New owners Ali and Nadine Ismail work together from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. seven days a week at Benedicts Restaurant.
They have have three children and have been married for 14 years.
When asked how they do it, Nadine responds, “We just get along,” and Ali matter-of-factly adds with a contagious smile, “She runs the front. I run the back.”
Benedicts is tucked in the back of Causeway Plaza. The front porch is dog friendly and the owners just added gelato to the menu so that on hot afternoons visitors from Honeymoon Island can enjoy a cool sweet treat.
The owners have already renovated the space and expanded the breakfast and lunch menu options.
"The namesake eggs Benedict is still the favorite, but we have lots of options," Ali said.
The couple met at a family wedding in Ohio. They later married and worked together at Ali’s restaurant Brisket in Ottowa, Ontario.
Eventually Nadine wanted to be closer to her family in Ohio; so in 2001 they decided to open Brisket in the small town of Oregon, OH. They added a second location a few years later.
But when the economy turned and Ohio began suffering more than other places in the country, the Ismails relocated. In 2010, they moved with their children, a girl and twin boys, to Palm Harbor.
They searched the area looking for the perfect spot to continue as restaurateurs, and loved the location of Benedicts. The restaurant has been open since 1989 but it’s gone through several owners in the last few years. The Ismails took it over on Valentine’s Day 2011.
Benedicts was badly in need of renovation, the walls were covered floor to ceiling with old pictures and yellowing wallpaper. The décor was outdated and dirty. Knowing the restaurant had potential, but not wanting to shut it down to renovate, they updated the space after lunch each afternoon.
“Our regular customers liked watching it change before their eyes, but it was a lot of work,” Nadine Ismail said of the new beachy decor. “We have painted the walls, hung local art for sale, and a local artist created a mural inside the front of the restaurant. Customers could not even believe it was the same place. Sometimes they walk in, look around, walk back out and look at the sign to see if they are in the right place.”
"Everything is homemade: the soups, the bread, the muffins. It is great food,” Ali said.
Johnny Passaro, a regular lunch customer agrees, “My only complaint is that they serve too much delicious food,” he said.
(Patch readers chose Benedicts the best breakfast "dive" in Dunedin in a recent poll.)
Want to go?
- Where: Benedicts Restaurant, 2676 Bayshore Blvd (on the northwest corner of Alternate 19 and Curlew Road)
- Contact: 727-736-1600
- Hours: Daily, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.