HomeFood & DiningGolden Hog rescues island breakfast institution, The Donut Gallery

Golden Hog rescues island breakfast institution, The Donut Gallery

The Donut Gallery, a family-run diner that’s fed hungry Key Biscayners for half a century, will continue to operate under the auspices of the Golden Hog Market. The move prevents the popular breakfast spot from being closed in August, when the family’s lease ended. 

Earlier this year, it looked like the Gallery might be shuttered for good. Perish the thought, says Golden Hog owner Jorge Gonzalez. 

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“We’re keeping everything the same way,” Gonzalez said, right down to the famous Ted’s Special open-faced breakfast sandwich. 

“We need to keep the American concept – same schedules, same menu,” he said. Even Lori, the ever-ebullient waitress, will be staying. 

The restaurant’s owner Nelson Zambrano said he was happy to reach a deal where the Golden Hog is buying almost all of the restaurant equipment and furniture — right down to the counter and seats in the narrow 650-square-foot space. He had been paying $3,500 monthly in rent. 

The Golden Hog is in the middle of an expansion at the Harbor Plaza shopping center. The market operates a satellite location and a poolside gazebo restaurant at the Key Colony condominium. 

“I knew this day was coming one way or the other,” Zambrano said. He is not planning anything special for his last day behind the counter — but one customer had brought in a mariachi band to serenade the staff. 

He is keeping the original pictures that lined the wall, but allowed Gonzalez to copy them so the memories of the old restaurant can be preserved. The name “Donut Gallery” will also transfer to the new management. 

As for his future — he and wife Ota are the owners of a 40-foot motor home and they plan to start exploring Florida and then the nation. He said he’s excited to explore not only national and state parks but a network of private properties that cater to RV enthusiasts. 

As for the customers, Zambrano said the shop is in good hands:“He knows how to run a business. I have no doubt he will keep it going if he wants to keep at it.” 

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Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.

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