Florida on a Tankful: Bob's Train offers food and history

By Caitlin Wilson, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, February 02, 2018, 9:31 AM EST

Tucked away on an old lumberyard, a hidden gem awaits those who can find it.

  • Man transforms old trains into a place to eat
  • Also offers a touch of history
  • Visit Bob's Train in Sarasota

In this week's Florida on a Tankful, we journeyed across the state to find some homemade food in a most unusual place.

When you do find hidden away in Sarasota, it is not exactly what you might expect to see, but judge a book by its cover, or a train for that matter.

Once you step foot inside smells waft from their kitchen, yes, inside the old train car is a restaurant.

"By gutting these trains I had the chance to recreate these into my idea of the 1920's," owner of Bob's Train, Robert Horne said.

All three of the cars that make up the restaurant date back to the early 1900's. The train cars were once used in the famous Ringing Brothers Circus, but now they're home to Bob's Train.

But what makes this most unique? Probably Bob's knack for storytelling.

He's done a little of everything in his life, but his time spent in the circus doing odd jobs and even a stint as a ring master might be some of his fondest memories.

They've certainly made for some pretty interesting tales and a collection that rivals a museum.

Inside the train cars, you'll find hundreds of photographs, signatures and memorabilia from circuses all over the world.

If you're lucky, Bob will even give you his own personal tour recounting his many adventures and the people he's met along the way.

If you look close enough, you'll even spot some pretty famous faces, an authentic signed picture of Marilyn Monroe riding an elephant can be found hanging in one of the three-train cars.

"What's near and dear to me is when circus people come and I get to see their reactions and the looks on their faces and bring friends from around the world," Bob said.

So whether you want to take a stroll through the past or just sit down for a good old fashioned homemade meal, Bob has plenty to share on your future visit.

"I'm just so glad people find this a pleasant place to come to and they enjoy the food," Bob said, "I have plenty of stories to tell, I have enough I could probably keep everyone occupied for seven years."

Bob's Train is open seven days a week, serving breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Dinner is served weeknights on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Weekend hours are Saturday 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.