Food & Drink

He was working in Manhattan restaurant on 9/11. Now he has restaurant of his own in Bradenton

Long before he opened a restaurant in Bradenton, Caesar Montes was working in a midtown Manhattan restaurant during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

At first, it was not clear what happened at the World Trade Center, but Montes knew that it had to be catastrophic.

“People were crying, and saying the Twin Towers had been hit by an airplane. I heard a woman say she had relatives working there. Then the police came into the building and told everyone to get out,” Montes said.

The subway was closed and there was no transportation available. Montes joined people walking and running to get out of Manhattan. He headed for Queens, where he lived with wife Nancy.

Nancy Montes saw the TV reports of the attacks. Without a cell phone or any way to communicate with Caesar, all she could do was pray that he was OK.

It seemed like an eternity before he arrived home.

“It took me two hours to get home, running. I don’t know how long it took for the people who were walking,” he said.

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Caesar and Nancy Montes recently opened Caesar’s Breakfast Cafe at 1808 Cortez Road W., Bradenton, in the All Star Plaza. James A. Jones Jr.

The country went into shock and mourning for those killed in the attacks, but Montes also saw Americans pull together and refuse to be intimidated by terrorism.

“It makes me so proud of this country. If you are a hard-working person, this country gives you so many opportunities. I am so thankful to this country for opening the door for me to come here,” he said.

Montes and Nancy are immigrants. She is from Peru and he is from Mexico.

He came to the Bradenton area 15 years ago at the invitation of a friend who opened a restaurant here.

“I called my wife and said you’re going to love Florida. Everything is so green and beautiful. The people are friendly and say ‘hello’ and ‘good morning.’ It’s amazing,” Caesar said.

After years working for others in all kinds of restaurants, the couple decided it was time to open one of their own.

Opening Caesar’s Breakfast Cafe last week at 1808 Cortez Road W. represents the realization of the American dream for them and their two daughters.

“I have been working about 15 years here in the restaurant business and decided I wanted to open my own. A lot of people like breakfast and that’s the most important meal,” he said.

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Although Caesar’s Breakfast Cafe has just opened at 1808 Cortez Road W., Bradenton, it is already attracting regulars with its friendly service and large, tasty portions. James A. Jones Jr.

Caesar handles the chef duties, while Nancy works the front of the restaurant.

Caesar’s Breakfast Cafe, a 50-seat restaurant located in the All Star Plaza, serves breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. seven days a week.

Breakfast meals start at $3.99 for one egg with bacon, ham or sausage. Also on the breakfast menu are biscuits and gravy, breakfast platters, omelets, sandwiches, pancakes, waffles and French toast.

The lunch menu includes appetizers, salads, soups and combos, sandwiches, subs, wraps and burgers.

Even though the restaurant is new, Caesar’s already has begun attracting a cast of regulars.

Harold Loper was back for the second time Tuesday and had the Caesar Omelet (fresh jalapenos, bacon, onion, tomato and cheddar cheese) for $9.

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Harold Loper prepares to dig into a Caesar Omelet at Caesar’s Breakfast Cafe, 1808 Cortez Road W., Bradenton, in the All Star Plaza. James A. Jones Jr.

“We’re getting regulars already,” said Cara Cunningham, who heads up the wait staff. “A lady came in at 6:55 and had the Eggs Benedict and said it was the best she has had.”

The customers appreciate the friendliness of the staff, the quality of the food and the large portions, she said.

Popular breakfast items include the Caesar Tropical (a choice of pancake, waffle or French toast served with bananas, strawberries, pineapple and coconut topped with whipped cream) for $7.99. and the homemade Chorizo Hash with two eggs, a hash brown, and onion topped with cheddar cheese for $9.50, Cunningham said.

Nancy and Caesar are optimistic about their restaurant’s prospects.

“You know what? I think God is with us,” Nancy said.

For more information, call 941-301-6878 or visit

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