BROOKSVILLE — If the name doesn’t imply a classic country dining experience, certainly the red and white checkerboard tablecloths and overflow of country-style knickknacks will. That is the ambiance that Christine and James Park purchased six years ago as the second owners of Rooster’s Cafe. It was already established and working when Christine walked into Roosters Cafe for the first time, if a crowded Saturday in June was any indication. And the couple from Texas, with family in Atlanta, had no interest in changing what wasn’t broken.
They actually found the country-style eatery online while looking to purchase a restaurant away from the rural surroundings they’d been unable to conquer in Texas. The Lone Star State town was isolated and traffic wasn’t steady, Christine said.
That’s why they were excited when James uncovered the restaurant in an ad. Christine booked a flight to Tampa after speaking with the owner. She fell in love with the charm of the eatery, which had won the hearts of locals and snowbirds alike. The decor was almost entirely supported by an assortment of rooster figurines of all sizes and shapes, purchased by customers.
“It worked out perfect,” she said. “Me and my husband love country areas.”
Once the purchase was final, the Parks kept the ambiance at the restaurant on West Jefferson Street nearly the same.
For customers, walking in to the cafe only heightens their senses since the kitchen meets them at the front door. Mouth-watering aromas of fresh sizzling breakfast meats, eggs, and biscuits and gravy filter through as casual, steady conversation can be heard among the diners.
And that’s only breakfast. Roosters has a strong menu for lunch as well, offering an assortment of handcrafted salads, sandwiches, and plates made fresh to order. They are open daily for breakfast and lunch but offer a weekly Friday Fish dinner with an assortment of fresh wild caught seafood favorites.
Costumers of Roosters Café share a preference for fresh, quality foods delivered in a friendly environment. Christine and James know many of their customers by name. They really are part of a family.
Many customers are seasonal, she said, who come back in the fall to resume their regular visits. So summertime is traditionally quieter. But weekends are almost always busy, which make up for slower weekdays.
And she has lost a few. “About 90 percent of my customers are seniors,” she said.
Roosters Café specializes in home-cooked, traditional meals that please most pallets. Signature favorites include their Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and home-cooked traditional favorites like meatloaf, liver and onions, and center cut pork chops.
But Roosters Café is best known for their breakfast fair, which includes everything from bulging omelets overflowing with bacon, ham and sausage; home-style biscuits and sausage gravy with chunks of sausage; and fluffy pancakes and mouth-watering skillets.
Christine added a selection of fresh homemade waffles, crispy and tender with an assortment of specialty toppings including fresh fruits, bacon and even chocolate.
“It’s only been about three months,” she said. “And they are doing very well.”
Jim Branum, a resident of the of the 55-plus Clover Leaf Farms mobile home community enjoyed the club sandwich so much, he returned the following day and ordered it again. It’s so big that he knew when he placed his order that he’d need a box.
He stopped in quick for lunch before heading home to rest up a bit. Later that night he’d be heading to Michigan. And he’d finish the rest of his sandwich on the road.
“This is one of my favorite places when I’m here,” he said.
Roosters Cafe is open from 6:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday through Thursday and 6:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Fridays, with all you can eat fish served 2-7 p.m.
Specials are offered daily.