Breakfast and lunch are big on comfort foods at the Outlet Restaurant for people staying at the next-door waterfront Innlet or, better yet, living on Gasparilla Island.
Chef Mark Caron's philosophy is to serve great foods fast and friendly. The Augusta, Maine, native has been running the Outlet for more than half of his nearly two decades as a Gasparilla Inn & Club employee. The Outlet, an affiliate of the Inn, opened in the mid-1990s, said General Manager Jack Damioli.
All decking and dock areas have been revamped at the Outlet doubling its 44-seat capacity. A covered boat slip is just off the Outlet's outdoor seating area where patrons can watch dolphins and manatees cavort and cruise, respectively.
Outlet Chef Mark Caron is completing his 19th season with the Gasparilla Inn & Club.
'The Outlet is a unique facility," Damioli said.
Recent renovations also include a bigger walk-in cooler - double the size of the previous cooler - and a storage shed, also doubled in size.
"The new equipment here in the kitchen will help with that fast thing (speedy service)," Chef Caron said.
Who: Chef Mark Caron, 45
What: breakfast and lunch "comfort foods"
Where: 1251 12th St. E, Boca Grande
When: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily with breakfast any time
Occupation: 19th season with Gasparilla Inn & Club, 13th season as chef at the Outlet Restaurant supervising 12 employees
Contact: (941) 964-4610, takeout available
What is the hot dish these days on the Outlet menu?
" The things people like here is regular great food," Caron said. "It doesn't have to be extremely fancy but it's really good, homestyle cooking. My cooking style is simple, good food."
The Outlet is the most low-key place to eat on the island in part because of its out-of-the-way location on the waterfront.
"We'll have somebody come this year, who's been coming to the island for 20 years, say they didn't know we were here," Caron said. "That will happen. But every year it's less and less as we get better known."
Breakfast ranges from the $6.75 for two eggs any style to $8.75 omelets of all kinds to $16 for an 8 ounce steak and home fries.
Buttermilk pancakes range from $4.05 for a plate-covering pancake to $7.40 for a tall stack trio with a Belgian waffle or French toast for $8.50.
Other breakfast favorites: custom breakfast sandwiches, country style sausage gravy or creamed chipped beef, Norwegian smoked salmon and toasted bagel.
Lunch offers a range of sandwich, soup and salad combos for under $14.