RIVERVIEW — For Kevin and Keith Mahen, part of growing up in central Pennsylvania meant spending winters skiing Camelback Mountain in the Poconos, and enjoying year-round comfort food found in various local diners throughout the region.
The brothers enjoyed walking in and smelling the homemade food in the air, seeing straight back to the kitchen and hearing the clanging of pots and pans. They didn't mind if the occasional meal was served with plasticware on chipped tables featuring worn chairs.
That's the basis for the food venture they brought to the Orlando area 12 years ago, creating a moniker from the beginning of their first names. Keke's Breakfast Café (pronounced Key-Keys). After opening 18 Orlando breakfast eateries and expanding into the Tampa area in 2014, a new location opened late last year in Riverview.
"The northeast diner was really in the back of our mind when we came down here," Kevin Mahen said, noting all KeKe's have granite table tops, ceramic tiles and actual silverware. "We're not a sausage biscuit, gravy and grits kind of place. We want to take the quality food, fresh made to order products and dress it up a little bit and give it a nicer atmosphere than what you might find at a northeast diner."
KeKe's is the eighth business venture the siblings have undertaken after toiling in the mortgage, land development and title company industries among others. Other Hillsborough County locations, owned and operated by Jordan and Ashley Swan who opened the area's fist KeKe's in Carrollwood four years ago, are under construction or leases in South Tampa, Temple Terrance and Lutz.
The brothers felt this kind of diner experience was lacking among local competitors.
"This is our spin on it," said Kevin, who enjoyed the waffles topped with strawberries and whip cream. "It's paying dividends everywhere we go."
KeKe's sits on the opposite end of the relatively new Publix shopping center that also includes LA Nails, Marco's Pizza, Mathnasium and Hair Cuttery among others located at 11430 U.S. 301 on the corner of Symmes Road. The café is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
You can create a combo for $8.99 - $9.99 that includes your choice of pancakes/French toast/waffles and two eggs or home fries along with your choice of bacon/sausage/ham/toast/tomatoes. Kevin also suggests omelets "cooked the way they used to be" with cracked eggs and no frying pan and home fries made with real red skin potatoes "the way things are done up (north)."
When you sit in one of the 189 seats, be prepared to hear some easy listening classic instrumental tunes such as Patsy Cline's I Fall to Pieces and How Sweet It Is by Marvin Gaye piped throughout the cafe. Visit kekes.com for the menu and more.
Classic car company
opens new showroom
Gateway Classic Cars invites you to a celebration marking the opening of its new showroom in Ruskin on Saturday (Feb. 24).
Visit 351 30th St. NE between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Donuts and coffee will be offered for the first two hours and lunch will be served starting at 11 a.m.
A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for noon to honor the sixth area location.
Call (813) 645-6200 or visit gatewayclassiccars.com/location/TPA to see some of the more than 125 classic, antique, collectible, custom and exotic cars on display in the new 40,000 square feet showroom.
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If you can't make the grand opening celebration, Gateway Classic Cars hosts a cars and coffee event the last Saturday of every month.
See the newest arrivals for free or bring your classic car in if you are interested in consignment.
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