Everybody loves a comeback story; The Mighty Ducks, Space Jam, or for those of you who are food truck junkies, the movie “Chef”. If you haven’t seen the movie, I would suggest it, as I feel it’s a great tribute to the food truck scene. It’s an emotional experience to watch Chef Carl Casper follow his dream and create a food truck to serve what he is really passionate about. There are obstacles along the way but it only served to strengthen his family bonds, and fuel his passion.
While you may not be able to eat one of Chef Casper’s Cubans in real life, we have another food truck in St. Augustine that parallels the nuance and passion that the fictional Chef Casper might deliver. I’m talking about none other than Funkadelic Food Truck. As one of the first food trucks to hit Jax, Jerry and Amanda, the owners, were a powerful force in the scene and had followers who expect nothing less than lines 20-30 Funkateers deep. They decided to follow their dreams and move to the Caribbean and open a small cafe, and tragedy struck in the form of a natural disaster just 5 months later. Both Hurricanes Irma and Maria decimated the islands, causing Funkadelic to have to relocate stateside.
They currently serve at many St. Augustine locations and some Jacksonville spots. We visited them at Dog Rose brewery which is quaintly located in historic St. Augustine. If you are a fan of low key dining experiences, I would highly recommend catching them at Dog Rose. There are a handful of tables, a couple shuffleboard tables, a tv to watch sports, and a classy and tasteful bar area. The trailer is parked out back but is very accessible for guests to walk up and order.
What I will say about dining with Funk is that the menu will more than likely broaden your culinary horizons in more ways than one and Amanda is always willing to help offer suggestions and explain the menu. The service from my experience is always friendly and professional.
The first item we tried was the Roasted Beet Home Fries (6$). Probably the most remarkable thing for me about this menu item was the creativity of using a very unique vegetable in such a familiar way. If you are a fan of beets you will absolutely love they way they are roasted and paired with the savory funk sauce, not to mention the beautiful hue of the dish. Food always tastes better when it looks pretty.
Speaking of which, one of the first things I had tried at retro Funk a couple years back were the Shrimp Sliders ($9.75 for 3), and let me assure you, some things don’t change in this case for the better. If you were a fan of old Funk then you will be satisfied to know that Chef Jerry is coming back with a vengeance. The sriracha slaw provides a heat and sensation that is slightly tempered by the Funk sauce. The entire dish has a taste that is so balanced and fresh which seems to be the Funkadelic mantra.
We also tried the Fish Sliders ($14 for 3). As a preliminary note, the shrimp sliders were my favorite menu item in the past, but that is no longer the case. If you like the shrimp, I would very strongly recommend the fish. In my opinion it is like the older brother that is impossible to live up to growing up, it is very similar to the shrimp but better. I guess it is a preference thing, but the fish is a red snapper and absolutely melts in your mouth. I love shrimp, but this fish is masterfully prepared, and simply can’t be beat.
A lot of times restaurants have some issues finding side dishes that they can showcase their creativity with. Funk is not one of those restaurants. They serve a Pasta Salad ($4) unlike any I have ever tried. The dressing, a honey/rosemary/balsamic vinaigrette, is such a gem that I think this item is a must-order. Without the balsamic, the honey and rosemary make such a pleasant and sweet alternative to a traditional Italian dressing. But what I think really shows the culinary mind of the power couple is the balsamic in addition. It is such a stark contrast to the sweetness of the honey-rosemary that the overall flavor of the dish is both powerful and memorable. One frustration is that I probably won’t look at pasta salad the same way again. Thanks Jerry…
The last item was one that I’m still not even sure I actually ate. Like, have you ever had an experience like seeing a minor celebrity in an airport and you’re like, “Did that just happen?” Well that’s my relationship with the Gourmet Grilled Cheese ($9). Let’s take the bread. I’m not even sure what Rosemary Potato Bread would taste like outside of this creation, but it was the perfect texture, thickness, and flavor. LOVED it. Now excuse me while I go on a small cheese soap box (again). These guys get cheese. Many people don’t understand, you can’t just throw any cheese in a grilled sandwich, it completely depends on the ingredients. Funk uses a homemade datil pepper jelly, which being a jelly has both savory and sweet elements. To compliment the jelly Funk uses mozzarella and provolone which is a pristine match for the jelly. They add bacon for a little salt, and avocado for an element of freshness. It was truly fantastic.
It’s kind of not fair for me to tell you that you may need to need to experience the entire menu, but yet here I am. You need to go try as much of this stuff as you can, because these dudes know their stuff. You won’t be sorry. The passion Jerry and Amanda have for what they do is noticeable, and it is exciting to have a business with the excellence and creativity they they do as a part of our community and culture.
Funkadelic spends most of their days (Tuesday – Saturday) at Lee & Cates, 802 Anastasia Blvd from 11:00 – 3:30. Double check Funkadelic’s Instagram for the most up to date locations as sometimes they are elsewhere for catering.