I was always a big fan of All American Cafe, especially when it was in its original digs, a small shacklike building on the corner of Fern Creek Avenue and Kaley Street. It was a small space — there were more tables outside on the patio with its torn green outdoor carpeting than there were inside, but that was part of the charm.
And when, after many years there, All American moved down the street and around the corner to a larger space — a former Beef O-Brady’s — it seemed like a good thing. But for who knows why, it just wasn’t the same. Maybe it was the bigger space, maybe it was that it no longer had any outdoor dining at all (people with doggies were definitely disappointed) or maybe there were other factors. It didn’t work out, and last year it closed.
But a few months ago, a deal was struck with another restaurant in the same strip mall, which is anchored by a Winn-Dixie at the corner of Bumby Avenue, to allow All American Cafe, or at least its breakfast, to live on.
Holy Smoke BBQ, the meat smoker that had its own shaky opening not very long before, offered to take on the All American morning crew. Holy Smoke served only lunch and dinner, so the kitchen was available for the morning meal. Technically, the All American staff is employed by Holy Smoke, but the cooks, the morning manager and even the servers will be familiar to All American devotees.
The food will be familiar, too.
I stopped in recently to give it a try. We were served by a woman who initially joked with us that it was her first day waiting tables but who in fact came along with the All American team. Her easy-going and familiar (but not in a creepy way) style was a fresh breath of air.
The buffet — an addition to the old All American Cafe, back on Fern Creek Avenue, added after initial breakfast success to serve more people — is available here, with bacon, sausage and biscuits, scrambled eggs and a couple of other favorites. I was never a big fan of the buffet — too tempted to eat too much.
Instead, I ordered a simple plate of eggs, over easy, with ham. The ham was served as two very large and thick slices. The eggs were cooked perfectly.
One of my guests had an omelet, chockfull of peppers and cheese, accompanied by a side order of a fluffy pancake. Another companion ordered the French toast, just eggy enough on the outside and fried to a delightful brown, then sprinkled with powdered sugar.
The western style decor and picnicky booths of Holy Smoke are a fitting ambience. The restaurant does, technically, have outdoor seating, in the front of the space, which used to be an Eckerd drug store. But it isn’t very appealing. Most diners, at least those without doggies, will be better off indoors.
I think this was a brilliant move on the part of Holy Smoke. And, by the way, I learned at my breakfast that the restaurant has recently taken on another failed neighbor, Mike’s Catfish. Perhaps that’s why the website now says Holy SmokeBBQ & Seafood. Whatever, I’m thinking that the collaboration of the new and the experienced will benefit everyone, especially the guests.
Holy Smoke BBQ & Seafood is at 3000 Curry Ford Road, Orlando. Breakfast is served daily (lunch and dinner, too). Here is a link to holysmokebbq.us (currently the breakfast menu is not available online). The phone number is 407-730-3114.