Tony D'Agostino isn't positive how customers learned about Mentor's newest restaurant, Scrambler Marie's.
"We didn't do much advertising, we just turned on the "open sign," the Cleveland-area franchisee said. "We had our first customer at 6:37 a.m."
The breakfast, brunch and lunch bistro opened Tuesday morning at 9570-A Mentor Ave. It is the second Northeast Ohio location for the family restaurant that first opened 23 years ago in Toledo. The Mayfield Heights location opened about three years ago.
Scrambler is still filling out its staff, but the restaurant will settle at about 25 employees.
D'Agostino, a South Euclid native, said the company wants to "cherry pick" the prime locations around the region, and settled on Mentor pretty quickly.
"It came down to demographics," he said. "The strong points are Mayfield, Mentor, maybe Macedonia, Beachwood.
"We're trying to hit the areas that make the most sense first."
D'Agostino was a silent investor in the company during its early days, but later sold his interest. After retirement, he saw the progress Scrambler made and decided to get involved again, encouraging founder Phil Buerk to enter the Cleveland market.
"It serves a niche that isn't hit in Cleveland," he said. "I've done a lot of breakfast meetings, and what I've found is that you have Denny's or Bob Evans … but the next step up was the high-end, like the Marriott, and they rip your face off. They're so expensive."
"So, this was a niche that was really under-served."
Pancakes, omelets, sandwiches and salads at Scrambler's cost between $5 and $8.
"We try to have a little bit of an upscale decor and our menu is a little upscale," D'Agostino said. "Not price-wise, but it's just a little bit nicer fare."
The restaurant seats 172 people inside. The business will open a patio next spring, allowing for 32 additional patrons. The restaurant offers a private meeting room for no charge and catering. D'Agostino said the restaurant is also available for private parties, celebrations and business functions after it closes at 3 p.m.
Buerk was in town for the Mentor location's first day. He said people can expect to see eight to 12 restaurants in the region with the next 12 to 18 months.
"It depends on the reception of the community, but I don't think there's any question that Cleveland could hold eight units of our concept. "Sometimes you're received very strongly. We're looking at two new units on the west side."
Scrambler Marie's is open every day from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit the website for a menu and more information.
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