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Cody's hearty food hits the road

(ran SP edition)

Dining at home with kids in pajamas was what we needed. Takeout from Cody's Original Roadhouse was just the ticket.

Sometimes, it's not worth going out to save a little money.

Cody's offers free kids' meals when you eat there on Monday and Tuesday nights. So, on a recent Tuesday, we debated loading in the van for dinner at the restaurant, a kid-friendly place with crayons and paper tableclothes and peanut shells on the floor.

Our children are especially fond of Cody's steak-on-a-stick kids' meal ($2.99).

But then, we realized dining out would make bath time and bedtime way too late on a school night. Take-out, even though it was a little more expensive, seemed the better course.

I phoned in the order and went to retrieve it while my husband wrangled the baths, and we ended up having a pleasant dinner with pajama-clad girls.

We also ended up with enough food for at least two meals.

Normally, we're filet mignon people, but we opted for the 14-ounce New York strip ($14.99) for a change of pace. It was tender, juicy and cooked exactly as we had ordered it: medium. My husband and our 2-year-old, who has a big appetite, had plenty to share. There was even a large piece left over for me.

The steak came with a generous side order of garlic mashed potatoes, a huge garden salad with tomatoes, chopped eggs, cheese and other garnishes, and a roll with cinnamon butter. My husband and I shared the salad, which came with a creamy garlic dressing on the side.

I got the half slab of ribs dinner ($9.47) for myself. The ribs also were tender and came with a spicy barbecue sauce on the side. I only managed to eat about half. I set my salad aside for lunch the next day along with the leftover ribs and the remaining half of the huge baked potato that came as my side dish. It was accompanied by three little containers with sour cream, butter and a mixture of bacon, cheese and chives.

Our 8-year-old had ordered the beef fajita Caesar salad ($6.98), which was loaded with marinated, grilled beef strips. Again, the dressing was on the side. That worked well because she ate only about a quarter of the adult portion. The leftover salad made a nice dinner for me the next night, but would have been soggy if the dressing already had been added.

We had expected the onion-on-a-stick appetizer to resemble the onion blossoms offered by other steak joints. Instead, we found enormous onion rings fried in a crunchy batter ($4.49). We didn't see any stick, and we failed to get the turmeric dipping sauce that is supposed to accompany the onion, but we were so stuffed that it didn't matter.

The person who took the order was efficient and thorough. The food was waiting at the bar about five minutes earlier than I had expected.

The only bad part of the Cody's take-out experience involved picking up the food at the smoke-filled bar. It was surrounded by people who obviously had been there through the daily 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. happy hour, and it was difficult to wedge in between the drinkers to pick up the food.

Cody's, which also has restaurants in the Tyrone area, Tarpon Springs, Tampa and Clearwater, offers several chicken and seafood entrees ($6.99 to $12.49). Fajitas ($8.79) are two for one on Wednesdays. Burgers and sandwiches are $5.29 to $7.99.

Other steak and pork chop meals range from $6.99 to $17.95.

Do you have a favorite takeout restaurant? If so, tell us the name, and we may feature it in Pinellas to Go. Mail your nominations to Pinellas to Go, Taste Section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or e-mail to floridiansptimes.com.

Cody's Original Roadhouse

11270 Fourth St. N

St. Petersburg

Phone: (727) 577-7730Hours: 3:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 3:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-10 p.m. Sunday.

Consumers: Two adults and two children

What we got: Jumbo onions on a stick, grilled beef fajita salad, New York strip and half slab baby back ribs.

What it cost: $38.45

Time it took: 20 minutes

Pay with: Cash, credit cards

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