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Inside Look: The Southern on 8th in Historic Downtown Clermont, Florida

Have you ever visited Historic Downtown Clermont, Florida – founded in 1884? It’s a charming place –  like you’re being transported back in time to small town Florida with charming brick-lined streets and Victorian-era buildings and homes.

Indeed, Historic Downtown Clermont – just a short drive west of Orlando – has been having quite a moment lately with an influx of new energy, quaint shops, and eateries like Clermont Brewing Company and The Southern on 8th, recently voted Best of South Lake 2022- Best Restaurant.

For those who have not yet had the pleasure, The Southern on 8th recently opened with a focus on Southern hospitality served with a blend of fresh Florida seafood with a New Orleans twist.

Co-owner Darren Johnson tells us here, “everything is scratch made and nothing is ordinary – from great Southern inspired dishes to a killer happy hour and southern inspired craft cocktails.”

We spoke to Darren Johnson about the Southern on 8th to get more insight behind the restaurant and what’s coming up as well as a sneak peek behind the scenes! Read on –

Fried Green Tomatoes

Tasty Chomps Interview with Darren Johnson – The Southern on 8th

TastyChomps: Tell us about your inspiration behind the restaurant.

We wanted to create something that wasn’t typical for South Lake County that incorporated fresh Florida seafood, Southern favorites and also had a great bar. We have it.

CREOLE BAKED GULF OYSTERS – 17 upon availability (6) creole – garlic parmesan butter – lemon – grilled baguettes

What are the top most popular dishes right now?

Our nightly fish specials, grilled pork chop, fried chicken with honey drizzle and our beef tenderloin top the charts.

THE SOUTHERN SHRIMP & GRITS – 25 atlantic red shrimp – nora mills granary white grits – blistered cherry tomatoes – chorizo – white cheddar – pan broth

What are your favorite dishes that are a bit of hidden gems / sleeper hits?

Fried baloney sandwich at happy hour, Fried gator tail with Lemon Burre Blanc sauce and capers appetizer, people love it and most have never tried it.

Tell us about the basement! what events are coming up? What is your goal for the space?

The downstairs “Red Room” host monthly wine/bourbon dinners, comedy club events and lots of private events. It s our intention to turn it into a speakeasy Thurs-Sat, its in the works.

LOW COUNTRY SEAFOOD PAPPARDELLE – 28 bay scallops – atlantic red shrimp – fresh florida catch – chorizo – sweet florida corn – lemon cream – tarragon

Upcoming plans for The Southern on 8th?

We have a Valentine’s dinner special on 2/14 and comedy club scheduled on 2/23/23

– Why is Downtown Clermont a special place?

Downtown Clermont is on fire. Hospitality has found a new home and with more restaurants, retail, bars and breweries opening we are quickly becoming a destination. Couple that with our hills and lakefront, it’s a great place to spend the day, night or weekend.

BLACK ANGUS TENDERLOIN FILET – 42 mixed mushroom risotto – maple glazed artisan carrots – house bordelaise sauce – crispy shallots


The 13-mile South Lake Trail (also known as Lake Minneola Scenic Trail) is known for its hills, lakes, and stunning elevated and expansive vistas. The trail is also part of a larger network called the Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail which is currently under development and once completed, will stretch from east to west coasts of Florida, from St. Petersburg to Titusville.

The East Avenue Historic District boasts a collection of homes built in the early 1900s, complete with large porches and stately columns. The intricate woodwork and stained glass windows of these homes are a testament to the town’s prosperity during that time.

The city’s Waterfront Park is located on the southern edge of Lake Minneola along the South Lake Trail. It boasts a beautiful white sand beach, pavilions, and the popular Champions Splash Park.

Shoppers will enjoy exploring the specialty shops, art galleries, and antique stores in the Clermont Downtown Historic District. A quaint bookshop offers a variety of rare and vintage books and is a must-visit for book lovers.

Visit Soon!!

The Southern on 8th
in Historic Downtown Clermont, Florida
801 W Montrose St, Clermont, FL 34711
Phone: (352) 394-7777

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