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Hidden in the retail jungle at the heart of Orange City is a restaurant offering homestyle cooking with a shamrock twist.

The Rock — an acronym for Regan’s Orange City Kitchen — is the brainchild of Long Island native Kevin Regan.

Regan, who moved to Florida 18 years ago, said he’s always wanted to own a restaurant. He’s had a passion for cooking since learning kitchen techniques from his mother, and grillmaster techniques from his father.  

The eatery is hard to see from the road. You get a glimpse of the Irish-green sign, with a shamrock replacing the “O” over their covered patio.  

The Rock is a quaint little diner with meticulously set tables. Each has a black linen cloth and coffee cups turned upside down next to the silverware roll-ups.  

There’s also an L-shaped, glossy, wooden bar, with a flat-screen television.

Shamrocks hang on the wall, alongside portraits of golf history, a salute to Kevin’s other passion.

Server Pam Noikov greeted me with a smile, handed me a menu and informed me about the day’s specials, as I sat down at the bar.

I indulged in the popular Rock Salad. It’s a vibrantly colored fresh salad with baby spinach, grape tomatoes, red onions, strawberries, walnuts, grapes, Gorgonzola cheese, and Rock house dressing.  

Their fresh and tasty homemade dressing is like Italian dressing, with an extra kick of flavor. Regan makes almost all of his sauces and food from scratch.

The Rock’s Reuben made me smile ear to ear. Regan brines and slow-cooks the thick-cut and ridiculously tender corned beef in-house. The sandwich is dressed with his homemade Russian dressing, along with melted Swiss cheese and sauerkraut.

“I serve my food like I want to eat it,” Regan said.

For dessert, I dug into a piece of Mrs. Ryan’s “Death by Chocolate” cake, served with whipped cream. Rich and warm, it was a chocolate-lover’s dream.

After my meal, Kevin sat down to chat, and he shared some of his personal favorites.

For breakfast, it’s the “inside-out” omelet. He mounds the eggs, sauteed onions, peppers and tomatoes, and then melts cheese over the top.  

Also on offer are breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, French toast, Benedicts, filet-mignon tidbits with eggs, and more.

I came back the next morning to try the baby lamb chops with home fries, eggs and toast.

I’ve never had lamb chops for breakfast, but I may make it a new ritual. Kevin garnishes the chops with a delightfully sweet glaze.

For lunch, The Rock has an assortment of sandwiches. Daily specials include items that might include homemade tomato bisque or spinach-and-bacon quiche.  

On weekends, The Rock is open for dinner. Diners can enjoy the popular corned beef and cabbage, seared diver scallops, hearty steaks, and the freshest of turkey and gravy.

“My turkeys are gobbling right before they get here — always fresh,” Regan said.

When you talk to a chef who’s so passionate about food and pleasing his guests, it warms your heart to watch as he puts every ounce of effort into each dish.

When you take a bite of food from The Rock, you know it’s made with love.


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