by David Chapman
Yeast might make the bread rise at the Village Bread Cafe, but it’s the dough that’s making the business succeed — and the impetus for a near-future expansion.
The restaurant is actually a separate enterprise from its adjacent, yet similarly named Village Bread & Bagels neighbor — the wholesale baking factory where the baked goods originate and are distributed to more than 500 area vendors.
Both are owned by Vincens Jubani, but it’s two others who run the restaurant business that’s currently on the rise when others are struggling.
“We’re doing very well,” said Jim Anderson, who manages the restaurant with his wife, Aleta.
The establishment serves both breakfast and lunch and doesn’t have to go far to receive its breads, muffins, pastries and other baked goods. The factory supplies it all, which is part of the fresh appeal — and approach — Anderson said is bringing in hungry customers.
“We get a lot of people coming in (for breakfast and lunch) from Downtown, Baymeadows and a lot of the business parks,” said Anderson.
The venue has grown into a popular enough spot that Anderson uses an employee to shuttle people in-and-out from the back of the parking lot via golf cart to make it easier on customers. The speedy service isn’t limited to the food ferry, either, as Anderson’s goal is to get customers their meal within five minutes of ordering. But, in the short time they do wait for their sandwiches, salads and soups, customers can enjoy complimentary fresh bread and dipping oil.
If things go accordingly, the Phillips Highway location might not be as packed within the coming year thanks to the restaurant’s own success.
“Within a year, I see us having two to three more locations,” said Anderson. “There’s a need and market for it out there.”
He’s looked at different locations in San Marco, the Beaches and Downtown around the new courthouse, but no decisions are final.
“I don’t know where and when yet, but we’ll do it at the right time and have the right demographics,” said Anderson.
Expansions would mean at least an additional 10 jobs per location, as the food preparation time and quality along with high standards of customer service are priorities like they are at the original location — the combination that has led to success thus far.
“It’s a formula that works,” he said.
It’s equated to success, but the Andersons aren’t newcomers to the bread business as they owned the Mandarin Bakery before selling it to a now-familiar face: Jubani.
The business relationship eventually led to the new managerial relationship seen by restaurant patrons today.
“We (Andersons and Jubani) really have a great relationship,” said Anderson.
While the day-to-day operations of Village Bread Cafe and its future expansions could be considered taxing, the business isn’t one Anderson will shy away from any time soon.
“I wouldn’t be doing it if I wasn’t happy,” he said, smiling.
Meaty fast facts
The meats used on the sandwiches at Village Bread Cafe are fresh and cooked each morning. The amount the establishment goes through each week might surprise you, though.
• Chicken breast: 80-100 pounds
• Turkey breast: 60-80 pounds
• Black forest ham: 60-80 pounds