When Sue and Nick Randall bought their second Punta Gorda restaurant two years ago, they didn’t anticipate serving three meals a day there.

As a matter of fact, La Fiorentina, named after a restaurant the two used to frequent in their native England while dating decades ago, actually translates to The Porterhouse. It’s an especially fitting name for their Italian steakhouse here, and indeed, since they first opened, the steaks and pasta dishes have been a big hit with their customers.

But the couple also owns a lot next door to their restaurant, and in anticipation of building another restaurant there, decided to go ahead and jump into morning meals at La Fiorentina.

“We just opened for breakfast a few weeks ago,” Sue said. “We have all the usuals, like frittatas and eggs benedicts, but there are some special ones, too.”

These aren’t your grandmother’s eggs benedicts, not that there is anything wrong with them. These just have a little something extra. In addition to the traditional soft poached egg, the New Yorker consists of smoked salmon, tomato, capers, arugula and a dill hollandaise sauce. The Steakhouse includes a filet mignon, bearnaise sauce and applewood-smoked bacon.

“But the piece de resistance is the Breakfast Pizza,” Sue said. “It has sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon and cheese, and then they pop it into the oven.”

It’s one thing for a restaurant kitchen to serve both a lunch and a dinner menu, but it’s quite a challenge to take on an additional breakfast menu. The foods are, for the most part, very different, so when Sue and Nick decided to install breakfast at La Fiorentina, they turned to their trusted staff members to help them create the perfect menu.

Along with their Chef, Chris DiNunno, they collected and began to perfect some of the suggestions that were submitted.

“It’s a big switch, and we wanted all the staff to be invested in it, so they came up with some great ideas,” Sue said. “We got Steven’s Stromboli, which is eggs, bacon, fontina cheese, mushrooms and spinach wrapped in pizza crust, Seafood Frittata Jonathan (a lobster, shrimp and scalloped egg frittata, with spinach, mushrooms and fontina) and Benny’s Benedict, with pancetta, fresh mozzarella, an heirloom tomato and basil on a ciabatta roll.”

Breakfast at La Fiorentina is served seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., while lunch is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and orders can be placed for dinner menu items from 11 a.m. to close.

Sue says that given the drastic changes that were required for the restaurant to take on serving breakfast, she’s been pleasantly surprised with the reception that decision has received in the Punta Gorda community.

“We have had rave reviews, and what I’ve been reading from posters on our Facebook page has blown my mind,” she said. “It was a whole new menu for the kitchen, but the quality of the food they are turning out is phenomenal.”

La Fiorentina is located at 10361 Tamiami Trail, in Punta Gorda, and is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, visit the website at www.thefiorentina.com or call 941-639-6500.

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