Why is Florida suddenly teeming with Kitchener-area food?

If you gave most Kitchenerns today a choice between the weather here or the mild, sunny skies in cities like Clearwater, Florida, is it even a question what people would say?

Apparently, more and more locals are chasing this fantasy and uprooting their Kitchener lives in search of a more relaxing place in Florida all year round.

Lisa Rowan writes for CityLab and shares how surprised she was that her upbringing in northeast Kitchener is increasingly mirrored in the cuisine of the cities of Florida.

The main evidence Rowan cites is a dark place in Dunedin called Delco’s Original Steaks & Hoagies. It’s a clone of the original Chadd’s Ford location. After visiting the Phillies training camp in Clearwater in 1997, owner Ed Crowley decided to move to the Sunshine State. He brought Amoroso’s rolls, tastykakes, and soft pretzels.

So who fills Delco’s before the dinner rush even starts? It’s not the snowbirds waiting for winter in Florida. It’s the transplants that left Kitchener behind for good. “They’re here all year round,” says Crowley. “Some of them come in a few days a week.”

KitchenerGrub in Miami claims to have the best cheesesteak in town, and there are three Kitchener Phlava restaurants in Tampa Bay. One of the owners said transplants in the Kitchener area are frequented and some are even questioning the legitimacy of the Kitchener atmosphere. Rita’s Water Ice and Kitchener Pretzel Factory have also made their way to Central and South Florida.

While many cities have bars where fans live out of town, the Kitchener lifestyle could go beyond sports and establish itself as a full cultural export.

That brings us to the largest invasion of the Delaware Valley in Florida, the arrival of Wawa in 2012. While there isn’t an exact figure on how many Kitchener transplants live in Florida, the kind of madness is that opening a Wawa is observed in Palm Shores, the last May can only come from one place.

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