A New Venezuelan Food Truck Brings Beachside Bliss to Bradenton

Good Bite

The Fried Red Snapper is a crowd pleaser, from the Carribean Sea to Sarasota Bay. Photo by William Jimenez.

The scent of sizzling seafood floats through the air surrounding Chipi’s Food, a new food truck in Bradenton. The truck’s ocean blue hue calls to mind relaxing days spent lounging on the beach, listening to the crash of the waves. For Owners and Chefs Rebeca Fernandez and William Jimenez, the husband and wife team behind Chipi’s Food, their mobile restaurant is the ideal vehicle to blend beachside staples from their native Venezuela with American delights like tacos and sandwiches.

The couple started Chipi’s in March 2023, but Fernandez began her culinary career at the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota, where she had the opportunity to work in the kitchen, preparing meals for banquets, the restaurant and room service. “After I had my child, I left that job, but I always had the desire to do something for myself, something with food,” she says. The pair brainstormed the idea of opening a food truck that would feature a menu different from most other similar establishments’ specialties. They called the truck Chipi’s Food, paying tribute to “chipi chipi”, the nickname that Fernandez’s mother used to call the small children in her family. “I told my husband, what if we did seafood?” she adds. “You can go to a restaurant and get seafood, but we don’t have a lot of street seafood here.”

Inspired by Venezuela’s culture of beachside food vendors and iconic coastal cuisine, they developed a menu highlighting some of the country’s most beloved dishes. One of their bestsellers is the Fried Red Snapper, a whole fish served with tostones (crispy fried plantains), avocado and housemade coleslaw. The red snapper is a common sight on tables in Venezuela and across the Caribbean. “Google recommends us as the best fried fish in the area for our Red Snapper,” says Jimenez, “and this is a great achievement because we’re a food truck that’s just opened and is competing with businesses that have been open for years.”

Aside from snapper, diners can chow down on crunchy tostones, which are served with cheese, homemade sauce and coleslaw. While Fernandez and Jimenez don’t want to be just another taco truck, their shrimp tacos and fish tacos pack stellar flavor and freshness. Don’t forget to add the homemade red and green salsa for an extra kick. To appeal to Americans’ palettes, the truck offers Shrimp Po’Boys, Grouper Sandwiches and Lobster Rolls, but the owners hope that Chipi’s introduces them to Venezuela’s food culture. Patrons can sample refreshing seaside dishes like a cold seafood medley called Rompe Colchon and a Tuna Antipasto, which Chipi’s packages in portable jars perfect for beating the heat by the water. The business also sells Frescolita, a cream soda that adds a sweet twist to any meal.

As the menu expands, Fernandez and Jimenez keep the restaurant’s ties to Venezuela strong. “We want Americans to learn about our food and flavors,” adds Fernandez, “and like they have adopted the taco, we want them to adopt a bit of our gastronomy.”

Chipi’s Food, 3326 Cortez Rd W., Bradenton, https://www.canva.com/design/DAFbs9W2wGo/cmHe0i8FS9UNx7wEd2-rNQ/view?website#2:menu.

The Fried Red Snapper is a crowd pleaser, from the Carribean Sea to Sarasota Bay. Photo by William Jimenez.

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