JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – The Loving Cup Hash House in Jacksonville Beach, referred to by locals as The Hash House for short, is quickly becoming a favorite breakfast and brunch spot. The reason: the owner serves up more than your typical bacon and eggs -- he also brings a musical experience to customers who eat there.
Open just a year and a half, owner and general manager Daniel Altman wants to not only feed his customers, he wants them to enjoy the music he provides from an instrument and his own voice.
"La la la la la la laaa," Altman belted out during our interview.
It's something he does for his customers, too, because he just loves to sing. And, he's been doing it forever.
"I’ve been singing my whole life. I basically came out of the womb singing, is what my mom said," Altman told News4Jax.
And his voice is combined with his ability to play piano -- while his customers eat with a smile.
“I love doing acoustic covers in general whether it's guitar or piano and to kind of just make things mind and play around,” said Altman.
If you do stop in for a bite, you'll want to order a round of mimosas, because Altman brings the champagne to the table with a side of opera.
Altman says while he does have a lot of regulars who come to the restaurant, it's exciting when they bring their friends without telling them what to expect while they are there.
"They won't tell them and they just order a bottle champagne and be like, all right, and just wait for me to bust out in song and everybody's kind of surprised," he said.
Interestingly, Altman says he didn't listen to opera until he got into college, but when he did, he fell in love with it.
"It's pretty much the Olympics of singing, so I figured you could sing opera," he said. "It’s something I love to do and been passionate about."
Altman hopes by combining his restaurant with his love for music, his patrons will get the same thing from it that he does.
“I think music is more powerful than we realize sometimes, and I would just encourage everyone to share what they're passionate about," said Altman. “And I think sometimes especially with corporations, you miss the personal touch.”
News4Jax asked Altman if he ever gets nervous about singing in front of people. He says not really, however, he admits, when in front of his parents or brother, well, that's another story.
But he shouldn't be nervous, because he's rather good at what he does. In fact, his musical talent doesn't end with opera or the piano, he can play about five instruments and sing in about six different languages.
"What makes my heart melt is that people say I made their day," said Altman. "It's kind of living the dream because it's kind of a mix of everything I like to do."
"My whole idea was to have it feel like you're in your friends living room but still have really good food, amazing coffee," explained Altman. "For the most part, we try to be local but give something that nobody else had here before."