Steve’s Place continues tasty tradition
When Steve Sexton sold the Alva Diner after owning it for 22 years, he considered, and discarded, the idea of getting a job.
Instead, he started another restaurant.
Steve’s Place, at 5781 Bayshore Road, opened Dec. 23, in a location where there was a need for a full-service restaurant.
He had the opportunity to rent a larger unit in the same plaza, but chose not to.
It was the right decision.
“We have Chinese, barbecue and pizza and that’s about it besides Jax and Stamatis at Weaver’s Corner,” Sexton said. “There are places that focus on breakfast and lunch, which is why I focus on lunch and dinner. We just do breakfast on weekends.”
After a strong start in the middle of season, like every other business, restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic ground everything to a near halt, forcing them to do only take-out.
“We were limited to carry-out for a couple months and lost about 60 percent in sales like everybody did,” Sexton said. “We’re still not anywhere near the levels we were at, but it’s September and not March.”
September has actually been a good month so far, belying what is usually the worst month of the year for restaurants in Florida. Sexton said people are starting to return although they have yet to do much advertising.
“A lot of new people are starting to find me. About half our business is still takeout because there are still a lot of people still afraid to go out,” Sexton said. “If you’re older, you need to take care of yourself.”
Among the favorites at Steve’s Place is the Broasted Chicken, which is the top seller and is made by a company which provides the flour and mixes; it’s pressure fried.
“We marinate the chicken because the breading doesn’t have a lot of flavor. It’s a special flour that doesn’t burn in the machine. The chicken is tender and we offer all kinds of sauces,” Sexton said. “We have an older clientele and we have to be careful how we season our food. They don’t usually like a lot of spice or salt.”
Sexton also concentrates on dishes made famous in Indiana, where he is from. He has decorated the diner in tribute to his home state and named some of his food accordingly, including “The Hoosier,” a pork tenderloin sandwich.
“The pork tenderloin sandwich is our best-selling sandwich except for our hamburgers,” Sexton said. “We also have catfish and other things I named after places I was in Indiana.”
Steve’s Place also offers soups and salads, steaks and house specialties with different price points to suit everyone’s desires and budget.
Steve’s Place is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information, call 800-5051.