Some of Ocala Horse Properties Favorite Things About Ocala & HITS

The Ocala Horse Properties Team; Matt Varney, Chris Desino, and Rob Desino
Ocala Horse Properties are Proud, Founding Members of the Horse Farms Forever Organization

When we’re not playing matchmakers to buyers and their new homes, we’re hitting up our favorite hometown spots with each other, our friends, and our families.

My favorite slice in Ocala:

Chris & Rob – Both of us love Blue Highway Pizza. Having been in the business years ago, it always brings back great memories. Our favorite is their original location in Micanopy. It’s great pizza and a very laid back setting.

Matt – I love going to Blue Highway and Roma’s but I have to say my favorite slice is the Lana’I at Pi on Broadway downtown. Pulled pork, caramelized onions, papaya BBQ sauce … soo good.

My favorite adult beverage in Ocala:

Chris – My favorite place for a cocktail is at Golden Ocala at their beautiful bar in Raspberry’s — anything with bourbon.

Rob – My favorite place for a cocktail is Mark’s Prime. They make the best martinis in town!

Matt – My wife swears by the Cosmos at Marks Prime but I’m more of bourbon and whiskey guy, so as far as a cocktail, La Cuisine makes a great Old Fashioned. If I’m in a beer mood, I like going to Infinite Ale Works to check out some good craft beers.

How I spend my quiet time in Ocala:  

Beautiful Oak Trees covered with Spanish Moss in Ocala, FL

Chris – My favorite thing to do with my quiet time is two-fold: I love to get out on the quiet country roads for a long run then come and sit on my back deck overlooking the horses in the pasture.

Rob – My favorite thing to do is unwind with friends around the fire overlooking our pond at sunset. No matter how busy of a day I will have, that will always settle my mind and brings me lots of peace.

Matt – Rarely do I have time to play a full round of golf, but I do love the practice area at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club. I’ll put my headphones on and swing away. That facility is first class. There is so much good golf in Ocala. When friends or family from outside the area visit, they literally can’t believe how many good courses there are around here.

Best workout in Ocala:

Chris – As far as working out, I enjoy long runs and occasionally get into the gym a few times a week. Every once in a while, Rob and Matt will drag me to do hill sprints on the farm.

Rob – I try to get to the gym almost every day, but the one thing I that I enjoy the most and is a great short but high impact workout. I do wind sprints on our farm because the hill is just enough to take my breath away by the time I reach the top.

Matt – Other than my traditional workout at the gym I love to run/walk Ocala’s beautiful roads. And, any time I can get my kayaks out for a day of fishing ends up being a great workout by days-end.

Favorite place to hear music in Ocala:

Chris – In my old age, I don’t go out too much past dinner. I love music, but I generally have never been one to go seek it out.

Rob – After a dinner out in town, I love to wander over to Pi on a nice warm night. It’s always a great time and it provides a lot of energy to the downtown area.

Matt – There are so many places to hear great music here. The downtown square can always lead to some great outdoor music … I usually just follow my ears until I find something I like.

My favorite meal in Ocala:

Photo Credit: Raspberry’s at Golden Ocala Webpage

Chris – Gosh, this is a tough question. I love to eat! If I had to pick one place that I really enjoy, it’s Antonio’s in Micanopy. I also frequent Mark’s Prime quite a bit, but I love Italian and when I moved to Florida from NY, it was a struggle to find good Italian. But that is not the case today!

Rob – I eat out quite a bit, but if I had to pick one restaurant, it would be Raspberry’s at Golden Ocala. The food, in my opinion, rivals most any restaurant you can find in New York City.

Matt – If I had to break it down, the appetizer would be Crabtini at Marks Prime or the Bacon Tomato Dill soup at Horse & Hounds. Then for an entree, maybe the Pork Jarrett at La Cuisine or one of the creative burgers at Dish/Blue Waygu — my favorite is the Suzutani. For dessert, I like to go to Hello Cupcake, which has a super cozy atmosphere.

What do you most like about HITS Ocala?

Chris & Rob – Going to the Grand Prix every Sunday is great but what we really we love is the people it brings to the area. HITS brings so many people from all across the world to Ocala and we really enjoy meeting new people and seeing old friends that come every year.

Matt– I think the excitement of the Nations Cup and the $1 million Grand Prix is just so much fun every year.  I love going every Sunday with my family to watch every Grand Prix (in Ocala Horse Properties Stadium) but the energy behind those two events is second-to-none.  I look forward to seeing many familiar faces as well, many who are very good friends.

We hope to see you out and about!