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A good old-fashioned country diner may seem a wee bit out of place on the modern suburban thoroughfare of Lake Mary Boulevard, but that hasn't stopped families from tolerating Appleton's fruity decor (a decor that gets ridiculously kitschy once Halloween and Christmas roll around) and gorging on heaping plates of hearty, greasy goodness. Maybe it's because the Old South vibe here isn't uncomfortably Old South ' it's relaxed, friendly, even a little dowdy, but it's got a distinct charm, and it offers a pre-noon alternative to the Heathrow housewife scene at the Peach Valley Café a couple of miles down the road.

The waitresses at Appleton's are delightfully old-school and defiantly pleasant in the face of sluggish and disinterested diners. And they can certainly perk up the senses with comments like 'I wouldn't recommend the fruit today,â?� which, while somewhat off-putting, had me in stitches nonetheless.

So, forgoing the cup of fruit ($2.95), we dove headfirst into one of their 'hearty breakfasts,â?� namely the country-fried steak and eggs ($7.95), which lived up to all expectations. The crunch of the pounded steak was perfect, and the thick sausage gravy that smothered it added a nice kick. Interspersing each bite with eggs over easy sopped up with a homemade country biscuit just made the meaty morning meal all the better.

'Grits,â?� my dining partner remarked, 'are a serious personal choice.â?� The ones served here are on the thicker side, in need of quite a bit of butter and salt to give them the desired consistency and flavor. On the potato front, I preferred the home fries over the hash browns, though, really, both were good. From the griddle, both the thick French toast ($5.95; short stack, $4.25) and the pillowy pancakes ($5.95; short stack, $4.25) were flawlessly cooked. In keeping with the café's theme, warm apples and cinnamon can be added to your hotcakes for a couple more bucks. My only complaint, and it's an oft-cited one with me when it comes to breakfast joints, is that pure maple syrup isn't offered, even as an upgrade.

All omelets are prodigious three-egg envelopes with enough sides (your choice of home fries, hash browns or grits and your choice of toast, homemade biscuit or English muffin with plain or cinnamon-raisin bagel) to keep you going until dinner. The Greek omelet ($7.95), however, was just too dry to fully enjoy. The cook was likely distracted from all the other dishes he was cooking and left it in the pan a few minutes too long, a shame considering I was looking forward to downing this eggy number with gyro meat, pepperoncini, black olives and crumbled feta.

Coffee snobs need to leave their java judgments at the door ' the cup of joe served here is dark, strong and not for the faint of heart. A lunch menu is also offered (the place is open until 3 p.m.) with a variety of comfort food and greasy-spoon fare.

'The Next Best Thing to Mom's Cookingâ?� is emblazoned on their menu, and while that may be true, their furnishings, particularly in the screened-in back porch, are the next best thing to a Motel 6. Then again, I wouldn't have expected anything less from a place that celebrates its Old Florida character. Biscuits to bacon, Appleton's is down-home to the core.

In the face of a landscape burgeoning with whitewashed rejuvenation, Christo's Cafe stands as a fixture in defiance. So while progress in the guise of urban renewal encroaches on College Park's historic streets, the recusant little diner flaunts its 'this is your grandfather's greasy spoon' charm and, in so doing, has achieved a venerated standing in the community -- a standing reinforced with every new brick laid along Edgewater Drive.

Not that the scruffy little sit-down is overrun by patrons long in the tooth, though members of that demographic, along with diners broad in the beam and raw in the bone, have all been known to indulge in Christo's hash-house classics. Most of my visits here have been to enjoy hearty breakfasts on their plastic tables outside and, personally, I know of no better place to have a pre-noon meal. That sentiment has less to do with the food than with the utterly calming environs, though a recent breakfast on a cool morn amid a light drizzle was made all the more memorable by the lamb and feta-filled Greek omelet ($7.25), a stack of silver dollar pancakes ($2.50), deep-fried French toast with bananas ($5.25) and bottomless cups of coffee.

On weekends, the place fills up with the hungry and hungover, many lingering under the weathered green awning, awaiting some blood-thickening goodness. Tables inside and out fill up quickly, and it's not unusual to see diners waiting it out in the parking lot. The summer heat, however, dictates grabbing a vinyl-topped table inside, or one of the six seats at the counter where you'll compete for elbow room with dessert cases.

Fancy they're not. Trimmings and decorations are kept simple, and a similar no-frills position is taken in the kitchen, from where equally simple treasures emerge. The hot open-face turkey sandwich ($8.70), for example, was adorned with a turbid slather of salted gravy and a side of thick mashed potatoes. A starter of blazing jalapeno poppers ($4.50) prepped my palate for the fowl-and-gravy onslaught. The breaded outer layer had the right amount of crisp and the cheese filling the right amount of ooze, but especially good was the kick of the homemade salsa dip.

A mug of chili ($3.50) was a boon for bean-lovers, and a bane for those who sleep next to them. A heaped ladling of thick five-bean sauce topped with a generous layer of grated cheddar was given a pungent intensity by a further topping of diced Spanish onions.

As if that didn't satisfy my craving for ground beef, my eyes were set on devouring the 'super big mouth' cheeseburger ($10), though my stomach knew full well that wasn't going to happen. Undaunted, I clasped the intimidating one-pound, kaiser-rolled monstrosity and managed about five feeble bites before succumbing to its immensity. Resisting the temptation to sample a burger purporting to be the 'best in town' has always been a challenging feat for me; in this particular case, the claim wasn't without merit.

Carrot cake ($2.95) and coconut cake ($2.75), both of which my effusive waitress said were freshly baked, validates the kitchen's sweeter side, the latter being a soft, moist and ideal accompaniment for a cuppa joe.

Greek-themed items like lamb and chicken gyros pay tribute to Christo's (the original owner, before he sold the joint to the current proprietors back in the early 1980s) Hellenic roots. The diner has since retained its throwback image and proudly adheres to a classical approach to diner fare. Epicurus would be proud.

The smell of bacon wafts out the front door and hits your nose if you’re within a 100-foot radius of Chubby’s Family Restaurant in east Orlando. It’s the kind of place you don’t mind eating alone in; there’s always a friend willing to sit down across the booth from you and take your order. Almost everyone is greeted by name as they walk through the door, along with a compliment about their current haircut or shirt color. It’s a comfortable place, and the food exponentially accentuates that comfort.

Breakfast is the main meal, I find out, as my “Sherry’s skillet” ($6.50) is slid in front of me. Crispy potatoes and sautéed onions line the bottom of the bowl, followed by savory sausage, two eggs, cheddar cheese and white sausage gravy. Beside it is a biscuit so buttery and soft that jam is rendered unnecessary. I load a heaping pile of breakfast onto my fork and I’m in heaven. When I take a sip of coffee and my mouth is set aflame, I realize that my cup has been refilled under the radar in the 3.5 seconds I was digging in my purse for a pen. That’s the way Chubby’s does things: unceremoniously and swiftly. Like a good doo-wop group, each part harmonizes to create a proficient unity of service, food and ambience.

As I chew blissfully, the man with the full-white beard and the Harley-Davidson shirt in the booth behind me orders a mushroom cheeseburger ($5.95) at 10:30 a.m. I smile inwardly as he skips the french fries. The ones I had yesterday were in dire need of salt, making them useless starch vehicles. But the Chubby’s Burger ($5.95), a 6-ounce beef patty piled with white American cheese and more than a few slices of smoky ham, garnered a jealous gaze from the kimono-clad Betty Boop on the wall opposite me.

The menu at Chubby’s Family Restaurant is filled with sandwiches, salads and a whole host of side dishes, from fried okra to Spam. The pancake special is possibly the best deal in town; for $5 you get two enormous, fluffy pancakes, two eggs any style, and either bacon or sausage.

As long as you pass on the fries, you’ll be satisfied. Glancing up at the print of Lucy and Ethel’s jam-packed faces at the chocolate factory will be like looking in a mirror, but at least you’ll be smiling.

Seasoned shoppers will tell you that if you plan to tackle the holiday madness in any of Orlando's major malls, a good pair of walking shoes is just as important as strict adherence to the 3 Ps ' patience, perseverance and pancakes. Yes, pancakes. Or waffles, eggs, cereal, yogurt ' whatever your breakfast meal of choice happens to be. A good start is critical, even essential, when the time comes to elbow a septuagenarian or two out of the way for that marked-down sweater at the Gap.

So, if the Mall at Millenia happens to be your credit-leavener of choice, consider popping into this area brekkie joint for some pre-shopping sustenance, though judging from the quick closure of the previous tenant ' Mama Fu's Noodle House ' and the demise of the neighboring Storehouse furniture store and the Testa Rossa Caffe, you'd better hurry.

The interior hasn't veered much from its Mama Fu's days; in fact, even some of the waiters are holdovers, as is the maddening '80s and '90s pop music playing overhead. The coffee-colored walls, suspension lighting and floor-to-ceiling windows tender a level of slickness a step above your local First Watch or IHOP, and the breakfast fare, though not dazzling, is properly satisfying.

Where else to start but with the classic Belgian waffle ($5.59)? The signature from Brussels is light, crispy and simple. The lone square-shaped hotcake is a refreshingly minimalist breakfast portion, served in a square dish with an orange slice and a wee bowl of butter. But the only available liquid topping is table syrup, which is essentially super-thick high-fructose corn syrup. Is it too much to ask for a breakfast joint to serve real 100 percent maple syrup instead of this fabricated goop? Yeah, it's a tad more expensive, but if I'm paying six bucks for a waffle, I'll gladly foot a few extra cents for real maple syrup. Until that day comes, your only choice is to head over to your nearest supermarket, purchase some fancy grade-A Canadian maple syrup and carry it with you the next time you dine at this or any other pancake/waffle house. It'll make your meal considerably more gratifying and, really, it's no different than bringing your own hot sauce to a restaurant.

My dining partner opted for the granola crunch waffle ($6.69). For $1.10 more than the Belgian waffle, you get a sprinkling of rolled oats and raisins along with a plate of whipped cream. I have to admit, it just didn't look very appetizing. Perhaps it was because the granola looked like chicken feed scattered over a subway grate, or that waffles and granola seem about as culinarily mismatched as foie gras and Cheerios. No matter, traditionalists can select from other, less health-food-y options such as chocolate chip, baked pecan and strawberries with cream.

Similarly flavored pancakes are also offered, as are a range of omelets in time-honored ingredient combos, but I was more intrigued by the Florida french toast ($6.79). Though I expected to see wheat germ, bananas, strawberries and powdered sugar dusted over thick slabs of Franco-American-inspired toast, our austere waitress set down a plate of four fluffy slabs of regular french toast ($5.79). Though I was disappointed by the lack of Floridian embellishment, my frustration was tempered by the aesthetically appealing plating and the savory cinnamon-tinged eggy bread, which I ravenously devoured.

The Florida Waffle Shop also has a selection of burgers, sandwiches, salads and other lunchtime faves on hand, all of which can be enjoyed until 3 p.m., and their 'you've got to love it guaranteeâ?� ensures customers are satisfied with their orders. But until I can pour real maple syrup on my griddled cakes, complete customer satisfaction will evade me. Guess what's on my shopping list?

This popular diner in the heart of thr Audubon Park neighborhood serves up inexpensive, tasty grub for breakfast, lunch, and as of recently, dinner. The menu features classic diner fare - egss any way you want them, corned-beef hash, pancakes, burgers - and the ambience is that if your favorite hole-in-the-wall neighborhood joint. Expect a wait for breakfast on the weekends.

The Florida Film Festival at Enzian Theater continues through March 14, and visitors to the Maitland area have been exploring the shiny eateries along Orlando Avenue, north of Winter Park Village. But to complete the Maitland experience, make a visit to Kappy's, the downscale landmark that makes its own "anti-" statement about development. Use a little imagination to hear the car engines and radios that used to roar through Kappy's -- a 1950s-style diner with a covered parking area and picnic tables. The car-rally days have ended, says owner Bob Caplan. He's kept the place unchanged for 30 years come this May, and he bought it secondhand.

Caplan, a firm believer in "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," was working the order window the other night, whipping up shakes from his weathered building that backs up onto railroad tracks.

Caplan, a firm believer in "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," was working the order window the other night, whipping up shakes from his weathered building that backs up onto railroad tracks.

The clientele who swing in to the odd lot at the corner of Sybelia Avenue (across from a shiny 7-Eleven) are from all walks of life, joined by want of Kappy's Philly cheese steaks, hot dogs, burgers, subs, shakes, waffle fries, onion rings and root beer floats.

The clientele who swing in to the odd lot at the corner of Sybelia Avenue (across from a shiny 7-Eleven) are from all walks of life, joined by want of Kappy's Philly cheese steaks, hot dogs, burgers, subs, shakes, waffle fries, onion rings and root beer floats.

For old time's sake, we tried the "special" -- Philly cheese steak and onion, waffle fries and drink ($5) -- which contained enough carbohydrates to fuel a football team. We also tried the worthy vegetarian sub ($3.05), with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato and onions, and a dusting of oregano. The vanilla shake tasted like homemade ($2.85), and the waffle fries were not greasy (89 cents, small).

For old time's sake, we tried the "special" -- Philly cheese steak and onion, waffle fries and drink ($5) -- which contained enough carbohydrates to fuel a football team. We also tried the worthy vegetarian sub ($3.05), with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato and onions, and a dusting of oregano. The vanilla shake tasted like homemade ($2.85), and the waffle fries were not greasy (89 cents, small).

There's a slice of counter space inside, with worn stainless-steel swiveling stools that make you feel like you're on the set of a New York hole in the wall.

A true diner serving the classics: chili omelets, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, bottomless cups of coffee. Service is on point and you can't beat the location - the perfect place to get a jump on your weekend errands.


Teaser: A true diner serving the classics: chili omelets, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, bottomless cups of coffee. Service is on point and you can't beat the location - the perfect place to get a jump on your weekend errands.

Lowe's Good Eaton may be open seven days a week, but there's no better time to sample the restaurant's dishes than Sunday afternoons, when worshippers dressed in their Sunday best cross the street from Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in the heart of Eatonville and head straight to Shea Lowe's soul-food sitdown. The famished masses pay no heed to the menu board near the entrance ' most know exactly what they crave ' and make a beeline for the steam table toward the back of the restaurant to confirm their selection is available. The scene is one of animated anticipation: suited men and chapeau'ed ladies getting their fill of in-line hobnobbing before getting their fill of Southern cookery. 

A Caribbean influence is immediately noticeable, with items like curry chicken ($7.50) and 'slap yo' mommaâ?� oxtails ($7.99) simmering under the glass. That's because Lowe's wife hails from Jamaica, and the menu includes some of her family recipes. The oxtails, supposedly so good that they might spur a bout of maternal abuse, didn't make me want me to sock my mother, but they were worthy of giving my cousin a good shove. While flavorful, they weren't as fall-off-the-bone tender as I would've liked; there are plenty of Caribbean joints in town ' Timehri, Shakera's and Golden Krust ' that do the dish better. Sides of macaroni and cheese and sweet corn, on the other hand, were spot-on. The curry chicken had the obligatory infusion of allspice and turmeric to give it the island essence, and even the rice was identical to the sort you'd find at a Caribbean restaurant. For added zest, squeeze bottles of homemade pepper sauce fashioned by the head cook ' Miss Kim, whose Thai heritage lent the hot sauce its distinct bite ' yielded a bit of heat and a lot of flavor.

Of the traditional Southern offerings, three pieces of fried chicken ($2.99) were cheap and superbly gratifying, the crisp skin and slick resplendence of white and dark meat delightfully sticky and messy. Smothered pork chops ($7.59) drew comparisons to the ones served up at Johnson's Diner, which we found to be more tender and a little better-seasoned. But Lowe's chops are still a plateful of comfort, no doubt, especially when accompanied with a heap of mashed potatoes and green beans. The coup de grâce is sopping the thick gravy up with arguably the best corn bread in the city. Other sides, like black-eyed peas and steamed cabbage, are also perfectly executed. It should be noted that because many of her customers don't eat pork, Miss Kim will occasionally season her peas with smoked turkey or, in the case of collards, green beans and cabbage, with vegetable-based spices.

If you make it out on a Friday or Saturday, you may find Lowe hovering over a batch of his special ribs ($9.99), which he slow-cooks over an open charcoal grill. Desserts are a tad hard to come by. It took three visits before I was able to sample the sweet potato pie ($1.75), but it was well worth the wait. The pie wasn't overly spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon, but had an almost floral essence. Just as wonderful was Miss Kim's banana pudding ($2.50), with its just-right thickness and consistency.

And after sampling Lowe's fare, the same could be said about my belly.

Never say what a restaurant is not. Writing that one restaurant would be better if it were more like another is unfair and pointless. So I won't say that the Market Street Café in Celebration is not Dexter's or Tu Tu Tango or even the College Park Diner because -- of course -- it is none of those things.

I can say that the Market Street Café is not Max's Café. That's because Max's is gone and Market Street has taken its place. The new cafe is being run by Restaurant Partners Inc., which operates four Pebbles restaurants around Orlando. They've done a good job of assimilating the old-days' Celebration atmosphere. If halogen lights and computers had been around in the '50s, Market Street would have fit right in with its retro-modern diner design. Big booths, wide windows and earth tones prevail, making the place something of an upscale, new-urban greasy spoon.

I can say that the Market Street Café is not Max's Café. That's because Max's is gone and Market Street has taken its place. The new cafe is being run by Restaurant Partners Inc., which operates four Pebbles restaurants around Orlando. They've done a good job of assimilating the old-days' Celebration atmosphere. If halogen lights and computers had been around in the '50s, Market Street would have fit right in with its retro-modern diner design. Big booths, wide windows and earth tones prevail, making the place something of an upscale, new-urban greasy spoon.

The eatery is the antithesis of existentialism. One doesn't wear black, drink bitter espresso and read Kierkegaard at Market Street. You order a shake and a burger -- and are happy if you get the special round booth by the front door so you can watch resident Celebrants buzz by on rented electric scooters. I heard one of the waitresses, who was about half my age, say "groovy." Another server must have done well in Celebration Diner school, as she made a point of calling me "hon."

The eatery is the antithesis of existentialism. One doesn't wear black, drink bitter espresso and read Kierkegaard at Market Street. You order a shake and a burger -- and are happy if you get the special round booth by the front door so you can watch resident Celebrants buzz by on rented electric scooters. I heard one of the waitresses, who was about half my age, say "groovy." Another server must have done well in Celebration Diner school, as she made a point of calling me "hon."

I'm not complaining, mind you. The Market Street Café is pleasant, just not very exciting. Regardless of whatever preconceptions you may have walking in, the food is prepared well and nothing seems processed. Market Street serves turkey with cornbread stuffing and meatloaf with mashed potatoes. They're so traditional that you'll be tempted to see if mom is in the kitchen.

I'm not complaining, mind you. The Market Street Café is pleasant, just not very exciting. Regardless of whatever preconceptions you may have walking in, the food is prepared well and nothing seems processed. Market Street serves turkey with cornbread stuffing and meatloaf with mashed potatoes. They're so traditional that you'll be tempted to see if mom is in the kitchen.

Salads and "starters" are enormous. "Portobello" salad ($5.95 small, $9.95 large) is a dinner plate piled high with romaine, diced tomato, slivers of Gouda, corn and big slices of mushroom with a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. Order the small. A cheese quesadilla ($5.95) is as big as your head, and if you order fried-chicken tenders (simple white meat rolled in cornflake breading, $6.95) as an appetizer, don't bother with an entrée.

Salads and "starters" are enormous. "Portobello" salad ($5.95 small, $9.95 large) is a dinner plate piled high with romaine, diced tomato, slivers of Gouda, corn and big slices of mushroom with a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. Order the small. A cheese quesadilla ($5.95) is as big as your head, and if you order fried-chicken tenders (simple white meat rolled in cornflake breading, $6.95) as an appetizer, don't bother with an entrée.

I had the smoked chicken pasta ($11.95). The definition of "pasta" is spaghetti, but it was firm to the tooth and dressed in a pleasant wine and garlic sauce -- lots of garlic. The meatloaf ($10.95) was covered in brown mushroom gravy almost as dark as cocoa, with excellent homemade potatoes.

I had the smoked chicken pasta ($11.95). The definition of "pasta" is spaghetti, but it was firm to the tooth and dressed in a pleasant wine and garlic sauce -- lots of garlic. The meatloaf ($10.95) was covered in brown mushroom gravy almost as dark as cocoa, with excellent homemade potatoes.

If you're looking for an undemanding meal in a "smallville," you might consider the drive.

The last time I had breakfast at Heathrow, I was hurriedly downing steak and eggs in the airport's food court before a connecting flight to Cairo, Egypt, an act I considered quite brazen considering it was during the height of Britain's mad cow frenzy. But for the ensuing seven-odd hours, the two proteins waged an intestinal terror campaign at 36,000 feet. Needless to say, the terms 'breakfastâ?� and 'Heathrowâ?� hold a not-so-special place inside me, so when the opportunity arose to experience breakfast in Heathrow (Florida, not London), I could hear the psychosomatic rumblings.

Furthermore, driving out to a suburban outpost for an omelet and a stack of pancakes seemed like a flight of fancy, but when I found myself being calmed by the café's bucolic lakeside view, a craving for, of all things, steak and eggs ultimately materialized. Given this was Saturday morning, satisfying that craving necessitated a 20-minute wait but, unlike the fare at the airport food court, it was well worth it. Besides, complimentary coffee in their anteroom served to stimulate the appetite while I waited.

Everything ' from the big windows and lemon-colored walls to the clinking cutlery of diners seated in comfy high-backed booths ' plays up the café's rise-and-shine splendor. Quite a few starved souls even braved the heat by dining al fresco in the spacious covered patio, a scene I took in while sipping on peach tea ($2.75), one of only two items on the menu with the fuzzy fruit as an ingredient.

I soaked the trio of fluffy Frisbee-sized buttermilk pancakes ($5.25) in ersatz syrup (Aunt Jemima, my waitress confided), but even that sugary goop couldn't ruin these monster hotcakes, which were neither rubbery, spongy nor dense. Why diners can't enjoy them with real maple syrup is beyond me. At the very least, breakfast joints should offer the real deal as an upgrade.

French toast ($5.25) was a disappointment. The menu read 'six pieces of Texas toast dipped in our homemade batter,â?� but the triangular slabs were Colorado-thin, not Texas-thick, and nowhere near eggy enough. The cheese omelet ($6.29), loaded with melted cheddar, kept it simple, but breakfast potatoes, crisped on the outside and thoroughly cooked inside, were indisputably divine, maybe the best in town. The buttermilk drop biscuit was a delicate and flaky puck best enjoyed with the thick and meaty sausage gravy ($4.50), but it was the Philly steak'and'eggs Benedict croissant ($8.39) that really impressed. Perfectly poached eggs sat inside a buttery crescent roll along with juicy slivers of grilled beef, the lemony hollandaise sauce meshing well with the sweetness of onion and red bell peppers. A side of potatoes and a cup of fresh fruit rounded out the platter.

Peach Valley Café is open daily until 2:30 p.m. (3:30 on weekends), and also serves an assortment of soups, sandwiches, salads, burgers and wraps. The menu's sweeter side pushes their sugary apple fritters ($3.50), but I opted for the subtler peaches and cream muffin ($2.10), most of which I enjoyed with a cup of coffee later in the day.

The café, owned by the same folks who brought you the Stonewood Grill & Tavern, is everything a brekkie joint should be and more. But until early risers in Orange County catch wind of the place the way their Seminole County counterparts have, Peach Valley Café will continue frying under the radar.

Tucked away on Edgewater Drive, the tiny cottage called Shakers has served its tried-and-true breakfast and lunch menu for ages without becoming outdated. It's the kind of place that can be counted on like clockwork, opening every morning at 7 a.m., except for Sunday.

Named for the kitschy collection of salt and pepper shakers that contribute to a modest dŽcor that's part diner and part country kitchen, Shakers holds less than 20 tables and by 11:30 a.m. on a weekday, those tables fill up fast for the lunch crowd.

Named for the kitschy collection of salt and pepper shakers that contribute to a modest dŽcor that's part diner and part country kitchen, Shakers holds less than 20 tables and by 11:30 a.m. on a weekday, those tables fill up fast for the lunch crowd.

Now remember, breakfast is only served until 10:30 a.m., and the choices cover the gamut of familiar day-starters. A variety of three-egg omelets are offered, such as the "chef's omelet" ($5.25), filled with mushrooms, ham, bacon, tomato, potato and cheddar cheese. Add a small stack of blueberry pancakes ($2.75) or biscuits and gravy ($2.15), or choose from side items that range from kielbasa ($2.10) to grits (45 cents).

Now remember, breakfast is only served until 10:30 a.m., and the choices cover the gamut of familiar day-starters. A variety of three-egg omelets are offered, such as the "chef's omelet" ($5.25), filled with mushrooms, ham, bacon, tomato, potato and cheddar cheese. Add a small stack of blueberry pancakes ($2.75) or biscuits and gravy ($2.15), or choose from side items that range from kielbasa ($2.10) to grits (45 cents).

Lunch can be ordered all day, and the options are impressive. There's a full menu of "gourmet" salads, sandwiches, soups and quiches, along with daily specials that can be as fancy as fresh grilled fish (grouper $7.95, salmon $7.50).

Lunch can be ordered all day, and the options are impressive. There's a full menu of "gourmet" salads, sandwiches, soups and quiches, along with daily specials that can be as fancy as fresh grilled fish (grouper $7.95, salmon $7.50).

The slice of artichoke-broccoli quiche ($6.35) we ordered arrived with a fresh fruit salad. The thick quiche filling was topped with a layer of melted cheddar cheese – heavy but satisfying. The egg salad sandwich ($3.75) was a lighter item, but also amply loaded and dressed with crisp lettuce and juicy tomatoes.

The slice of artichoke-broccoli quiche ($6.35) we ordered arrived with a fresh fruit salad. The thick quiche filling was topped with a layer of melted cheddar cheese – heavy but satisfying. The egg salad sandwich ($3.75) was a lighter item, but also amply loaded and dressed with crisp lettuce and juicy tomatoes.

There's not enough space inside Shakers to satisfy their customers' demands, so they do a lot of takeout and catering business. Just go to the website, www.shakerscafe.com, for a listing of that day's specials, plus all the other details needed to place a mother of a takeout order. They handle mega lunch orders like clockwork, too.

Stylish Sanford soul-food joint sells a 1-pound burger that’ll knock your socks off, though affable proprietor Shantell Williams also perfectly executes chicken and waffles, fried flounder and fried okra. Some items, like a mac-and-cheese-topped portobello mushroom and fried Jamaican beef patties, are atypical but noteworthy nonetheless. Desserts change daily, but whatever Shantell’s got, get it.
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