When it comes to running a restaurant, Abraham Bedell almost had done it all.
The Dallas native had been a busboy, a host, a bartender, a server, a manager and a general manager at restaurants ranging from fine dining to casual, at concepts from Asian to Mexican and American, among others.
“I tried to work with as many high-end chefs as I could,” Bedell said.
He never had been an owner, though. That changed May 2, when Abraham and his wife, Elicia Bedell, opened Waffle Monkey, a new breakfast spot at 27975 Old 41 Road, Suite 106, at the northeast corner of Old 41 and Bonita Beach Road in Bonita Springs.
Elicia Bedell left her job as a real estate agent to focus on the restaurant.
Waffle Monkey specializes in serving warm waffles with varieties of toppings, including a proprietary recipe of maple syrup sourced from Vermont.
The Bedells, who have two children, have been coffee aficionados for the past decade, which means fresh-roasted coffee from their espresso machine factors into the mix as well.
“You’ve got to love waffles, first,” Abraham Bedell said. “… It’s a great concept. It’s delicious waffles, great coffee. We’re parents. We’ve lived off of coffee for the last 10 years of our lives.”
The Waffle Monkey concept originated in Tamarindo, Guanacaste on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. Jacob and Renae Cook opened that one and the second one in George Town in Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands.
The Cooks and the Bedells have a 50-50 partnership on the Bonita Springs location.
Most waffles cost $12 to $15, and the restaurant, which has about 15 employees, is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
“We wanted to go home without working into the wee hours of the night,” Abraham Bedell said. “We wanted to move to Florida where we could see the water, and we didn’t want to wait until we retired to do it.”
Bedell tended bar for a few months at Ocean Prime in downtown Naples, while Elicia sold residential real estate, as they waited for everything to fall into place in opening Waffle Monkey.
Once the Bedells better establish the new restaurant, they hope to expand with more locations in Southwest Florida.
“It’s a passion project for everybody,” Abraham Bedell said. “You have this little area that has turned into a destination.”
He noted his two favorite items on the menu.
“The Waffle Monkey is my favorite. It’s bananas, coconut and honey on top of a Belgian-style waffle,” he said. “I also love the egg and bacon. It’s your standard, kind of your classic breakfast. It’s a Belgian waffle, an egg cooked however you want it. Bacon on top. You get your American breakfast right all right there all in one little plate. That way you get something sweet and something savory.”