My but Keke’s Breakfast Cafe certainly has grown.
In just a little over 10 years it has grown from two Central Florida locations – first near the Mall at Millenia then on Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park – to a franchise with nearly 50 restaurants throughout the state.
It didn’t start out as Keke’s, you may remember. That first restaurant on Conroy Road was originally called Florida Waffle House, and that opened more like circa 2007. But of course that name was eventually challenged. So the owners, brothers Keith and Kevin Mahen, took their shared first two initials and cobbled them into Keke’s.
I hadn’t visited a Keke’s since 2010 when I reviewed the one on Fairbanks Avenue (which had previously been Bakely’s). So when I decided recently that I wanted a big breakfast, including pancakes, but not the cleanup (or the trouble), I gave a call to the location at Conway Avenue and Curry Ford Road in Orlando.
Actually, I first went online and discovered that Keke’s has an intuitive, easy to navigate ordering feature built into the website. But after making all my selections, I discovered that I was unable to specify curbside pickup. What’s more, there was no way to include a gratuity in the total amount.
So I gave a call and asked the pleasant young woman who answered if I could place my order over the phone. So I did. And then when I started reading her my credit card number, she said she was unable to take payment over the phone. The only way to prepay was to do it online.
But there’s no place to leave a tip, I told her. That’s fine, she said.
So I went back to the website, placed my order, gave my credit card info, then drove to the restaurant to pick it up with a cash tip in my trunk.
When I arrived, I called the restaurant’s number to let them know I was out front. Soon, a young woman – properly masked – came out with my order. I popped the trunk, asked her to place the food there and to take the cash.
It was a lot to go through, but I’m telling you those pancakes were worth it.
The order was a full stack of three dinner plate-sized hotcakes. I know they were as big as a dinner plate because that’s what I put them on. They were thick and fluffy and dutifully soaked up the butter and syrup I slathered on them. (I used my own butter and real maple syrup instead of the tubs of Smucker’s that were included in the order.)
The omelet was good, too, even if it wasn’t the one I had ordered. I had specified the sausage and cheese omelet, made with slices of sausage links and white American cheese, and that’s what was on the confirmation email I received after I placed my order. But what I got instead was apparently the western omelet, with bits of ham, onions and lots of green peppers. Not what I ordered but a well executed omelet nonetheless. And I really liked the peppery home fries that accompanied it. The wheat toast didn’t fare too well in the steamy confines of the foam clamshell.
When I wrote my original review of Keke’s in 2010, the only niggle I had was with the coffee mugs, which were more square than they were round. Difficult to drink from. I don’t know if that has changed, but I enjoyed sipping my coffee from my own mug while I enjoyed the very good breakfast.
Keke’s Breakfast Cafe has several locations and serves breakfast and lunch daily. Check website for address and phone details.