I’ve driven past this place thousands of times, always noting the long line at the drive-thru, so I finally just stopped, got out of the car and went in for dinner. Something good must be happening here. Spoiler alert: the reason is that their delicious fried food, minus all the frills and whistles – is absolutely fantastic, and sold for prices that will make you do a double-take dance.

No matter if you’re craving wings, fish, or shellfish, you’ll be all set at Hook. Catfish, Grouper, Perch, Shrimp, Oysters, Conch and more in almost every combination are just sitting there smiling up at you, waiting to be hand-breaded and fried once you pick your favorites. Paired with a side of fries and served over plain old white bread, which these days is a rare delicacy, the finishing flourish involves a liberal sprinkling of Hook’s proprietary, secret seasoning over your whole plate. It’s so addictive that the regulars call it crack. Which cracks me up. They’re right.

Squint hard to read the faded sign in the parking lot that says “Best home-made lemonade.” No joke. These people are masters of understatement. It’s the frozen-slush variety, mixed with strawberry at your request. I prefer it straight with that lemony zing that cuts straight to the heart of the ultra-hot temps of your cooked-to-order meal.

Mike is the manager and has been at the wheel since 2005. It’s a hectic job. The orders pour in over the counter, the drive thru and by phone. Once your order is in, expect a five-minute wait – but factor in another three because the food is seriously so hot you can’t touch it. Yeah, I hear that song in my head, too.

Dining inside is rather limited, with about 6 tables in the lobby overlooking the busy parking lot.  Carry-out dominates, and it’s a great idea for a lunch on the North Flagler waterfront as the weather cools down. The dessert options swirl you back decades in time with Mom-and-Pop classics like banana pudding and red velvet cake.

Lunch specials start at $5.99 for one piece of fish and five shrimp, or shoot for the moon with a VIP combo of 6 jumbo shrimp and oysters for $17.99. It’s a fabulous feast. My money says you’ll be planning your return after the first bite.

1001 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd.

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