Lake County diner is a spot for veterans

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – Along Point out Road 19 in Umatilla, the American desire arrives served with hash browns.

When Bruce and Beth Chambers opened Battle Café, they experienced no strategy it would turn into a desired destination.

“It’s mad, it’s form of taken on a existence of it’s have,” Bruce Chambers stated, reflecting on the diner’s reputation.

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The navy-themed restaurant is attracting veterans from across Central Florida. Lots of arrive in for the food, others the décor, but most will convey to you, it’s the sensation of belonging that retains them coming back.

The pair performs side by facet in the kitchen area and above the grill. Together, they convert out all the morning’s omelets, pancakes and breakfast burritos.

“Our tag line is, ‘Every revolution starts with breakfast, and this is us,” Beth Chambers explained. “A small revolution.”

Bruce Chambers mentioned he served in the Army and was stationed in Iraq as element of Procedure Iraqi Independence. Just after returning home he worked a number of work but uncovered ease and comfort doing work in the kitchen area of a community diner.

“I was not heading in the correct direction,” Bruce Chambers explained. “I was shutting myself away in the kitchen area when I bought out of Iraq. I did not converse to anyone about a great deal of things I just did my possess issue.”

About that time, he satisfied Beth, his long term spouse, and started out treatment through the UCF Restores software.


“Total modify up,” Bruce Chambers claimed. “The ideal individuals and the ideal support system. It is large.”

With a new outlook, Bruce Chambers said he commenced considering of the long run.

“I’m like, ‘Man, I would like I could own my own restaurant,’ and we handed by this area all the time, and I’m like, ‘That’s got to be my creating,’” he stated.

He stated the two even wrote their names on the doorway of the vacant retail outlet, as a way to will their dreams into fact.

The few inevitably opened their first café at that place in Eustis, eventually transferring to their latest setting up in Umatilla. They named it Overcome Café No. 2.

Inside, the café experienced posters and wall decorations with armed forces themes. The 70′s Tv set present “M.A.S.H.” was actively playing on the tv, and the menu highlighted items these kinds of as the Uncle Ham, The Grunt and The Grenaders.

“It’s all themed just for pleasurable,” Beth Chambers said.

In the corner was a tribute to fallen troopers: Greka’s Table and the Honor Area pay out tribute to Bruce Chamber’s squadron leader, Sgt. Alan Greka, who shed his lifestyle in Iraq.


“He was an amazing chief,” Bruce Chambers mentioned. “Greka stepped on an anti-personnel landmine on July 13, 2007.”

A common at Combat Café, Graham Williamson, served in the Royal Navy from 1971 to 1986. Williamson is there as soon as a week.

“Look all over. It’s all about services. It’s all about providing,” Williamson said.

When it came to the restaurant’s décor, Williamson stated there is a specified spot that hits residence.

“The table of remembrance — that indicates additional to me than most of it,” he reported.

Fight Café is not just about feeding on breakfast, Williamson mentioned, but about neighborhood.

“I really like it. I enjoy the environment,” he claimed, ordering his eggs over straightforward. “Coming in this article I identified brotherhood, relatives.”

Williamson is not on your own. Virtually just about every booth was occupied with a veteran and a story.

John McCrary is 93. The Navy SeaBee claimed he served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He’s at the café every single day for his sausage biscuits and gravy with potatoes.


“Well, I’m Irish, you know. So, I hardly ever satisfied a tater I didn’t like,” he said, laughing.

Throughout the dining area John Clark and Jaime Gonzalez concluded up their meal. Clark served in the Air Pressure, Gonzalez in the Marines. The two drove in excess of from Daytona.

“It’s exclusive,” Gonzalez mentioned. “It’s particular to me and John. That is why we hold coming again.”

Roger Sarver sat in the following booth with good friends from the Villages.

“I would enjoy to have millennials appear here and listen to the tales from this booth and that booth and that booth,” Sarver explained, pointing close to the place. “From serious individuals.”

The diner is a common quit for teams of bikers on weekend cruises.

Williamson said there’s one thing about the position that presents veterans the probability to open up about the earlier.

“Since I remaining the Navy there is constantly been a aspect that is missing: the fellowship, the brotherhood, the household,” he mentioned. “This is home. I occur listed here and just sit with persons who recognize.”


Years in the past, Bruce Chambers retreated behind the grill. Right now, he claimed his have kitchen area is a image of alternatives his eating area, a refuge for others.

David Grant Williams is a different common.

“I think this is a healing position,” Williams said. “I’ve witnessed it materialize more than and in excess of yet again.”

Bruce Chambers said what issues most to him is delivering a place for veterans exactly where they can open up to just one an additional comfortably and without the need of reservations.

“What’s most significant to me is there is a lot of fellas and ladies heading as a result of a ton of diverse points,” he said. “And often they really don’t know how to get stuff off their chests, or they don’t know how to deal with specified matters. I have observed a great deal of men and women get a lot of stuff off their chests in right here, and it’s large for them.”

Bruce Chambers said he opens the company every single morning, and it doesn’t experience like work.

“It’s just element of our mission,” he claimed. “I always say the food is a reward.”


The couple partnered with various community nonprofits to benefit veteran services.

They said they are at present gathering products for getaway treatment offers, which will be sent to deployed troopers by way of the Infinite Heroes Foundation.

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