With a permanent location at University Village Shops & Dining, fans of The Food Rock’s Caribbean island-inspired cuisine no longer have to search for the popular food truck or hope it shows up in their neighborhood. The restaurant – you’ll know it by the thatched tiki umbrellas shading patio tables – overlooks a lake at University Village Shops, a half mile north of Miromar Outlets on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway.
The Food Rock Café restaurant offers “a little bit of everything” – from salads and homemade soups, tacos, gyros, even a Philly cheesesteak. Many of the dishes have an island twist, evident in the hints of spices, mélange of flavors and influences from owner JD Damas’ Haitian homeland and the Columbian heritage of his wife and co-owner Jennifer Verbel Damas.
The café also features empanadas fried to crispy perfection, deep-fried plantains with pulled pork, whole snapper, and cornmeal-crusted arepa con queso. Many dishes are accompanied by the bright-green garlic-cilantro mix, sweet yum yum sauce or pineapple glaze. For the ultimate burger, Damas shares his secret: Use all three.