Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

A Friendly Diner in the Friendly City

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

A Friendly Diner in the Friendly City

Article excerpt

Proud Bradentonians refer to their town as the Friendly City, and a visit to Robin's Downtown Cafe is a solid primer on why.

Situated just a block or so from the Manatee County Courthouse, along the charming little stretch of Old Main Street that also hosts the Bradenton farmers' market, Robin's is the kind of homey diner you imagine hasn't changed in decades, a place where there's nary a mention of arugula and where nothing on the menu costs more than a Hamilton. Tan patio-style chairs stand around peach-colored tables arranged around the restaurant's narrow main room. Vertical light- lime boards decorate the bottom half of the walls that run along the left and right sides of the space; the top halves are painted a calming baby blue. Those vacation-condo hues are echoed in the pastel-heavy paintings that dot the walls, depicting sea turtles, shells and sunbathing ladies.

My companion, Adam, moved his legal practice to an office right down the street in 2009. He's at Robin's often, either for an inexpensive lunch, or if he's in the mood for breakfast while perusing the paper. He raves about the staff, which he swears hasn't changed in the four years since he became a regular. They're always happy to see him, he swears.

Given the proximity to the courthouse, lawyers are a common sight at Robin's, as are jurors, distinguishable, Adam tells me, by the stickers they're asked to wear. But it's not just a one-industry eatery: Business folks of all stripes amble in and snag tables while Adam and I chat about the genius of Bradenton band Have Gun, Will Travel and the joys of writing.

The menu is largely what you'd expect: three-egg omelets ($5.75- $7.95); biscuit-, croissant- and English muffin-based breakfast sandwiches ($2.75-$4.50); salads ($4.25-$7.50); and a number of classic sandwiches ($3.75-$7.95). And that's not even counting the specials, helpfully laid out on a wipe board set up out front. …

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