HERNANDO BEACH –- Just in time for the snowbirds’ arrival in these warmer climes, a new waterside restaurant has opened in this coastal community. The Silver Dolphin & Country Store, which had its soft opening this summer, joins the four-year-old ZigZag Scallop eatery in Hernando Beach for gaze-on-the-water dining and cooked-to-order seafood dishes.
The Silver Dolphin, at 4036 Shoal Line Blvd., includes a store that owner Yann Milcendeau fills with original art -- teak driftwood sculptures and sea-themed metal casts that cost up to $999 –- along with tourist items from as low as $1.50.
Milcendeau established several restaurants in his adopted Maine, having emigrated at age 11 to America from Casablanca, Morocco.
Long Island native Scott Morono’s ZigZag Scallop, 4417 Calienta St., boasts dock-side dining adjacent to the local, moored commercial fishing fleet. Also outdoors, the restaurant features a strip of sandy faux beach furnished with Adirondack chairs, and pails and shovels for kiddie play.
Unique at ZigZag, Morono and his staff take Tuesdays off, “because others take Monday off,” he said. Instead, ZigZag designates the first weekday as “Burger Monday,” with eight varieties of burgers, specially priced, created by culinary-school trained chef Brian Arbeit.
Novel at Silver Dolphin: breakfast service seven days a week, not offered among 10 other local eateries. It’s not just two eggs over with toast, but eggs Benedict, a tropical fruit platter and other generous plates offered, if chosen, under a table umbrella in a lush garden at waterside.
Breakfast service, beginning 8 a.m. weekdays, and 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, is growing. On a recent Tuesday morning, hostess Taylor Craven greeted Butch Jones of Homosassa, “Welcome back, again.”
“We come here once or twice a week,” Jones said, often bringing Citrus County guests.
In what Milcendeau labels the “Secret Garden,” a Spring Hill duo sat with first-time Michigan snowbird Nancy Vandergilder.
“This is really neat,” Vandergilder said. The three chose a table overlooking the Gulf canal, where paddling turtles and darting fish sought handouts.
Silver Dolphin also offers weekend and Sunday afternoon musical entertainment.
“In Hernando Beach, everybody has it,” Milcendeau said, adding that if guests don’t care for one restaurant’s brand of music, they’ll move on to the next. “It’s kind of nice.”
Music also is a draw at ZigZag Scallop, with the week’s attractions announced prominently on outdoor signs.
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Silver Dolphin’s lengthy menu touts “home cooking at its finest.” ZigZag touts “cooked to order.” Both menus are heavy with seafood dishes, with nods to red and white meats, plus pasta.
“We do seafood like Maine,” Milcendeau said. “It’s a light batter, no corn flour.” Blackened or baked preparations are also offered.
The son of Yann and Jackie Milcendeau, Jason Micendeau, 41, is chef and manager. The younger man grew up in his father’s restaurant business “and learned the ropes A-to-Z.”
Yann Milcendeau details the secret to a successful restaurant: “People want something different. A restaurant owner has to be an architect, plumber, janitor, painter, electrician. At the end, if you know how to cook, it helps.”
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The Silver Dolphin is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Reservations are available by calling (352) 701-2152. The menu is posted on its website, silverdolphin.com.
ZigZag Scallop opens daily at 11:30 a.m. andcloses 9 p.m. Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; phone (352) 556-4860, menu on website zigzagscallop.com.