Native Cafe is owned and operated by Joyce and Charles Brown and their three children, a fifth generation Pensacola family that aims to provide homestyle cooking to their neighbors and visitors.
Even when it’s gloomy outside, the restaurant feels like a sunny place, thanks in large part to friendly waitresses with bright smiles. The wooden tables are crowded with locals of every stripe, including families and kids and silver-haired retirees. Local art lines each wall, almost every inch of space adorned with images of pelicans, dolphins, and sandy beaches.
Spicy Bloody Marys and mimosas are a good way to start breakfast, which includes eggs and bacon, a pancake-wich, Benedicts, biscuits & gravy, and French toast. A Lil’ Native’s breakfast section includes bear-shaped pancakes and mini burritos.
My favorite is crab cake Benedict: crisp-edged English muffins topped with thick, salty crab cakes, runny poached eggs, and tangy hollandaise sauce.
The breakfast burrito is stuffed with scrambled eggs, cheese, and bacon, wrapped in a soft flour tortilla and served with salsa. It’s a relatively small one, but just right for a modest appetite, or as a side dish if you’re really hungry.
Shrimp & grits is a bowl of creamy grits topped with Monterey jack and plump grilled shrimp. Green and fried onions are included. We like to add jalapeños and bacon for a spicy, salty flourish.
Of the “Big Beach’n” omelets, the Southeastern includes thinly-sliced strips of steak, diced bell peppers and jalapeños, onions, and cheese. It’s got cheesy edges and gooey insides: delicious with salsa and sour cream added.
When we arrived at Native Cafe just before 8 AM on a Monday, we snagged the last available booth, and an eager crowd quickly formed outside. It’s clear the Brown family has created a Pensacola favorite destination.