MANATEE -- Jennifer Jacob missed being her own boss.
After shuttering Jennifer's Cafe in the Bradenton Financial Center early last year, Jacob tried waiting tables and working for other people, but it didn't feel the same.
"This is what I'd love to do for the rest of my life," Jacob said before running to pick up an order. "I love it."
Now Jacob and her husband, Carlos Cintron, have reopened Jennifer's Cafe at 5606 14th St. W., in a strip mall south of Joyland and Value Pawn.
They've only been open for about two weeks and are hoping their regulars find them again, as well as new customers.
Jennifer's Cafe is known for its fresh food, generous portions at an affordable price and employees with a smile.
"We don't use anything out of a Sysco truck," Jacob said. "We like to batter our own stuff. We like it to be fresh and think it's better that way. We don't add things to our eggs. When you get an egg, it's an egg."
A few new items have been added to the menu, but the food cooked by her husband is pretty much the same as her previous location, she said, including the aloha salad, which includes barbecue chicken with pineapple.
The restaurant, now on a busier road, has expanded its hours to attract more diners. The cafe is now open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., seven days a week. A bar is planning to open next door this year, which could prompt dinner service in the future, Jacob added.
Jennifer's Cafe downtown location was closed Saturdays and had difficulty attracting enough traffic to their restaurant, she said.
When the cafe first started downtown, the Bradenton Financial Center was half filled with businesses that could support it, but when they decided to close the doors, only about 20 percent of the building was full, she said. Downtown had other issues, she added, but did not want to specify what they were. Now Soma Creekside is in the former space for Jennifer's Cafe.
"We did OK, we did good there, but we weren't on 12th Street," Jacob said. "We were a little off the beaten path."
But Jacob hasn't turned her back on Bradenton. The restaurant is filled with historical photos of Bradenton and Manatee County, including some part of a tree mural.
When the couple took over an existing cafe inside the Bradenton Financial Center, she inherited a customer base. Now she has to rebuild her following. Her cafe is much different from B-Town Burgers & BBQ, the previous 14th Street tenant.
The signs out front were enough to prompt the Van Dynes to swing by for lunch Tuesday afternoon.
"It's a really clean, little place," Pat Van Dyne said, admiring the old photos.
For more information about Jennifer's Cafe, call 941-251-6932.
Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.