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Three questions for Patrick McManaman of Famous Toastery 

A nice wake-up call

Brunch is popular here in the South. So it should come as not surprise that an eatery like Famous Toastery would become a hot spot.

The franchise opened its first location — a small house-turned-restaurant in Huntersville — in 2005, sporting a menu consisting of items like stuffed French toast with strawberry cream cheese, omelets, and burgers and wraps for the lunch crowd.

The décor is up to owners at each location, but flying pigs and roosters are a common theme. With seven locations in North Carolina and two in South Carolina, Famous Toastery will soon move the concept up North, including spots like Long Island, New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and other areas in the South.

Patrick McManaman and his wife Charlotte always wanted to open a restaurant, so when they saw the opportunity to franchise with Famous Toastery through a card at the Davidson location, they jumped on it. Coming from medical backgrounds, they welcomed the help and support they received from the original owners, knowing they could never have done it by themselves. The newest restaurant overlooks the water along the boardwalk of Shoppes at University Place. Open for almost a month now, McManaman says he renovated the space, formerly a Bad Dogs spot, into a classy, French-style brunch spot.

Creative Loafing: What are your most popular dishes?

McManaman: "It depends on the person. We have a lot of avocado dishes (a BLT with avocado, a southwest salad, an avocado omelet, and even an avocado benedict) and more. They are all big sellers. The usual omelet with smoked sausage and cheddar cheese is also popular among the omelets and is my own favorite dish."

What is the most distinctive or unusual dish on the menu?

"As far as distinctive, we do a crab cake benedict and I think when a lot of people see that it's something unusual and they see it and think that it's a different dish that other restaurants don't seem to carry as much. We also have a lobster roll that people from New England often come in for and are impressed by. Our lobster is flown fresh and they cut it and shell it here. It is only offered as a special and is always a huge seller."

What do enjoy most about working here?

"I enjoy the pace. I worked as an Emergency Medical Technician for 15 years, spent eight years on an ambulance, and worked in two very busy emergency rooms. I like being able to move around and talk to people. Being a stay-at-home dad for the past six years has been great, but I've been working since I was 16 years old and was ready to get back to a fast-paced atmosphere. I'm so glad for the opportunity. The owners wanted to make sure that we liked them just as much as they liked us. Instead of just handing over the business, the original owners guided us every step of the way. They care about us and want to see us succeed, which is another reason I just love doing this. I've been here every day and have had only one day off, but I enjoy it."

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