle—is mainly a Pennsylvania restaurant, combining the feel of a casual sports bar and grill with organic, ethically harvested food options. On its face, it seems like it couldn’t work. The demographics of a sports bar patron are far different than those who engage in a healthy lifestyle, yet somehow, Arooga’s exceeds all expectations to present a one-of-a-kind restaurant for Orange County.
Located next to Full Sail University, with a second restaurant set to open on I-Drive, the restaurant has similar foods that you may see at an American casual restaurant—wings, burgers, cheddar fries—but being made in its own “Arooga’s style”, the food is nothing like you would see at other similar restaurants.
It’s food selection range from your classic bar foods, such a wide variety of chicken wings, burgers, cheese fries; but they also include interesting and unique food options—Amish perogies, banana pepper rings, truffle macaroni and cheese, and “bolis” (short for strombolis).
Even their more common food items are themselves unique. Their burgers are made with grain-fed, humanely-raised wagyu, an exotic Japanese beef cattle. You have some classic styles such as their “bleu n bacon burger”, but also a PB & J burger, a fusion of hamburger and peanut butter and jelly sandwich; and wagyu donut burger, a burger with a grilled glazed donut replacing the bun.
Their “spuds” section also has a variety of fries, tater tots, and chips with a variety of toppings, ranging from your basic cheese fries to their new Blue Moon bleu cheese potato chips.
It may be why its location is so interesting. Arooga’s is located right next door to Chili’s, which carries a similar food selection; and down the street is Friendly Confine’s another well-established sports bar with a Chicago theme. Another unique restaurant, a brewery, tried to compete with Confine’s, to dismal failure.
But Arooga’s does not seem to have that problem and may very well be giving Chili’s a run for its money. With a packed house just in its Sunday opening, word will spread quickly of its good food and friendly service.
The food was spectacular, and I honestly could not tell that some of the food options were healthy, organic options. Their specialty wing sauces had spices and flavors jumping on my taste buds, and their appetizers too were equally as delicious.
But what is even more intriguing about Arooga’s is not just its fantastic food, but its amazing service.
Despite being busy, the restaurant was able to get my food out at a prompt pace. But even more importantly, was my experience when a mistake was made.
I had one of my orders delivered wrong. I had no intent to complain, I knew this was the first day with a packed house and mistakes are bound to be made. I informed my server of the error and felt it would be easily resolved without a single issue.
Shortly thereafter, I had three separate managers, including the owner, come see me to apologize. My meal was discounted, and they went above and beyond to ensure I was satisfied.
The management themselves want perfection. Their concern for their customers is something I have never seen at even the finest restaurants. Arooga’s is proving that even at customer service they will go above and beyond even above and beyond. You can tell that your happiness is their own.
The only criticism that I would have of Arooga’s would likely be the prices. As expected when dealing with organic foods, Arooga’s unique blend of foods, as well as the freshness of the foodstuff itself, costs their company more, a price that unfortunately could harm it when choosing between their food and neighboring Chili’s.
But if you have the financial stability to get a good meal, or wish to treat yourself, then I highly recommend heading to Arooga’s.
Sean David Hartman is a freelance reporter for the Central Florida Post, with a wide portfolio ranging from entertainment to politics. He is a centrist political operative and blogger and a student at UCF. Hartman is autistic and bipolar, and supports the neurodiversity movement.