A long North Wickham Road, near Baytree Drive and the corporate offices of Space Coast Credit Union, stands a restaurant that is a weekly staple for many local residents. With signature salads providing healthier options for patrons and specialty sandwiches unlike any others in the area, EATz provides a unique take on the food one might find at a local eatery.
EATz is the creation of owners Domenic and Melody Camarra, who originally started the business out of their passion for fresh, healthy food. “We like to portray it as something good to eat, not just something that looks good,” Melody said. “We don’t use any oils or sprays, so it’s healthier for you. Everything we serve is always served with love, so that makes it even better.”
In addition to the fresh ingredients used, EATz also takes pride in its staff. The restaurant is a true family business. Domenic and Melody’s son and daughter work there while going to Eastern Florida State College, and even the employees who are not blood-related feel like family. There is a sense of pride in what they do, crafting each meal to be an outstanding culinary experience.
The restaurant is the natural progression of Domenic’s love for cooking. Initially starting out as a dishwasher, he studied the chefs in the kitchen and eventually came to the decision that cooking was something he wanted to do. He went to culinary school, where he earned his degree and started to cook at a number of places before opening EATz.
“What I love the most about cooking is having the ability to create a meal for a customer and having that food put a smile on his or her face,” Domenic said. “At the end of the day, that’s what makes me happy.”
An Unconventional Menu
While EATz provides healthier, non-processed options, the cooking is done in a fun, unconventional way. The restaurant serves its meals in large portions, providing subs that fill a plate or a take-home box. The bountiful salads can provide a customer with more than one meal. The combination of ingredients within the dishes are also unorthodox, created through trial and error and by getting feedback from patrons. The tuna melt contains bacon, putting a different spin on a traditional sandwich. The Greek salad bucks the trend of the typical feta-olive-onion mix by adding salami, ham and potato salad. While new customers may be skeptical of the mix, they are won over shortly after tasting it.
“We get people that will ask, ‘Really, potato salad?’” Melody said. “And I’ll tell them, ‘Just trust me; mix it all around, and try it.’ They’ll eat it and say how good it was.”
If you are a fan of various types of foods, EATz has something for you. When asked about some menu favorites, Melody mentioned the Maryann’s Melt, a curry chicken salad that contains sweet pickles, American cheese, lettuce and tomato on rye, as well as the Annie’s Apple, which contains thin green apple slices, cream cheese, raisins, mozzarella and lettuce on wheat. Domenic touted the Smoky, a smoked turkey sandwich with bacon, lettuce, tomato, Swiss cheese, coleslaw Dijon and a special sauce. EATz also specializes in desserts, creating sweets ranging from cheesecakes to a sumptuous Reese’s cake.
Staying Focused on Success
In the early 2000s, EATz resided in downtown Melbourne before hurricanes in 2004 caused structural damage, forcing it to shut down. Ten years later, the Camarras returned, moving their business to the Suntree area and its growing residential and commercial population. Despite the extended period of time it was shut down, the company has been able to enjoy success from old customers visiting the new location, as well as new customers finding out about the great food through word of mouth. The location has also become a popular lunch spot for many of the surrounding businesses. Through it all, the family remains driven to provide the best value and service to their customers, all inspired by the passion they have for food.
“We just stay focused,” Melody said. “We can’t let all these other distractions come into play; we just focus on what we do. I think consistency is the main core of making a business work. We really work hard on having a good staff and team behind us.” ◆