By Molly McGowan
Take a sandwich made out of ham, turkey and Swiss cheese, smother in pancake batter, dunk in a deep fryer, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with raspberry sauce. The result is a Monte Cristo, one of the more eclectic items Randy, whose nickname is Razzle, and Becky McCray are proud to serve on their menu.
“We want to do things differently than anyone else in town,” Becky says of Razzle’s Café, a new restaurant in Zephyrhills. And as far as she knows, Razzle’s Café is the only place in town to get a Monte Cristo.
The rest of the menu is a mix of feel-good favorites with home-style items such as grits, sausage and gravy and smothered chicken with peppers. Cuisine for a picnic includes potato salad, macaroni salad and tuna salad. There are also items suitable for a ballgame — chili cheese fries, hamburgers and Cubans, and specialty items like the Reuben sandwich, ice cream smoothies and the gourmet third-pound hot dog.
Also sprinkled into the menu are the names of McCray grandchildren and close family friends —Brianna’s pancakes, Kailynn’s kids breakfast, Noeah’s hotdogs and Big Mike’s chili cheese fries, exemplifying the family atmosphere of the café.
Two pieces of a child’s artwork are proudly affixed to the Working Cow ice cream counter, and the staff is comprised of McCray family members and a few of their close friends.
Becky tells the story of Razzle’s Café and reveals that the establishment originated from a family-wide loss. She and her husband, their children and their spouses all worked for the same company, and all got let go at the same time.
Instead of being daunted during these uncertain times, the McCray family pooled together their savings and opened up Razzle’s Café. “We had to invest in ourselves,” Becky says. “No one else was going to.”
So now the McCrays and their son run the kitchen and do the books, Becky’s sister-in-law and family friends wait tables and Becky’s daughter waits tables and makes the homemade soups. Having so much personal control over the café’s affairs allows for creativity in the workplace and the family is still experimenting with what to put on the dessert menu.
Just the other night, they tried deep frying Oreos.
“It reminded me of fair food,” says family friend and waitress Brandi Page. Though skeptical of the deep-fried Oreos, Page is a fan of the Philly cheese steak. And Working Cow ice cream.
“I eat a lot of ice cream,” Page said. “But I’ve slowed down…” Page, who’s been with the café since it opened in September, has noticed a definite increase in customers and already greets the regulars by name. She nods to three older gentlemen sitting outside the café and explains that they come in for coffee, two to four times a day and sit outside contemplating the world.
Page points to the daily special board and says that something new they’ll be doing will be Fish Fridays, where customers will have a choice of either deep fried Pollock or catfish. But for now, Becky says, people should try the breakfast special: two eggs, bacon or sausage, a choice of potato or grits, toast, and coffee all for $3.49.
For those more adventurous, there’s always the Monte Cristo. It’ll make tongues delightfully confused about whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dessert time, and just might become a favorite.
Razzle’s Café is located in Zephyrhills at 6620 Gall Blvd. in the Florida Medical Clinic parking lot on 301. Hours are Sunday-Thursday, from 6 a.m. – 9 p.m., and open until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more information call (813) 395-5903.