After more than two years of waiting, Biscuits and Benedicts plans to open in Lakeland’s Dixieland neighborhood before the end of the year. The owners recently posted on Facebook that the city approved “the last step needed for us to move forward with our opening.”

Co-owner James Kerr, 36, of Lakeland, expects to have a grand opening on Nov. 1. “I can’t even put into words how excited I am. Fingers crossed the delays and labor shortages are over!” he said.

The restaurant will be located at 1212 S. Florida Ave. in a building that has housed a succession of restaurants, including Nineteen 61, Butterfly Bistro and Grass Root Organic.

“Dixieland has the perfect location for what I think is an amazing opportunity to serve the community. This location is historic and the perfect first location for Biscuits and Benedicts,” Kerr explained.

The menu will include biscuits, benedicts, waffles, pecan bacon, bread puddings, craft cocktails, mimosas, and fresh juices. “Everything [will] be made in house daily,” Kerr said. 

The restaurant will offer dine-in, curbside, and delivery. Hours will be 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Kerr blames the COVID-19 pandemic for the delays in opening. “We have been impacted by every aspect of COVID from the lack of available supplies, people, product, etc,” Kerr explained.

The owners signed the lease on July 1, 2019. He said they put the sign up prior to the pandemic to get people excited for what was to come.

“It’s been quite the journey. The city has been extremely busy and the impact of COVID has slowed everything down. We were waiting on equipment due to the shortages, permitting [due] to the labor shortages, and other administrative items that slowed us down,” Kerr said. 

Despite the setbacks, Kerr is determined to open the restaurant, stating it will offer unique flavors that can’t be found elsewhere in Lakeland or Winter Haven. 

“There’s nothing like this. From our craft cocktails to our … biscuits, gravy, and beurre blanc hollandaise, we will look the part when it comes to our southern twist on breakfast and brunch,” Kerr explained. 

The name Biscuits and Benedicts is derived from two of Kerr’s favorite breakfast items. His dream is to eventually open several locations.

“We plan on exploring many options for many different formats for our future restaurants including ones with drive-throughs, pick-up windows, smaller square footage, a more green footprint,” Kerr said. 

At Biscuits and Benedicts, they are hiring for all positions. 

“We want to provide jobs for people in the community and feed our communities. That’s our goal. We have a solid leadership team with a lot of restaurant and business experience,” added Kerr, who is also a co-owner of Aces Ink, a tattoo and piercing shop in Winter Haven.

The other owners of Biscuits and Benedicts include Chef Erik Walter and restaurant executive John Iannucci

This isn’t Kerr’s first venture in the food industry. Describing himself as an “avid poker player turned foodie,” he also runs Smoothie Squad in Winter Haven with his family. His family hopes to expand that brand as well. 

“We will be opening another very soon and expanding outside Winter Haven,” Kerr said. “The second location is to be determined right now. We have been looking at several sites.” 

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Stephanie Claytor has been a broadcast and digital journalist in Lakeland since 2016, covering Polk County for Bay News 9 and currently free-lancing for LkldNow. She is an author of travel and children's books.

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