A white plate with a specialty eggs Benedict entree and hash browns sits on the counter at Café 26, Milton’s newest restaurant.
The name of the menu item—“Divorced Benedicts”—might raise eyebrows but is nevertheless a conversation starter.
The restaurant’s mustachioed host, greeter and jack-of-all-trades, “Grandpa” Esat Rushiti of Janesville, smiles as he confesses he would prefer a different name for that particular dish.
Head Chef Gzim “Jimmy” Rexhepi takes at least partial blame or credit, depending on your stance on the name.
Divorced Benedicts is made from a split English muffin. Canadian bacon and Hollandaise top one side, and sausage and traditional country gravy top the other. Both have poached eggs.
“We put our minds together,” said Rexhepi, explaining how he and Chef Benny Ademi dreamed up the unusual name.
Benny and his wife, Kiki Ademi, opened Café 26 on Nov. 18 in the building that once housed Tasty Bites and Burger King. The breakfast-and-lunch spot is located at the city’s only lighted intersection at St. Mary and Janesville streets, less than a mile from the Highway 26 bypass.
The Ademis have long resumes in the restaurant industry. They opened an Italian restaurant, Fanatico, in Whitewater in 2015, and in March they started another restaurant there, La Piazza Pizzeria, selling New York pizza by the slice.
People often ask them if they’re bringing Fanatico recipes to Milton.
No, Kiki tells them. The Café 26 menu will include similar items, but they’ll have Rexhepi’s twist.
“It’s going to be a lot of home cooking,” said Benny, who will help at the cafe because he has mornings open.
Rexhepi, a Fort Atkinson resident, has been in the restaurant business for 25 years. He and Benny are like brothers.
A favorite recipe of Rexhepi’s is stuffed French toast with cream cheese filling, strawberries, icing and whipped cream.
He clarified: “It’s not two pieces of toast with filling inside.”
Not wanting to share recipe details, he turned to lunch.
“We have open-face sandwiches, dinners, steaks, salmon. We have a 10- to 12-ounce country-fried steak, which is unheard of,” Rexhepi said. “It’s ginormous.”
The meat is lightly breaded, fried and topped with sausage gravy.
The vision behind Café 26 is “quality across the board, whether it’s cleanliness, food or service,” Kiki said. “I’m a big stickler on that. I like to think when you come here, you’re going to get all good.”
The décor is simple, modern-looking Italian farmhouse. Wall hangings invite customers to “Choose to be happy” and “Gather.”
“We did a complete remodel. Basically, we gutted the whole inside,” Kiki said.
The restaurant revamp extends from the white square coffee cups to “the robot” orange juice machine.
“Our motto is you have to do it right or just don’t do it at all,” said Kiki, who grew up in the restaurant business in Illinois.
Breakfast and lunch are served from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
Breakfast items include omelets, skillets, flapjacks, waffles, French toast and crepes. Lunch items include sandwiches, paninis, wraps, croissants and salads. Entrees include salmon, fried chicken, ribeyes, stir fry and more.
Children’s meals are available for breakfast and lunch.