Senator Debbie Mayfield Recognizes Long Time Restaurateurs, FRLA Members as Constituents of the Week

Spotlight on Malabar’s Stuart and Nancy Borton 

Our Constituents of the Week are Nancy and Stuart Borton, local restaurant entrepreneurs, most notable for their 25 years as founders and owners of the Yellow Dog Café in Malabar. 

The Borton’s opened the Yellow Dog Café over two decades ago to provide local residents and visitors to the community a restaurant specializing in “comfort food with a flair.” They quickly became a neighborhood and county-wide favorite recognized for their unique menu, scenic location on the Indian River, and their staff’s friendly and professional service.

The history of the Yellow Dog Café is as interesting as the story of Stuart and Nancy Borton. For years, Stuart and Nancy dreamt of owning a restaurant on the water.  They discovered an old building on the Indian River Lagoon in Malabar, purchased it, quickly remodeled it in 1997, and welcomed their first customers in 1998. They have since added a riverfront covered porch, pier, a dock on the beach, and a landscaped area for weddings and special occasions.

Their culinary interests began long ago. Stuart is originally from Michigan and credits his mom for his interest in the food industry. While in the Army, he was stationed in Germany and traveled to Japan, and finally to Australia where he settled to work in the insurance industry. Yet, culinary remained his calling. He purchased his first restaurant in the Australian city of Adelaide in an old Parliament building, and soon after he opened a second restaurant near Adelaide called Oxfords Café.  

Nancy’s culinary interests began early in life too. From the age of 12, she was working in the culinary field serving assorted treats and managing a grocery store kiosk. She used her entrepreneurial spirit, talent, and experience in the food industry to enroll in the Worcester Fanning Trade School where she graduated with a degree in restaurant business administration. She won several competitions for cake decorating and was class president in her senior year. Shortly after graduation, she was hired to manage The El Morocco Restaurant in Massachusetts.

Later, while vacationing back in the U.S., Stuart met Nancy in Orlando and they married shortly thereafter.  Together they opened a restaurant, The Steer Inn, in St. Louis, Michigan at the Michigan Livestock Exchange. 

The cold weather left the Borton’s longing for Florida and in short order, they moved to the Micco area and opened Stuart’s Bistro and The Pizza Store, and ultimately the Yellow Dog Café in 1998.

Today, nearly 25 years later, Stuart and Nancy take on the daily challenges of owning and managing a thriving restaurant. They divide and conquer the important tasks of menu perfection, food tasting, meal presentation, professional dining service, selecting décor, staffing, training, inventory, sales, and all other critical functions in running a successful business.  They also are well known in the community for their gracious support of many charities including Promise in Brevard.

Their success is enviable. The Yellow Dog Café was recently named one of Brevard County’s best local fine dining restaurants by Space Coast Living magazine. Florida Travel and Life magazine featured their restaurant as one of the best tables with a view in the state of Florida. In Touch Magazine recently wrote about Yellow Dog Café: A legendary Florida restaurant cooks up one of the world’s best chicken dishes. Orlando Sentinel food reviewer Scott Joseph wrote that Yellow Dog Café is adrift in flavors along the river’s edge; The views of the Indian River make Yellow Dog Café a scenic setting for a wonderful dining excursion.

 To view the Yellow Dog Cafe’s iconic menu or make a reservation, click here.

District 19 is proud to congratulate Nancy and Stuart Borton on 25 years of success in Brevard County and we wish you both and the Yellow Dog Café another 25 years of blessings and prosperity!