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High-Quality Comfort Food Served with a Waterfront View

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

"Comfort food with a flair," reads their trademarked catchphrase. Located a few miles from Melbourne along U.S. Highway 1 in Malabar, Yellow Dog Café evokes an open, airy atmosphere with lots of wood, windows and water along with black chandeliers and charming décor. Situated directly on the Indian River lagoon with an indoor dining room and a roomy covered porch with private beach and dock, diners get up-close views of the water while eating or just relaxing on their observation deck or walking the pier. Serving lunch and dinner, dining here is casual yet elegant with complimentary valet parking.

Sales and Marketing Representative Richard Tominsky discusses the name and concept, "The name Yellow Dog Café was chosen by the owners Stuart, who is also the chef, and Nancy Borton because they felt it evoked a colorful, happy and eclectic setting to serve fine dining in. They wanted to serve high-quality dishes but didn't want their guests to feel they were in a 'stuffy' setting."

Several menu items playfully reference the Yellow Dog name, such as Chocolate Brownie Dog Bone for dessert or a special flavored mini dog bone stirrer in your martini. Yes, a full liquor bar, fine wines and specialty beers are all offered. "Popular dishes," Tominsky says, "include the Escargot served in a pastry puff dog bone." Non-dog-themed favorites are Onion Crusted Chicken with a caramel citrus glaze ("a house favorite") and Pineapple Mango Mahi Mahi served on Himalayan rice.

Three-time cookbook author and Chef Stuart Borton puts a different spin on his recipes, which are preferably not traditional. "Yellow Dog Cafe's dishes are usually presented in an unusual way, such as 'stacking' the food," explains Tominsky. "An example is two delicious crab cakes with a potato pancake all stacked like a tower." Of special note is the fact the restaurant makes all its own crackers. All breads, desserts and salad dressings are also made in house.

Chef Borton helps kids cook by teaching the basics through his work as a "celebrity chef" at St. Joseph's Catholic School culinary class. He also volunteers with the annual Chocolate Festival fundraising event for Zonta Club, where he has won "Brevard's Best Chocolate prize many times. The Zonta Chocolate Festival is a fundraising event to advance women's status worldwide through service and advocacy.

Yellow Dog Café books private parties or events for small and large groups, as well as provides catering. There is a wide range of dining rooms to choose from inside, as well as the outdoor patio and bar. Tominsky further tells us, "Yellow Dog Cafe also prides itself in their friendly and knowledgeable service team." With many positive reviews, high-quality food and famous patrons, it's no surprise this café has been open since 1998.

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