Photography by Dan Austin
A Lakeland favorite for almost 20 years, Britt’s Café serves an eclectic bistro-inspired menu that also maintains the comforting classics reminiscent of America’s beloved roadside eateries.
The American diner is iconic, appearing in popular culture for decades. From the 1950s’ diner in Grease to a 24-hour home-away-from-home in the modern television show Riverdale, diners have been a go-to for early-morning breakfasts alone and late-night munchies with friends.
The diner was conceptualized by Walter Scott in 1872 when he began selling food from the back of a horse-drawn wagon. Others soon followed, and diners became permanent establishments, offering affordable homemade meals. Known for reasonable prices and comfort food like burgers and fries, diners continue to be part of American culture.
Lakeland’s very own Britt’s Café is self-described as an American Bistro-Style Diner, offering comfort foods and great-tasting home-cooked meals made with fresh ingredients. Todd and Carla Sitte opened Britt’s Café in 1997. Since then, Britt’s has been open daily for breakfast and lunch. During COVID-19, the Sittes closed the diner for five months and then decided to sell it to the current owner, Patrick Njubi.
“It’s a great Lakeland restaurant that has been in business for nearly 20 years by previous owners,” says Njubi.
Njubi moved from Kenya in the early 2000s and pursued a degree in business and management. He has been in the food industry for 18 years, working primarily with Scott Brickhouse at Chick-fil-A in the management department. Njubi had been looking to buy a restaurant with his business partners, so when he heard about this opportunity, he gladly took it.
“I always wanted to [own a restaurant], but I never thought it would happen. Everybody wants a piece of the American dream, to own your own business. I thought about it but wasn’t sure if it was ever going to happen.”
The menu will remain the same, as breakfast and lunch continue to be made from scratch with fresh, local produce and ingredients.
“Tom and Carla did a great job curating the menu items. We might add a few things, but we’re going to keep the main dishes people know and love.”
Britt’s shows its appreciation for Lakeland by honorably naming menu items such as the Hollingsworth Breakfast and Morton Salad after the well-known locations loved by locals. From savory breakfast omelets with pepper jack cheese and sausage to juicy American burgers, Britt’s Café offers a variety of classic diner dishes with a mixture of unique specials.“The Mallard is an omelet sandwich and one of my favorites. It has grilled peppers, onions, and fresh tomatoes rolled together with two eggs into an omelet style, then placed between toasted Cuban bread. Another popular topping with it is provolone cheese,” says Njubi.
“For lunch, we’re known for our burgers. Our most unique one is the Thunder Burger, which is topped with grilled black olives, onions, peppers, ranch, Cajun seasoning, and pepper jack cheese.”
The diner has daily specials for both breakfast and lunch, and they now are open for dinner on Thursday and Saturday nights, in addition to Friday nights which includes their all-you-can-eat fish fry.
Even with the new management, Lakeland locals continue to dine at Britt’s, enjoying a big, hearty breakfast or savory burger for lunch.
“Britt’s is cozy, warm, and friendly,” says Njubi. “It’s home. Most of our customers who have been coming for years we know by name. Even the new customers who come in feel very welcomed. The Lakeland community is amazing; the people are supportive and engaged with their local businesses.”
“Britt’s is cozy, warm and friendly. It’s home.”
Njubi enjoys his new ownership role at Britt’s alongside his team, saying, “The people who work here are the best. They are very welcoming and love taking care of people.”
Local diners offer great-quality comfort food at a reasonable price for the whole family, and Britt’s is no different. The comfortable atmosphere makes for a relaxed occasion for catching up with friends, and its timeless location will give customers a taste of home, reminding all of the classic American diner.
3662 Harden Boulevard
Lakeland, FL 33803
Britt’s is open until 8pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays featuring daily specials.
Thursday: Rice Bowl
Friday: All-You-Can-Eat Fish Fry
Saturday: Chicken & Waffles