Written by on May 27, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Millenia in Orlando, Florida

How I heard of this place: Lani introduced us to this great breakfast joint, formerly The Florida Waffle Shop, in the Millenia Mall Plaza area before we headed out for a morning of kayaking at Wekiwa Springs State Park.

Type of cuisine: Redefining breakfast and lunch, Keke’s is definitely the spot to hit up for local brunch, open from 7:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. every day! “It’s like the hometown diner grew up and went to the city.” Keke’s started in 2006 as The Florida Waffle Shop and the rest is history: “In the early months of 2006 my brother suggested that we give Orlando a breakfast restaurant like the ones in the town where we lived in Pennsylvania. Having moved to Orlando in 2003, and being very regular visitors for ten or more years prior, we knew that there would be a place in the breakfast business for our food. We settled on a location in the Millenia section of Orlando and set about learning the restaurant business.

In November 2006 we opened “The Florida Waffle Shop” to very enthusiastic customers. We are in the restaurant daily and listened to the many suggestions our guests provided, refined our product and experienced unexpected growing and loyal customer base. The one thing we heard repeatedly was “how nice it would be to have our restaurant in our visiting guests’ town or neighborhood”. We believed that the restaurant owners’ presence in the business is crucial to its success. There was only one way that we could give the guests the additional locations that they were asking for and also have an owner/operator to maximize its probability of success. Franchise.

When we filed a trademark application for the Florida Waffle Shop, our application was denied due to breakfast restaurant with a similar name. To assure that no future issues would arise when “trademarking” our new name, we decided to just make up a name. After many suggestions and consideration we settled on the name of Keke’s Breakfast Cafe.

We have enjoyed incredible success as The Florida Waffle Shop and will remain true to the same practices and values as we move forward as Keke’s Breakfast Cafe. Our objective is for our guests to visit any Keke’s and have the same experience that you have grown accustomed to at The Florida Waffle Shop. We have gone to great lengths to assure that our Franchisees will have the proper training and support to provide you with a quality experience at every Keke’s.”

Ambiance: Keke’s is set in a large, modern, seemingly new build shopping center called Millenia. The cafe is large, spacious and open, with tall ceilings. The near floor-to-ceiling windows let in the natural Florida light of the sun, as we were seated in a tall backed booth next to chair and table settings for a large party of eight, including children. The yellow-toned walls set against the black trim and seating made one truly feel as though he was in a southern, coastal town. In the bustling space, complete with servers running around efficiently, with friendly smiles on their faces, one hears the sounds of laughter and joy, family and friends talking, reminiscing and enjoying their brunch meals. A place where breakfast is served all day is always a happy place, and Keke’s could be the poster child for it! Warm colors, cozy atmosphere, friendly staff and servers, happy customers; it says it all.

What I ordered: We started our morning with two hot coffees, one black and one with cream and sugar, as well as a large (20-ounce) cranberry juice. The token male in our group selected the Buffalo Chicken Omelet ($9.99) that I had brought to his attention as one of my top three picks. He enjoyed the chicken breast in Frank’s Red Hot covered in American cheese and served with ranch (and blue cheese) dressing, alongside sliced home fries and a buttered English muffin. He also ordered a side of bacon (four strips) and a side of sausage links (four links) with which to wash it all down. The other two in my group went for one of the “Make Your Own Combos”, including a waffle, of which they each chose one topped with strawberries in glaze, home fries, two strips of bacon and two strips of pork sausage links, and two eggs prepared scrambled and over easy (respectively). Upon asking the server his recommendation, I also had to go with the waffle combo ($9.99 each). My waffle of choice was a sweet, buttery and soft one served Florida style, topped with fresh strawberries, banana slices, fresh blueberries and dusted with powdered sugar. A side of freshly whipped cream in a square-shaped bowl also came on the side of my order. With the combination, I selected two eggs, over easy, home fries and two strips of delicious, thick, crispy bacon.

What I loved: The waffle was surprisingly good! Very light and fluffy, hot and topped with only fresh fruit. It was so good, in fact, it didn’t need any maple syrup, let alone other toppings. The home fries well-seasoned and melt-in-your-mouth good added a nice savory touch to the salty, greasy and crisp bacon. But the bite that stole the show, was, undoubtedly, the Buffalo Chicken Omelet! Spicy, tasty, full of flavor and oomph. The cheese, Frank’s Red Hot sauce, the shredded chicken amidst a thin omelet truly satisfied.

Why I loved it: It is one of the first times I have had a truly diner-style brunch on the East Coast and enjoyed every minute of it! Everything about the place was great – the food, the service, the colors of the space and the warmth of my dining companions. There was nothing not to love.

Cost: Average ($7.49-$9.99 per hearty breakfast entree)

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