By Amanda Hatfield
SATELLITE BEACH -- If you're looking for the new best breakfast and lunch spot on the beach, look no further than Banana River Café.
Located along South Patrick Drive in Satellite Beach, the delicious dining destination is housed in what once was the Blue Lemon Café.
"When I saw the location was available, I was happy it was on the beach," said Loren Greenspan, owner of Banana River Café. "It's part of the local community and I'm a local guy, who wants to bring his style of American food to our community."
Born and raised in Buffalo, N.Y., Mr. Greenspan received a bachelor's degree in restaurant management, with a focus in hotel, food and travel, from Florida International University in Miami.
"After school, I ended up in Atlanta for nearly 30 years in the food business, where I worked for some folks before setting out on my own," Mr. Greenspan said.
During his long tenure in Atlanta, Mr. Greenspan opened and managed five breakfast-lunch restaurants before making the move to the Space Coast in 2011.
"Although I enjoyed living in Atlanta, it's not the same as living in Brevard," Mr. Greenspan said. "I have a few friends that live here, so I decided to move down and take it easy."
Banana River Café opened its doors for business on Nov. 1, 2012.
The restaurant derives its name from the river it sits parallel to, the Banana River.
"I love the Banana River, which is why I named the restaurant after it," Mr. Greenspan said. "I spend a lot of my free time canoeing and kayaking."
Since opening Banana River Café, Mr. Greenspan has constantly worked to encourage the public to give his restaurant a try.
"A challenge we've faced so far is getting people in for the first time," Mr. Greenspan said. "Especially since we moved into a former local favorite."
While Mr. Greenspan acknowledges the Banana River Café has some pretty steep competition, cooking home-style meals like breakfast and lunch are his passion.
"Owning restaurants that serve breakfast and lunch is what I gravitate toward," Mr. Greenspan said. "It's the kind of food I love to cook, and I leave dinner up to other people. I find it's my little niche -- if you will -- cooking eggs, breakfast and lunch. You know, gourmet kind of food."
Serving up fresh, delicious meals is extremely important to Mr. Greenspan. Each egg is cracked and every slice of bacon cooked when ordered.
"I start out with some of the freshest ingredients," Mr. Greenspan added.
"I buy fresh, rather than buying a lot of frozen stuff. I try to keep the food simple -- comfort, home-style food that you would make at home -- and then throw in a lot of fresh ingredients like spinach, herbs, different seasonings that people are used to while throwing a different spin on it," Mr. Greenspan said. "I even make my own sauces."
One of the most popular breakfast items at Banana River Café is the potato stacks.
"People love the stacks, which are herb roasted potatoes, with a variety of toppings," Mr. Greenspan said. "The stackers are complete with over easy eggs and a homemade cheese sauce."
The egg, sausage, and cheese burrito, as well as the morning quesadilla are also extremely popular amongst Banana River Café patrons.
While most people are set in their breakfast routines, Mr. Greenspan enjoys coming up with different specials to offer his customers.
"I always want to come up with cool, awesome specials each day so people won't get bored with our menu," Mr. Greenspan said. "The specials I come up with reflect food trends, seasons, and most of all, customer feedback."
The Banana River Café menu also features delicious omelets and egg scramblers, with a variety of meats and vegetables for toppings, fluffy pancakes and Belgium waffles served with fruit, eggs, or meat.
Lunch-goers at the Banana River Café can select from mouthwatering burgers, classic Philly's, and hearty salads.
Prices for both courses are under $8.
"When people come in, I want to make sure they walk out happy, like they got a lot of value," Mr. Greenspan said.
After working in the food service industry for more than 30 years, keeping customers happy is the primary goal for Mr. Greenspan.
"You're only as good as the last meal you put out," Mr. Greenspan said. "It's important to listen to your customers and be able to change on the fly."
Just like the food he serves, Mr. Greenspan's business philosophy is full of flavor and compassion.
"Maintaining a hometown feel is extremely valuable. My wife is out front and I cook in the back," Mr. Greenspan said. "I do my best to come out as much as possible so I can get to know our customers."
With a menu full of delicious, reasonably priced options and an owner who cooks from the heart, Banana River Café certainly aims to please.
"I love food and people, and I want to make them happy with my food."
Banana River Café is located at 1301 S. Patrick Ave. in Satellite Beach. Business hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, with breakfast only served on Sundays.
For more information, visit www.bananarivercafe.com, like them on Facebook, or call (321) 622-4381.