Today we’re going way out of our territory to have breakfast with an old friend. Going to Brooksville is quite a journey from Tampa! We brought a book for the ride.
And we packed provisions.
And brother let me tell you, the trip was worth it. We visited Farmer John’s in Brooksville on 3 October 2009. We have never been to Farmer John’s, nor anyplace in Hernando County ever, for breakfast. Farmer John’s is a “Key West Cafe”, complete with the bright colors and Jimmy Buffet soundtrack. Some folks might find this to be sort of “touristy” or kitschy, but I love it. And this place is in Brooksville, for cryin’ out loud. In Miami it would be a tourist trap, but in Brooksville it’s novel and fun.
While we were on a road trip to raise awareness of breakfasts in central Florida, Mom was up early to support the Race for the Cure in St. Pete (notice our cool “I’m a Breast Man” t-shirts! They work on so many levels.). Mom, you kick butt!
This was a special Tampa Bay Breakfast as we were joined by our old friend Dave. Dave lives in Brooksville and had recommended Farmer John’s to us several times since the start of Tampa Bay Breakfasts. Today we finally took him up on it.
Let’s start with a serious discussion about coffee. This coffee was serious. End of discussion. Gosh-darn it to heck, Beaver, we could have drank a 55 gallon drum of this brew. And it kept coming. We never saw the bottom of that cup (and obviously, Marek was helping me drink it).
We discovered that Dave has the razor-sharp reflexes of a Tampa Bay Lightning goalie. Well, a Lightning goalie from 2004, anyway. Marek kept winging this little dump truck at Dave, but that puck never hit the net. Based on the last few games we’ve been to, I’m thinking the Bolts could really use Dave’s skills. Oren and Len, hook us up with an official Lightning breakfast and we’ll introduce you.
Then there was breakfast. And this breakfast came down from on high. You can only say “wow” and “holy moley” and “mmmmm, mouf full, cann falk now” so much. But before I get too far down that road, we’ll check in with Dave, our official TBB Guest Reviewer. Dave comes here all the time, so he already knew he’d be happy.
The menu has fresh rainbow trout with eggs, potatoes, and pancakes as a whopper of a breakfast special. Our kind waitress strongly suggested I get this, and pretty much called me a pansy for not trying it. But I stuck to my guns, because on the other side of the menu I saw something very important … blueberry pancakes. While I don’t have any particular prejudice against fish for breakfast, given the chance for a phat stack of blueberry cakes I don’t even have to say which way I’m going to roll. Blueberry pancakes all the way. Oh, and scrambled eggs and bacon.
Marek wants to tell Steve from Yankeetown that he thinks the bacon could be considered Steve-Standard for crisp.
After all this breakfast, it just needs another dose of the JP-4. (I have a confession to make at this point. While Marek was distracted drinking his coffee, I ate that whole pancake of his on his plate. Serves him right for taking his eyes off the prize!)
All through breakfast I was mulling on the final score. Four? Four and a half? Let’s reconsider the things we look at when we give a rating. Quality, uniqueness, friendliness, overall good feeling, price. I’m thinking top marks on everything except maybe price and definitely distance. And then Dave snapped up the check and, in blatant violation of Tampa Bay Breakfast policy, says he’s paying. Let’s just say this pushed our rating right over the top (hey, it’s a subjective rating system, and Dave’s not going to buy breakfast for everyone, so this counts for a lot to us!). Marek asked Dave if he could take the check up to the counter.
Dave was happy for the help!
Marek caught our waitress with her hands full. They sorted it out, but for a moment there we were all pretty sure that those pancakes and trout were going to go a-flying to the island sounds of Mr. Buffet. The bill got paid and the change was returned safely.
When we were all done we thanked Dave for the great recommendation and for picking up the tab. Marek saw how full I was from such a big breakfast, so he offered to drive while I took a little nap. Now that’s a good son I have. Thoughtful. Considerate. Likes listening to AC/DC when we ride.
So here we are. The end of a Tampa Bay Breakfast. Doing the tally in the car (Marek’s driving while I write this. We run a wicked little Celica GTS with the 6-speed transmission. He’s spinning Back In Black and hitting the high points at about 125mph as we dodge the tractors on U.S. 41.) We just had blueberry pancakes that were on point with the Gold Standard (should I say, the “blue standard?”) blueberry pancakes of Skyway Jacks in St. Pete. We had Steve-Standard bacon. The menu had something very unique with the fish, like Martha’s in central Tampa. The decor was as fun and unique as what you see at the Pink Flamingo on Davis Island. The people were as friendly as can be and the crowd was full of regulars (Dave was known by name) like at Niko’s or Mamas’. That’s a 4.5 rating, easy. Spending the hour with Dave, and him picking up the tab didn’t hurt, pushes us over the line. We’re very stingy with awarding the 5-pancake rating, but I think we’re going to have to roll it out for this exceptional breakfast experience.
We’re pleased to give this Tampa Bay Breakfast a five pancake rating.
How FUN! This place looks very happy! And the idea of fresh rainbow trout for breakfast – love it! Glad you got to see your friend, Dave, too! Marek is just adorable… probably he’s not big on that word… hmmm… Marek is THE MAN! :o)
Hi Andy & Marek,
Just wanted to say thank for the “Fabulous Five Star Pancake” review of Farmer John’s Key West Cafe!! I was your server yesterday and I had no idea you were actually there to review our restaurant. Dave just said that he had some old friends that were coming to meet him that were “Pancake Specialists!” So you can understand my bewilderment when you came in with your 2 year old son….. Who by the way was way too cute and we LOVED his t-shirt, GO MOM!!!! I did want to set the record straight though about the raindbow trout, I didn’t really call you a pansy, I just said, You need to step “Outside the Box” when you come to the Key West Cafe. So glad your visit was a pleasure … Hope to see you again and maybe tempt you or your wife with our Key West Shrimp Omelette, Key West Crepes or Oven Baked Dutch Apple Pancake!! Then again there’s always blueberry pancakes and lots of hot, hand mixed and freshly ground coffee to keep you satisfied……