by Vanessa Naeson

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Known for its popular brunch and multitude of vegetarian and gluten free options, The Original Cafe Eleven is built to please. And please it does, providing a multitude of simple but always fresh foods packed with flavor.

Having been in operation for 12 years, the establishment changed hands three years ago, and today’s owners are furthering the restaurant’s good reputation. “We loved the fact that there was no fryer on premise and all the sauces, dressings, and food was made on site,” says co-owner Carol Ann Curley. This, she says, allows them to focus on good food quickly.

While not focused solely on local or organic ingredients out of fear that the resulting high prices would leave many customers out, Curley instead chooses to focus on freshness. “It’s obvious that the flavor from our fresh product keeps our guests coming back,” she explains. “Fresh for us means less salt, chemicals, and packaging waste.”

Small but meaningful, Cafe Eleven also keeps an up-to-date photo collection of their fare, allowing customers to peruse their offerings. This often leaves mouths watering. “There are many that tell us they came in after seeing an item and had to try us based on the photos alone,” says Curley. The website has been linked to their growth and success, and they now also offer catering.

Over the years, they’ve also made a variety of simple changes, all of which have added to an increasingly satisfactory customer experience. Menu changes, a revamped happy hour and staff additions are minor things that Curley says have made large impacts, as they have “fit the need of the customer at just the right time.”However, their popularity seems to stem from many things besides Curley’s priority of “getting fresh food into the hands of tourists and locals.” While their breakfast seems to be sought after, it’d be remiss to not mention their extensive lunch, dinner and dessert menu, their beer and wine menu, and their varieties of smoothies and bubble teas.

You can even check out one of the concerts they host, or relax on their pet friendly patio located on St. Augustine beach, they’re one of the few restaurants in the area that will allow you to dine with your dog outside. Few other places will offer you these combinations. Few other places will cook both a breakfast buffet and a flounder taco. But Cafe Eleven is not your average restaurant. And at Cafe Eleven, there really is something for everyone to enjoy.

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