About Us

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At Ovation Bistro & Bar, we are unashamedly passionate about the food and drinks we create. As a family owned and operated business, we are always ready to serve! Our mouthwatering ribs and in-house smoked meats have earned us serious street cred among locals and visitors alike, and for good reason. Sit back and relax with a refreshing drink in our warm and casual atmosphere. Our wait staff is not only friendly but inviting as well. Voted the #1 restaurant in Davenport, and the Best Smokehouse in Central Florida, we guarantee Ovation Bistro & Bar will never disappoint you! We look forward to serving you and thank you in advance for giving us the chance.

We invite friends, family and even perfect strangers to gather together and enjoy a delicious locally sourced meal with us!

Our Story


Our names are Joel & Fernando and we own and operate the Ovation Bistro & Bar Restaurants in Polk County. We do it together with our awesome managers and Ovationers, which work so hard to serve the best meals in Polk County.

We grew up in Polk County and having worked hard all our lives (not complaining). Our family was a migrant family that moved and worked in the fields all across this great country of ours. The season would determine where we would be, up north in the summer months, Indiana or New York. In the Florida orange groves during the rest of the year, we never complained and in fact are still very proud of work that our parents did to provide for us. We have black and white pictures of them working in the fields in every one of our restaurants. To remind us, what hard work looks like and to remind us that in the United States anything is possible.

We were both born and raised in Haines City, FL and both graduated from Haines City High and it was always a dream of ours to have our own business in the area. Always being a have not, we thought, it would be cool to have something one day. After high school, we both joined the military.

We both served in the Army and both are Combat Veterans. We actually both served together in Afghanistan and after returning back home in 2006, we both went back to work as cooks and then managers at a big Australian themed steakhouse. This is where we learned our way and the ins and outs of the restaurant business, eventually running our own locations. Managing a restaurant is hard work and long hours, but also fun. Having a passion for BBQ and steaks and enjoying nice wines and whiskies... we asked ourselves, “why can’t we go somewhere to get real good BBQ and have a nice glass of wine or stiff drink?” So we decided one day, while we were smoking some brisket at home that we were going to open our own restaurant, one that was BBQ based but felt like a steakhouse and not like a quick service restaurant. Our new restaurant would not only have great BBQ, but a comfortable atmosphere, a sizeable wine list, full bar, specialty coffees and desserts, we told ourselves, this was in late 2014.

We did it! We jumped off the big ship onto a small raft and the Ovation Bistro & Bar was born! We opened the first location in a little strip mall in Davenport. By grace and hard work our raft is still floating all these years later. We have opened two more locations since 2014 and we have been blessed to receive the support of the local communities that we are in, Davenport, Winter Haven and now Lakeland.

We are very committed to each of our communities; we donate thousands of meals and dollars each year to those less fortunate than us. We feel as if it’s our role to help fill the needs of our local communities. The Ovation Bistro Foundation is our non-profit company and its sole mission is to help Polk County residents, nothing more. We have donated over 30,000 meals with Feeding America Tampa Bay and supported hundreds of charities and even given out scholarships to local deserving students. We want to get to know you and we want you to feel at home at all the Ovation Bistros. We are regular people that know who we are and where we are from, come by and say “hi”.

We want to offer you a nice welcome, this would include a free margarita flatbread when you sign up for our O-Club. Thank you for your time, we look forward to meeting you. We are in the restaurants the days that end in “y”, so chances are if you come by we will be there!

Joel & Fernando

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Stay up to date by signing up for our O-Club and as a thanks, you’ll receive a FREE Margarita Flatbread!