It was a steamy Saturday morning August 6th, 2016 as I pulled out of my driveway about 5:30am. I had the set of keys that the night before were handed to me as I took ownership of the little cafe in Venice. Not only was I on my way to a new job, I was one of the lucky ones who had to chance to check off a bucket list item…own and operate a small restaurant of my own. And now, as I write this, I am staring down at our first anniversary party this week, amazing. As far as I can remember there were two things that family and friends used to say to me growing up (well they called me a lot more, but that’s another story)- you need to own your own business and they called me Chef Jeff for my love of cooking (quite frankly cooking was a result of my love of eating!). So, to turn the key on my own place after years in another career was exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time. But given my life choices up to that point…that combination of emotions is par for the course.
One year into this adventure, and many have asked “So, how was your first year? Is it all you wanted it to be?” That’s not a simple answer. When you move your entire life 1000 miles away, quit your long time career, change your entire family’s life, and dive into entrepreneurship all in one week…there’s some ‘splaining to do. But the elevator pitch, the short and sweet answer to those questions is: “Wow what an amazing year! Learning new things, doing tasks I have never done, meeting so many great people (and some not so great, but we won’t dwell on that), working side by side with such dedicated people, and not to mention we kept our doors open so far!”
About that, keeping our doors open is a bit of an understatement. When people ask me how things are going I modestly say, “doors are still open and paying the bills”, but the reality is things look much better then that comment lets on. In the year that we have owned Flapjacks Cafe so many changes for the good have occurred. If no one minds, I’m going to drop the modesty for a brief moment and take a little time to reflect with all of you the positive that occurred at Flapjacks Cafe over the last 365 days.
- An updated fresh menu that not only reflects local favorites, but also new yummy offerings. We continue to evaluate and improve our menu as the seasons change and requests are made.
- The entire dining room has been updated to a clean, fresh, gulf coast setting. When you can’t make the beach, we are a good local choice to relax and still get your fill of of the beach (we’ll even give you some salt water taffy if you want). New tables, chairs, paint, fresh window signs, local artists on the wall, beachy laid back music, and so much more.
- Many food items have been upgraded and improved. We now offer thicker sliced applewood smoked bacon, real maple syrup blend rather than just corn syrup, the best cheesesteak cuts around with Amoroso rolls, real Taylor Ham pork roll, Scrapple, out of this world chicken salad, fresh fruit upgrades, upgraded to top quality beef for our burgers, local produce…the list can go on.
- We now serve breakfast all day every day in addition to our lunch menu. Not only have breakfast hours been expanded to include all hours we are open, we are now open on Sundays.
- We love our locals and visitors alike. The demographics of our regular guest has changed over this past year. You now enter Flapjacks and find families sharing a meal, snowbirds laughing it up, locals joining us day in and day out to enjoy friendly conversation and good food, young adults on a breakfast date, business lunches stopping in for a breather, breakfast clubs trying new places, and multi- generational reunions catching up over some tasty treats. A long way from just a year ago.
- We started serving beer, wine, and cocktails to much fanfare! You can now enjoy a beer with your classic cheeseburger, a glass of wine with one of our fresh salads, bite the morning back with a zesty Bloody Mary, or class it up with a Mimosa while enjoying your eggs bennie.
- The staff has been trained and share the vision of what Flapjacks Cafe is and what it could be! You’re not going to find a friendlier group of servers anywhere else willing to do what it takes for enjoyable guest visit. They have been given the power to serve you and ensure you walk away happy.
- Our kitchen staff is hard working, efficient, and know how to create the best meals around!
- In just one year, we rose through the ranks on Trip Advisor from 145 out of 145 restaurants in Venice to 25th and still climbing! Not only are we proud of the 25 ranking we are loving the 5th spot out of 53 breakfast/lunch restaurants in Venice! We hope you continue to help us grow and climb.
- Given all that…were not done yet.
Alright, I think that’s enough bragging. But, we are proud of our little cafe and hope that each and every guest who joins us feels like they are part of the family, enjoys the food and conversation, and leaves happy. There was a song that stuck with our family in the adventure to Southwest Florida, The Avett Brothers “Salvation Song”:
We came for salvation
We came for family
We came for all that’s good that’s how we’ll walk away
We came to break the bad
We came to cheer the sad
We came to leave behind the world a better way
Our family believes in “leave behind the world a better way” . We have been touched by so many in the past year, hopefully have cheered some sad, and maybe did our part of making the world a better place in ways we know how. So, join us and be part of the family for breakfast, lunch or just stop in to chat. We love to have you and see ya’ll soon!