Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Business Update: Home-style good eats in Casselberry


The Coffee Shop counter

If you do a search for The Coffee Shop in Casselberry, Fla., you will read that it is "romantic, cozy, casual." Casual for sure, but a breakfast-and-lunch restaurant that is described as romantic? Cozy? Never heard of that!

But it is true. The Coffee Shop that opened last October in a little strip shopping center on 17/92 in Casselberry does have these qualities, plus great food!

Owner and chef Chaleur Bastos has been in the restaurant business for 28 years. He owned Rueben's Deli in Apopka and then Schiffman's Deli (named after his wife, Judy Schiffman) at SR 436 and Hunt Club Blvd. Most recently he ran The Coffee Shop on Rte. 50, but he decided to close that shop and reopen in Casselberry with the same name.

This isn't a Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts type of coffee shop. There aren't people sitting with their noses buried in their laptops drinking a latte or a line of customers waiting to order at the counter. Instead, this is a step-a-little-bit-back-in-time type of restaurant, complete with seats at the counter and small tables. And it does have that cozy, casual atmosphere, complete with nostalgic (and romantic) music-a bit of Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble and even some French songs were playing when I visited.

And the food! It is like Mom's cooking. In fact, the logo on the business card is "Food Good as This, Only at Home, When Mama Cooks."

Chaleur acknowledged that the grammar isn't the best. But he picked it because of a Clark Gable movie.

"I don't remember the name of the movie, but Clark walks into a restaurant and asks 'What's having for dinner?' and the waiter answers 'Food good as this, only at home, when Mama cooks.'"

Bad grammar and all, the logo stuck.

Chaleur is quick to let it be known-and proud-that he is the cook in this restaurant. He is in the kitchen as much, if not more, as he is on the floor talking with customers.

Breakfast items include the usual egg variations, from "eggs as you like," to Eggs Benedict and omelets; pancakes, waffles and crepes. Chaleur especially likes the French toast-"Two slices of specially made bread just for us, grilled in our own cinnamon and egg batter." Yum.

Lunches include an array of soups, salads, sandwiches including Reubens-"The best in town," he said-hamburgers, Philly Cheesesteak, Texas Toast Grilled Cheese, Club and Chicken; but the piece de resistance in the menu are the House Specialties.

Heritage publisher, Jeff Gaeser, tries to eat lunch regularly at The Coffee Shop, and each time he tries a different House Specialty, which include pot roast, meatloaf, stuffed cabbage and other home-style meats, served with a mound of mashed potatoes smothered in a rich gravy and string beans.

Prices are reasonable from $3.95 to $9.95. You really can't do much better than that for a good home-cooked meal (unless you make it yourself at home).

The Coffee Shop is located at 4275 S. Highway 17-92, and is open Tuesday - Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed Mondays.


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