In search of your next good meal? Look no further than the Advanced Auto Parts parking lot at 8304 U.S. Highway 301 N.
That’s where the Parrish Cuban Grill food truck is parked from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. every day except Monday.
Unless, of course, the food truck is at a church event in the Buffalo Creek area or Lakewood Ranch, a chili cook-off in Parrish or elsewhere.
Loyal customers say it’s well worth the trip.
The go-getter known as Ernesto Beaton, 28, rolled out the Parrish Cuban Grill in July and has built a growing following.
“We see them over here and we come over here and get lunch quite often because it’s delicious. It’s our little honey hole tucked away here in Parrish,” dental worker Jacy Wallace said.
“You need to try it, because when the word gets out, it’s gone. My favorite is the ropa vieja (shredded beef in Spanish sauce with yellow rice) and my co-worker loves the plantain. So when we see the truck here, we come right over.”
Caleb Martin works at a nearby animal clinic and also likes the ropa vieja or the pernil de puerco con nojo (shredded pork with mojo sauce).
“Vaca frita (crispy beef) is also a fan favorite in the area,” Martin said, adding that he also comes for the chicken empanada pastry.
Beaton is assisted in the business by his mother and father, who handle the cooking.
“We came up from Miami a year and a half ago and live in a Parrish neighborhood. We wanted to do something different,” he said.
Originally, the plan was to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant, but finding the right real estate proved difficult. The food truck has been so successful that Beaton is planning to put a second truck into operation and is aiming to open a conventional restaurant as well by year’s end.
“It’s been our bread and butter,” Beaton said.
L.J. Jones says that many of the staff at the auto parts store get their lunch from the Parrish Cuban Grill.
“Anything with pork,” Jones said when asked about his favorite.
Another customer said she likes the plantains and guava pastries. “Whatever you get, you’re not going to leave hungry,” she said.
Jayma LaPlante and Jordan Agramonte came for the Thursday special, which was Arros Imperial, imperial rice with chicken and cheese.
It seems everyone has a favorite, including the proprietor.
Beaton goes for the Cuban sandwich, which true to tradition contains no salami, no lettuce and no tomato.
Just ham, cheese, pickle, “good old pork” and crunchy Cuban bread.
It has been Americanized a bit, Beaton said, with mayo and mustard.
In addition to the daily main dishes, which are mostly in the $9.99 range, the Parrish Cuban Grill also offers healthy bowls for $10.95.
Among the choices are the Flaca Bowl (chopped grilled chicken breast) and the Palomilla Steak Bowl (Cuban style steak with chopped onions and parsley.
For more information, visit the Parrish Cuban Grill Facebook page or call 941-404-7483.