On a recent trip to Anna Maria Island we were looking for a good breakfast. Everyone pointed us to Ginny & Jane E’s. Our stop there vaulted it into the next round for our top Florida breakfast locations.

Officially, it’s known as Ginny & Jane E’s at the Old IGA Store. The cafe, bakery, shop and gallery is located in an old Independent Grocer’s Association location along Gulf Drive.

Perched along Gulf Drive on Anna Maria Island, Ginny & Jane E’s is a fixture in the historic district.

Originally, the IGA was started by Ernie Cagnina and his brother-in-law Bennie shortly after World War II. A plaque in his honor stands at the front door of the place.

Once we got inside, we found all vestiges of a grocery store had long since disappeared. It’s now crammed full of local arts, crafts, curiosities and all manner of interesting items. We had the opportunity to browse, but chose first to eat.

The Dining

Ginny and Jane E’s is a cafe with breakfast and lunch. And when it comes to the food, it’s just our cup of tea. The selections all are made from scratch. Moreover, they’re free of nitrates and preservatives. Possibly best of all, much of it is locally sourced.

They still had a pretty good selection of baked goods when we arrived, Even though it was a bit later in the morning.

Choosing breakfast there was not an easy task for us. There are skillets, pancakes, biscuits ‘n gravy or french toast. There also are all kinds of different breakfast sandwiches or breakfast burritos. When we visited, they had just added fried chicken and waffles to the menu.

I had the Anna Maria Skillet – Mrs. Funmeister had a One Egg Breakfast. We also had a massive cinnamon roll (not pictured – gone before I thought to get the camera out).

They also serve lunches. As far as we can see, those choices are just as difficult. The menu features hot sandwiches such as burgers, melts, Reubens and the like. There also are cold sandwiches and wraps. Salads are yet another option.

The food was good and the ambience delightful. We decided the next time we visit AMI, we will try a lunch at Ginny’s.

At Ginny and Jane E’s you can dine amidst the art,

After ordering at the counter there are lots of places to sit both inside and out. They even have a special little table for youngsters which has crayons, coloring pages and all sorts of things to keep younger patrons busy while orders are being prepared back in the kitchen.

You make your order at the counter, a waitress later will bring it to your table.

While you are waiting, you can talk with other patrons, walk through the store, admire the art or even pass a guitar around. Sadly, nobody played while we were waiting.

The Shopping

After having breakfast, we did take time to browse through the store. It’s an eclectic mix of old and new items, plus plenty of local art. There are racks of different kinds of clothing and accessories. If you like jewelry, there’s plenty of that as well. If you need to try something to make certain it fits they have a “dressing room” for your convenience.

The dressing room is just behind the curtain.

Ginny & Jane E’s also carries a stock of one-of-a-kind postcards. If you like furniture, there’s a selection of chairs, tables and lamps. Scanning the aisles, we saw lots of things made from shells and items found about by local artists. “Odds and Sods” as they call them. Let me tell you, this is the place where you find presents that you are sure will not be duplicated – and certainly cannot be found on Amazon.

The History

Sisters Ginny and Jane E have retired from the business. Their legacy now is carried on by Paul and Tammy Foster. As the story goes, Ginny had a antique shop at nearby Holmes Beach but wanted something more. Jane was not involved in a business. She worked on a farm with her family. Her skills were cooking and baking.

The two got together and took a big step forward – they decided to go into business together. After searching for a suitable location, the old IGA store, once run by the late pioneer and community leader Ernie Cagnina became available.

The sisters took the space and created the iconic shop which continues to be a mainstay of the Anna Maria Island historic district today.

The old IGA sign remains at the coffee prep area of Ginny and Jane E’s.

We found Ginny & Jane E’s is a fun and funky place. We give it five stars as a restaurant and another five as a great shopping experience.

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