Newly opened breakfast and lunch spot a detour off beaten path

Jasper, a quartz gemstone, is rarely found in the color blue.

“We’d like to be the rare gem of lunch and breakfast places,” said Hillary Jeyachandran, one half of the owner-operator team of new Bradenton breakfast and lunch restaurant Blue Jasper, 5718 Cortez Road W.

The new early bird spot, open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily except Mondays, will have more than the run-of-the-mill breakfast and lunch dishes.

“He’s trying to go a different route than just your typical breakfast place,” Hillary said of her husband, Baskaran Jeyachandran. “He’s offering different items like shrimp and grits, where you can’t find them at every place.” Other unique options include a chicken and egg curry en croute with brie cheese and homemade lavender yogurt. Blue Jasper also offers a selection of beer and wine during lunch.

Baskaran makes his own sausage and wants to eventually smoke bacon himself. The couple tries to keep everything sourced locally and buys all bakery items from Sugar Cubed in Bradenton and uses tea and will soon use coffee from Seabreeze Coffee and Tea, also in Manatee County.

The couple signed the lease and took possession of the building in September, but had a contractor

remodel the interior and the kitchen in the way Baskaran Jeyachandran wanted.

According to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations, Blue Jasper passed its intial inspection March 2 and were licensed to serve alcohol in January.

The restaurant is 2,500 square feet and can seat 80 people. Three wait-staff members work weekends, Hillary said, and they’ll look for more servers with experience as business picks up.

“If we get as busy as some of the other breakfast places, we’ll certainly need more helpers,” she said.

After working hourly jobs and living on Anna Maria Island for four years, the couple wanted to anchor themselves in Bradenton to raise two sons Chase, 11, and Ethan, 3.

The unassuming atmosphere of the town and proximity to beaches made the Jeyachandrans want to stay in Bradenton. Opening Blue Jasper made sense after the two bought a house not far from the restaurant.

“Bradenton seemed more homey, like the town that I’m from up north, compared to Sarasota or Tampa or Clearwater,” Hillary said. She came from Muskegon in western Michigan on Lake Michigan. Baskaran went to the Cayman Islands from his home country of India. The two met when Baskaran visited Michigan in 2005. They had a long-disance relationship until Hillary moved to Anna Maria Island in the beginning of 2010 and Baskaran decided to join her there. They were married shortly after in July 2010.

Baskaran went to culinary school in India at the Indian Institute of Hotel Management and worked on different cruise ships before working at the Ritz-Carlton in the Cayman Islands for four years. After working at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota for a few years, Baskaran decided he wanted to break out on his own.

Hillary previously worked in a restaurant and then went into health care. She said when Baskaran told her he wanted to open a place of his own, she was on board.

Though they haven’t had an official grand opening, Blue Jasper is open and has had good response so far.

“I think the people that have come in really do enjoy the food,” Hillary said. “They can taste the difference and see the difference in the food. We have a lot of regular customers we see multiple times per week and even multiple times per day.”

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