"Nothing beats an American breakfast," says Mr. Tarek Kanso, the owner of local brunch spot Omelet Bar. Kanso would know: his extensive international travels after graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2005 allowed him to try his favorite meal of the day in a number of foreign countries, but nothing hit the spot like American-style bacon, eggs, waffles and, of course, omelets.
During Kanso's time at UCF he noticed a lack of dining options in the area: aside from one restaurant, there was nowhere to get your breakfast on. He looked into opening a breakfast restaurant with a friend, but upon further research they shelved the idea for a while. After working in the corporate world for a few years, Kanso grew tired of it and returned to Orlando to begin working on his dream restaurant. He'd seen the economic growth that was beginning to take place in Orlando during his time in college and saw a lot of potential in the area. After waiting three years to find the perfect location, Kanso opened Omelet Bar near UCF in January 2017.
The love and commitment to creative, high-quality food is obvious in Omelet Bar's menu. "I did a lot of research going into the restaurant business, looking not only at what was out there but at what was lacking," Kanso says. "At a lot of places you don't feel the soul in the food, it just feels like another fast food joint."
That's definitely not the case at Omelet Bar. With a commitment to fresh ingredients, from the New York strip steaks shaved fresh daily into their Philly Steak Omelet to the house made raspberry butter and bourbon syrup that comes with their Chicken & Waffle flight, you won't find a dish that tastes like another assembly-line egg and pancake combo meal at a chain restaurant. The fresh ingredients are met with fresh twists on breakfast classics, like the Southwestern Bowl (a Mexican-inspired scramble inside a bread bowl) and the Bostonian Omelet (a pepper jack cheese and mushroom creation topped with lobster bisque). The savory dishes aren't the only things worth sticking a fork in here. French Quarter beignets are melt-in-your-mouth delicious, with the perfect dusting of powdered sugar on top and fresh raspberry syrup on the side.
Omelet Bar's inventive nature doesn't stop at food. Kanso loves a good cocktail, and that love shines through in the restaurant's extensive selection of unique drinks. Many of the drinks are ambitious, like the chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker concoction titled "More Smore's Pwease," but the combination works surprisingly well as a 21-and-up treat. Patrons can go well beyond the typical mimosa or Bloody Mary order with Omelet Bar's drink menu.
Besides the dining options, Omelet Bar's got a lot going for it in terms of ambience. The open floor plan allows diners to see their food being made behind the bar, and the modern design is clean, well-lit and welcoming. Servers are well-versed in the menu's many items, helping diners find the best food and drink combinations for a next-level brunch. And Kanso takes the opinions and needs of his customers seriously, guaranteeing only the best for patrons of this local spot. "I personally persevere to do my best. I take everything seriously — my crew knows that," Kanso stresses. "If somebody isn't satisfied I sit down and try to fix it, even if it's only one person. If I see something on Facebook or Yelp, I reply to it, and my replies are genuine."
Rather than resting on the laurels of his success with just one Omelet Bar location, Tarek is looking to branch out and add an additional Omelet Bar to the Orlando area within the next year. Sticking true to his commitment to quality, Kanso is waiting to find just the right location. But once he gets the farm fresh eggs cracking in Omelet Bar's second spot, the possibilities (and omelet combinations) for this local business are practically limitless.