LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Sophie and Joel Henderson opened Scrambled last year to fill the morning and afternoon hours for Lakewood Ranch diners. Now they're hoping to conquer the dinner hour, too.
Scrambled, 1857 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., offers all-day breakfast with lunch options available after 11 a.m. The Hendersons always enjoyed going out for breakfast together and found themselves driving all over Manatee County to find a place to go Sunday mornings.
"There was nothing in this corner over here and we just thought, 'well here we are again,'" Joel said. "If the timing's right and there isn't anything like that in the area, let's go for it." Joel, 36, went to the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago and wanted to expand his creativity beyond country club kitchens, where he spent a decade of his career.
Joel and Sophie, 34, lived in Naples previously and while Joel enjoyed the experience he had at country clubs there, he had a hard time finding a place to play golf for a reasonable price. And more importantly, Joel finds customers in the Bradenton-Sarasota area prefer a different dining experience.
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"People in this area seem to embrace the non-chain restaurants more so than they do down there," Joel said.
Joel wakes up somewhere between 3 and 4 a.m. to prepare food for the day, Sophie said, and the couple focuses on using locally sourced ingredients. Menus are adapted to accommodate seasonal ingredients and the couple uses fruits and vegetables from O'Brien Family Farms
on East State Road 64.
Scrambled's dinner menu will focus on seafood, Joel said. He learned what customers want from experience hosting past dinners.
"I had a nice double cut bone-in pork chop and a nice 8-ounce beef tenderloin and a nice bone-in chicken breast," Joel said. "I pretty much ended up eating all of those because everyone ate fish." For Scrambled's dinner menu, Joel wants to offer five or six fish dishes, a steak option and a plate featuring chicken. He also wants to see how prime rib fares with Scrambled customers.
There's a certain level of satisfaction a chef gets from preparing dinner, Sophie said, and Joel has missed it while serving just breakfast and lunch.
"He misses doing high-end food," Sophie said. "That's why we want to open for dinner; he misses that aspect of cooking."
The Hendersons are waiting on approval for a beer and wine license and will pair a few varieties of red and white wine with the dinner menu. A small variety of beers will also be available. Scrambled is legally approved to seat 70 people, but Joel said he prefers to keep it smaller and usually has 50 seats in the restaurant.
"I have 57 chairs; honestly, I'd rather just have 50 than squeeze the other seven people in," he said. With 70 seats, "you would be literally sitting in someone else's lap. I'm not a big fan of New York-style bench seating."
The restaurant's namesake comes from the "scrambles," one of Joel's dishes. The Italian scramble, for example, includes Capicola ham, tomato, roasted red pepper, caramelized onion, spinach and mozzarella tossed with home fries and topped with two eggs any style. Customers will also find a selection of omelettes and other traditional breakfast foods as well as salads and burgers.
Janelle O'Dea, business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095 or follow her on Twitter@jayohday.