CUISINE AND ATMOSPHERE: Manolito's has been serving sandwiches to the people of Polk County since 1977. The menu keeps it simple: sandwiches, salads and sides. The restaurant, in the Imperial Christina Plaza, is a small, cozy shop with four booths, several tables and Caribbean music in the background.
WHAT'S NEW: The restaurant came under new management in February and the restaurant has begun to offer novel menu items, such as seared ahi tuna salad and California turkey salad.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: A friend and I went to lunch at Manolito's one afternoon and were immediately met with a friendly staff eager to assist us. We wanted to try the Cuban potato ball ($1.99), but the waitress said their next shipment of potato balls and deviled crab wouldn't be in until the following day. I tried the Deluxe Cuban ($7.99) with baked ham, mojo pork, cheese, mustard and pickles on traditional (pressed) Cuban bread. It was a juicy sandwich, borderline soggy, because of the large helpings of pulled mojo pork. The combination of ingredients was good, but the sandwich was more room temperature than hot. My friend ordered the Media Noche ($6.99): ham, seasoned pork, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickle on an egg bun. He enjoyed it.
PRICE RANGE: $5-$7.99.
FYI: Daily specials are posted on a whiteboard behind the counter. If you "like" their Facebook page and check in during your visit, you get a free cookie.
6842 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday