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Pine Island Getaway Cafe opens

April 18, 2018
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

The long awaited Pine Island Getaway Cafe had a 'soft' opening Friday morning at 8 a.m. The display cases were filled with eclairs, tarts, breads and chocolate moose and the two owners, Thomas and Florent Brunet, were busy in the kitchen trying to keep up with the demand. By noon the display cases were empty and all of the pastries were sold out.

Thomas and Florent Brunet were raised on the small island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean. When they turned 18 they moved to France to study cooking. Florent is a professional chef and Thomas is a professional pastry chef.

"Growing up I worked in the local bakeries on St. Maarten," Thomas said. "My brother worked in local restaurants before he moved to Miami for work. After a few years Florent found Pine Island 'by accident' and fell in love with the island and the people. He called me and said when you come to the States, come to Pine Island, this is where we're going to build a bakery."

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Left to right: Jeremy Kalbacher, Sue Ann Germani, co-owner Florent Brunet, co-owner Thomas Brunet, Jennifer Jennings (Chamber director) and Robin Parmerelle (Capital Bank) celebrate the Pine Island Getaway Cafe’s opening with a ribbon cutting.


"At this restaurant it will be French food and I'll do the sweets and my brother will do the salty. Sometimes we combine them together," Thomas said. "The menu is a work in progress and will be changing over time."

The lunch menu is considered "lite fare." On opening day there were three lunch choices - Stuffed Tomato, Ground Beef saute' with Herbs de Provence; Vol Au Vent Beef Carrot, Puff Pastry with slowly cooked beef stew served with a side of organic mixed greens and Vol Au Vent Forestier, chicken with mushrooms and Creme Fraisch in a puff pastry with a side of organic mixed greens.

The desserts are almost endless: eclairs, tarts, thousand layers, moose, and a wide variety of coffees, cappuccino, lattes, and espresso.

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On Thursday, Chamber of Commerce executive director Jennifer Jennings was invited for a preview lunch. Jennifer had Vol Au Vent Forestier. For dessert there was Chocolate Moose and Apricot tart with a Latte.

"This is one of the best meals I've had in a very long time," Jennings said. "This is a great addition to Pine Island and going to be a huge success."

Florent said he and his brother are thrilled to be opening the cafe on the island.

"We're very excited to open," Florent said. "Pine Island people are very friendly and we have something completely different to offer. My brother and I left St. Maarten because they have a lot of bakeries in St. Maarten but we came to America to live the American dream."

Pine Island Getaway Cafe is at 5281 Doug Taylor Circle (Industrial Park across from Pine Island Community Church), St. James City. The phone number is 917-207-3631. The cafe's hours are 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.



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