I discovered The Gathering Place on Florida’s Anna Maria Island over a year ago. Now it has become a poplular gathering place for locals and visitors, thanks to word of mouth.

Chef owner Spiros and wife Jeanne Kambitsis hail from the Greek Island of Kambitis, which I have only seen from the air en route to Rhodes. Spiros’s heritage is reflected in several dishes, yet I first began to go for the typical American style breakfast at value prices and top, friendly service.

Now open 8 to 8 every day, the cafe now serves wine, beer and dinner. An outdoor patio under grapevines overlooks the Gulf of Mexico, reminiscent of the small Greek Island cafe’s.

The gathering place is worthy of high praise and worth a trip to North Gulf Drive on Bradenton Beach for an unusual reason these days:EVERYTHING is homeade. Spiros let me watch him make homeade grits in the kitchen, no cans rattling or boxes of mixes.

I hesitate to admit my cool morning craving for homemade sausage gravy over fresh biscuits, but I eagerly take a pilgrimage for this hot, hearty, homemade treat.

Other lunch and dinner entries are healthy, with crisp salads and fresh veggies of your choice – just ask and Spiros will accompdate.

Spiros is busier these days now that word is out anf the crowds have gathered. Yet, he always takes time to pop out of his kitchen to greet his guests with a smile.

The Hill team rarely mentions price in their reviews, however Spiros and Jeanie are offering a complete, generous, homemade Christmas dinner for under $10.00!