Jeremiah Buchanan and Zandra Lindgren met about ten years ago when he went to Sweden as an exchange student and stayed with her family. "I knew right then he was the guy I was going to marry," Zandra recalls.
They stayed together through high school and while both of them set out on careers in the restaurant business, she as a manager and he as a cook. On Tuesday, now married five months, the two of them will try something new: opening a restaurant together.
At 7 a.m., they'll start serving breakfast at Bluejay's Café in Himmarshee. It's a project that
has taken them nine months to open. And it hasn't come without a hitch.
out their location, at 330 Himmarshee St., is classified as outside the
Himmarshee entertainment district. By mere inches -- the line is
literally the alley that runs just east of the restaurant. If they were
in the entertainment district, they'd have an easier time getting a
liquor license. Instead, they need to apply for a special waiver that
could take up to six months for the city to approve.
open anyway on Tuesday with a Southwestern menu inspired by the food
Jeremiah ate growing up in New Mexico. There's a skirt steak rubbed
with chili powder, a Southwestern chicken sandwich full of avocado, and
a rack of lamb with a red wine reduction. They'll also serve breakfast,
a rarity for downtown Fort Lauderdale. And the prices are decidedly
inexpensive for downtown, with items ranging from $6 to $26.
Friday, they cooked for the first time the dishes they'll serve. Working the grill, Jeremiah admitted: "It's a little scary, I
must say. It's been so long in the making, and we're finally here. I'm
excited, but yeah, scared too."
After Jeremiah finished the
dishes, he loaded them up on a table in the middle of the 28-seat
dining room, which has a
minimalist bistro look with exposed rafters and cinder block walls.
They have another 24 seats outside on the sidewalk, facing the Museum of Discovery and Science. Zandra sat down in front of a grilled corn cob that Jeremiah had
basted with chipotle lime mayo and cotija cheese.
hoping for is that the food is enough to get people to come back," she
said. "We'll do a soft opening on Tuesday to see how it all works out
and then start putting up fliers and hoping for word of mouth."
has worked out pretty well for them so far. Jeremiah didn't speak a
word of Swedish when they first met, Zandra explained. But they've been
together ever since. "It's quite a story, I know."
330 Himmarshee St., Fort Lauderdale