In the Kitchen With Chef Jeff Kaplan
Jeff Kaplan has lived on the Space Coast for more than 30 years, but his New Jersey roots are never out of reach.
Kaplan owns Palm Shores Bistro, a casual restaurant and catering business that is known locally for its giant cinnamon rolls, French toast battered in cereal crumbs, and East Coast twists on classic sandwiches.
The restaurant is open seven days per week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with most seats having a view of the Indian River.
“People come in for the atmosphere, but more than anything, they come in for the food,” Kaplan said. “Our menu is unique but has some familiar flavors to many locals, especially people from the East Coast.”
The menu at PSB is the creation of Kaplan, who says he likes to experiment with flavors and deliver hearty portions to patrons. Kaplan is self-trained chef, learning most of what he knows about the industry from growing up in family restaurants in N.J. He moved to Brevard County in 1987 to go into the bagel business with his brother.
As his business has grown, so has his family. Kaplan is a proud father of three children, with his oldest daughter recently graduating from the University of Florida and his middle child heading off to the U.S. Air Force Academy in the fall on a baseball scholarship. His youngest son will be a senior at Viera High School this fall.
“We really are a mom-and-pop place. There’s only one of us and we aren’t a franchise,” Kaplan said. “We get a lot of regulars, too.”
The menu is influenced by seasonal availability and customer input, Kaplan said. The most popular breakfast item is the Cap’n Crunch French toast. For lunch, it’s The Jersey Shore — a sloppy joe-style sandwich with turkey, corned beef, swiss, Russian dressing and coleslaw.
Fresh fish does well during the dinner hours, with Stuffed Red Fish served on pasta — a consistent customer favorite. Homemade cheesecake and cinnamon rolls are popular all day, Kaplan said.
Though there are plenty of unique eats on the menus, traditional favorites like Eggs Benedict, Biscuits and Gravy, and Country Fried Steak are available, and ordered often.
The location certainly draws customers in, but a lot of the food that Palm Shores Bistro serves does not get consumed on site. Kaplan says that 30 percent of his business comes from catering.
“We do a lot of business lunches because we offer something a little different from your typical boxed lunches. We have a lot of original things that people can order,” Kaplan said.
Recently, PSB debuted a mobile app for iOS and Google Play that allows customers to order meals to go. App users can save their favorites for easy ordering in the future. An option to use the app for catering orders is also on the way.
“Palm Shores Bistro has a lot of familiar food on the menu and it’s just well executed with a lot of flavor,” Bob Lynch of Melbourne said. He makes a point to head to the restaurant at least once per month for breakfast.
Palm Shores Bistro
5060 US Highway 1, Palm Shores
7 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday - Tuesday
7 a.m.-9 p.m., Wednesday - Saturday