Breakfast is a hot commodity, not only for the human body but for the human business experience. Not just the most important meal of the day, but also a billion-dollar industry, since Americans spend more money on meals out than they typically spend on groceries according to a recent Fox News report.
Not simply the “daily special” anymore, consisting of two eggs over easy, home fries, toast, and either sausage and bacon, and of course an endless cup of coffee, but today’s menus cater to the masses who seem to hunger for “egg whites, (sans the yellow), skip the bread and add a side of fruit crowd.”
Sarasota has a nice offering of breakfast venues, be it served at charming old homes refurbished to feed the early eaters, or traditional pancake houses and restaurants that cater to the early morning dwellers, hungry after a night out. It used to be that places that restricted their business to daytime hours were doomed to fail, because dinner is the traditional meal out, not breakfast. But that is not the case anymore. If you are a restaurateur who can dish up traditional breakfast dishes, offering a healthier spin on them, perhaps, and you can get the people off to work or to the beach in a quick fashion, then you are on to something. Of course, some places have had this formula mastered for some time, and although Sarasota folks have the luxury of many great breakfast seats to go to for great eats, the one we are spotlighting today is Blue Dolphin Café. Fulfilling all the requirements for a great breakfast and lunch joint plus a whole lot more, this is one place your early morning appetite should lead you.
With two locations, one on St. Armand’s Circle and the other on Longboat Key, this delightful café has cornered the market on “location, location, location!” I visited the St. Armand’s location and from the first step inside, I knew this was going to be a treat. You know that smell of good fresh ground coffee brewing so that the flavorful scents waft just a little above the sound and scents coming off the sizzling bacon taking up residence on a hot griddle, combining for something akin to a beautiful symphony? After you peel your eyes off the gorgeous plates flying by you as to reach the diner with piping hot efficiency, you notice the hubbub that engulfs this place. Well-trained servers who can smile, say hello, and pass you off to the hostess taking your name for a short wait happens in about five seconds. I hear there is always a little bit of a lag between tables because the place is popular and appropriately packed. After a nice sit outside, where the ambiance of St. Armand’s completely takes your mind off your grumbling tummy, you are welcomed to your table.
Back inside, it’s time to peruse a two-sided breakfast and lunch menu that is full of tasty, healthy, traditional and not-so-traditional dishes. Our group decided to weigh heavily on the breakfast orders. After seeing mouth-watering pictures of waffles online it was hard to not go for this. And boy, they did not disappoint. Warm and flaky homemade waffles, with powdered sugar sprinkled in all the right places were fantastic topped with real butter and thick maple syrup. Larger than your normal waffles, they are a beautiful harmony of a sweet breakfast treat when served with a hefty side order of bacon, not greasy but thick and tasty, and perfect for dipping in your syrup.
Their omelets, which covered the gamut including an “everything in the kitchen” option were massive. If you can envision a large dinner plate with two-thirds of it covered in a perfect omelet, we are on the same page here. Mine consisted of sausage, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and cheese. I was hard-pressed to find a bite that didn’t have meat in it and at first glance, the size of it made me think I had accidentally received a double omelet. Their home fries were crispy on the outside but hearty enough to reach through to a pocket of soft potato inside. A variety of toasts were available, and as seen behind the counter, bags of fresh baked rolls and bread are available for all your wants. Another diner in our party enjoyed a “traditional” breakfast with fluffy scrambled eggs, more bacon, warm toast, and freshly shredded hash browns. Our “lunch” friend ordered a chicken club sandwich and from the “mmm, mmm” I kept hearing, I knew the seasoned and grilled chicken breast topped with a nice hickory sauce and adorned with bacon and cheese was a hit. The French fries were a perfect crispy, golden brown and our drinks never reached the bottom of the glass as our waitress was efficient and quick with refills. For further testing, we took a philly cheese steak to go and that was a huge hit piled high with mounds of roast beef and cheese on a toasted bun that wasn’t even slightly soggy.
The Blue Dolphin Café is open seven days a week from 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. They are eco-friendly with the products they use so their carbon imprint and garbage in landfills is reduced. So, eat up Sarasota and know you are helping the environment too at Blue Dolphin Café. Grab a hearty breakfast, a coffee to go, and top off your dining experience with a walk around St. Armand’s Circle. Ambiance, good eats for an affordable price and a satisfied palate will leave you hungry for more Blue Dolphin Café. I know I’m already planning my return visit. For more information on location, hours, menus, etc. please visit http://bdc.jahmobileapp.com/.
photos courtesy of Blue Dolphin Café Facebook Page.