“I love that it’s close to I-75, that we have great parking, that we have great catering potential,” said Cynthia Swan, the restaurant’s general manager, who grew up in Lakeland and lived also in Sarasota, Bradenton, Valrico and Washington, D.C. “You can see us from the road and we just pop and stand out.”
The Corner Bakery Cafe shares space in the strip section of Regency Square that houses Moe’s Southwest Grill and Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Across the parking lot, to the west, is a standalone Starbucks.
“We’re your breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and catering” establishment, Swan said of the cafe’s offerings. “We can do business events and charity events. We love hosting community events and we love being a big part of the community.”
For its soft grand opening the cafe collected donations for the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO), which provides food, clothing and household items for people in the Greater Brandon area in emergency situations.
For Swan, her association with the restaurant chain took root in Maryland, after she visited a cafe in Gaithersburg.
“I ate there and I was looking around the environment and I liked what I saw,” she said. “I liked the menu. I was up to the challenge of running the retail side and catering side so I decided to apply.”
Working with corporate in the Maryland and District of Columbia area, Swan said she longed for Florida’s warmth and so, too, her husband, who had lived in the Tampa Bay area as well.
When news came of the anticipated Brandon opening, “I was just so excited I can’t even explain it,” Swan said. “I loved my job and I didn’t want to leave Corner Bakery Cafe. I was packing the day I heard about it, their plans” to open a cafe in Brandon.
The lure of Brandon is a strong one, she added.
“I like that we are close to a big city but not in it,” she said. “We’re still close to the beach, still close to the theme parks.”
At the cafe, she added, “We have pictures of Brandon and the Tampa area on the walls because we love to be a part of the community.”
As for what’s on the menu, everything from “breakfast pastries to eggs and pancakes and all the way down to chicken dinner for an affordable price,” Swan said.
For catering, there is a refrigerated van, she added, “to make sure the product gets there fresh.”
Four registers are manned to take orders and there is a dedicated area for online and call-ahead orders.
Popular menu items include, for breakfast, the Anaheim Scrambler, a scrambled-egg dish with applewood bacon, tomatoes, green onions and cheddar cheese, topped with avocado. Popular for lunch, Swan added, is the Chicken Pesto sandwich on ciabatta ficelle and the chicken Pomodori sourdough panini, with all-natural chicken, fresh basil and spinach, oven-roasted tomatoes, provolone cheese and pesto mayo.
“We’re famous for our paninis,” Swan said.
As for nighttime dining, she added, “I really like our new chicken dinners, including spinach and bacon, parmesan-crusted and lemon-caper chicken.”
The menu also includes signature and specialty salads, soups and chili, pastas, oatmeals, yogurts, pastries, fresh-baked cookies and four types of roasted coffee: Baker’s Blend, Sumatra Decaf, Hazelnut Cream and Cafe Europa.
The Corner Bakery Cafe is open 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday. Sunday hours are from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Visit its website to sign up for eCafe, “your VIP pass to tasting what’s new,” and to receive special offers. The Brandon location is at 2326 West Brandon Blvd. Call: 813-982-3073.