By Amanda Boston

The recently opened Wooden Spoon Diner in Brandon is already stirring up rave reviews with its modern twist on comfort food classics. With an extensive menu offering traditional breakfast combinations alongside offbeat selections like the Crab Cake Eggs Benedict, customers are all but guaranteed to discover something to suit even the most sophisticated palate.

The diner’s breakfast and lunch menu presents a variety of flavors such as its internationally infused Greek Spinach Omelet and Maryland-Style Crab Cakes. Coffee aficionados will appreciate the micro-roasted organic cold brew coffee, a European gourmet coffee from Royal Cup.

Riverview resident Manny Roussos is the owner and operator. With more than a decade in the restaurant industry, this is Roussos’ third restaurant. His experience also includes restaurant consulting where he helped other restaurant owners identify and troubleshoot problem areas. Lessons learned from his previous restaurants coupled with his consulting expertise provided Roussos with all the skills and knowledge required to create this establishment.

The diner’s name pays homage to Roussos’ mother and his preferred cooking utensil. “I only use wooden spoons to stir my sauces and soups,” he explained. “And my mom used to knock me on the head with a wooden spoon, so my fiancé suggested I call it the Wooden Spoon,” he said smiling.

The Wooden Spoon Diner’s head cook is Rick Leasy, and he is no stranger to the kitchen or Roussos. Leasy has more than 40 years of cooking experience and is a longtime friend. “It takes a team. Rick and I work together to get the right taste. We also experiment to keep the classic comfort foods fresh by adding a modern twist,” he said.

All of the soups are prepared from scratch with most of the recipes originating from his mother. In the near future, Roussos plans to offer specials on designated days and a Friday Fish Fry. Roussos extends a personal invitation to stop in and taste some of his favorite dishes, which include the Maryland-Style Crab Cakes, the Greek Spinach Omelet and the pork tenderloin sandwich.

The Wooden Spoon Diner is tucked away at 865 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon to the left of the Walmart Supermarket. The hours are 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. from Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Monday.

For more information, call 655-5556 or visit Facebook and search The Wooden Spoon Diner.