Polonza owners and siblings Judy Ring and Mark Webb wanted to honor the history of the city and their family — who have lived in the Pensacola area since the mid-19th century — with a restaurant. After some research, they discovered the area’s first Spanish explorers called Pensacola Bay “Polonza.” After the Spanish came the French, then the British, and finally the United States. This storied background is responsible for the varied menu at Polonza, which reflects the people and cultures who have graced the city over the centuries.
Today, we’re at Polonza for breakfast, and though the ample space is pretty empty on a late Tuesday morning, it looks like there are a few regulars, including a table of veterans with eggs, coffee, and plenty of stories.
The Lafitte Breakfast is a sweet tooth’s dream: dense, chewy French toast with hints of cornbread layered with whipped vanilla cream cheese and a raspberry compote. Bacon and fresh fruit round things out.
The Barrancas Plate is sun-dried tomato tortilla filled with medium scrambled eggs, sausage, well-cooked potatoes, sautéed peppers and onions, and cheddar cheese. It’s served with fresh salsa and a small cup of guac, but really shines with a hit of Crystal hot sauce.
We also get a side of Polonza pancakes, which are thick and have a slight sourdough tang. Butter that comes with them is salty and delicious.
Toad in the Hole has all the right ingredients: mild homemade sourdough, arugula, bacon, tomatoes, Parmesan, and crispy, grilled portobello mushrooms. It’s good, but I wish the bread was a bit more toasted.
A coffee bar is the center of the restaurant, with freshly roasted beans ground to order for each pot of coffee. With an exposed brick backdrop and bustling baristas, it’s an inviting spot to sit and work. Before we leave, I get an iced honey latte to go: a balance of strong coffee with nutty, earthy honey.
Outside tables are ideal for a warm Pensacola afternoon. Should you want to walk off your meal, just head down Palafox Street toward the water.