By Jaimie M. Engle
A Look at Brevard’s Eclectic Food & Beverage Community
Spanning more than seventy miles, our county is home to a variety of food and beverage companies with unique passions, tastes, and products. In this feature, SpaceCoast Living spotlights several local chefs and “foodie” types to introduce readers to new places and remind them of old favorites.
As Brevard’s only full service, all organic restaurant, owners Dustin and Lea Barnes are proud to invite you to visit The Jungle Organic, located at 2500 N. Hwy A1A in Indialantic. Grass fed meats, wild caught seafood, and unique vegetarian items prove that this restaurant is one of a kind. But twice is the charm. The Jungle Organic was destroyed not once, but twice by hurricanes in 2004. “We rebuilt after the first one and on the day of our grand re-opening, the second hurricane came through and completely destroyed our business again,” said Lea Barnes. Co-owner Dustin Barnes added, “With the support of our community and loyal customers, we were able to rebuild a third time and grow to what we are today.” The couple boasts that dedication and hard work pay off, not to mention the full service marketplace to include supplements, groceries, fresh produce, and beauty products. They enjoy sharing made from scratch food, but also their extensive knowledge of eating healthy. Eating organic isn’t always an easy sell, however, since food can taste far different from its chemically laced, additive saturated counterparts. With the help of an amazing group of employees that love what they do, the message reaches their customers. Visit JungleOrganic.com for more.
Welcome to Two Chicks and A Pot
Growing up in North Carolina, Beth Hazley assumed all restaurants bought fresh and made from scratch. She moved to Florida and worked for a major food production corporation. Phone calls from local restaurants and caterers placing orders for premade potato salad, trays of slaw, and pre-cooked meatballs came as a shocking realization. Beth said, “I can do better.” What started as an idea to cook organic and healthy for others snowballed into a full catering service booked a solid year in advance. “We are positioned to service clients who care about locally grown and organic foods,” explained Beth. “People who want something outside the box and different.” By cooking seasonally, the company buys locally grown produce that uses organic methods and properties to keep the food healthy and clean, while minimizing their carbon footprint. “We’re two chicks and a pot,” said co-founder Laura Vandiver. “Let’s keep it simple.” While catering for weddings, corporate events, and small venues, the focus remains to provide a unique experience, be it mini-meals at stations to satisfy client’s with food allergies or allowing homegrown produce to be served in the bride’s favorite meal. For more information, visit TwoChicksAndaPot.com and follow them on Facebook at Facebook.com/TwoChicksAndaPot.
Welcome to Playlinda Brewing Co.
Located in Titusville, this world-class craft brewery inspires to set the “bar” even higher. Brewmaster and business partner Ron Raike approaches the process with creativity and experienced techniques. His unique craft beers pleasured Winter Park guests of both Cask & Larder Bar and the Shipyard Brewery, where he served as a certified cicerone for two years. Brewery owners Donna and Bryan Scott also own Barn Light Electric. Their full circle moment happened after purchasing the property in downtown Titusville, when a light bulb, or rather a neon beer sign, lit up in their heads. “We’ve witnessed the hardships the community has endured,” said Donna Scott. “The relentless pride of the locals, in our hometown, inspired my husband Bryan and I to fulfill our dream.” With the flourishing craft beer scene across the country, discriminating beer palettes are more domestically located than ever, catching the attention of beer geeks worldwide. Playalinda Brewing Co. is committed to produce best-in-category artisanal goods using local talent and resources. By trusting their instincts and following their dreams, the brewery has grown exponentially in the last seven years, requiring several moves to larger locations. For more information, visit PlayalindaBrewingCompany.com and follow them on Facebook at Facebook.com/PlayalindaBrewingCompany.
There’s never a dull moment at the Cocoa Beach Pier, and with former Hell’s Kitchen contestant, Chef Amanda Davenport, the Westgate Resort is always an adventure. With a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean, the Pier’s one-of-a-kind atmosphere draws in customers. “I am fortunate to get to see this gorgeous view on a daily basis,” shared Chef Amanda, who mentioned the hardest part of her job is going home. Daily shipments of fresh fish and fabulous drinks bring both locals and tourists to the table; from buttery New England lobster rolls (to die for!) to fresh gator marinated in-house and lightly fried to order. The Pier draws more than one million visitors annually, and has become quite the Mecca for surfers. Home to four restaurants, five tropical bars, gift shops, and boutiques, Chef Amanda boasts, “It’s also the best spot to watch the Kennedy Space Center rocket launches.” David Siegel, President and CEO of Westgate Resorts with longtime business associate Jim Gissy, purchased the Pier from the original owners. Both men have strong ties to the Central Florida region and will continue to enhance the wonderful tradition of the Cocoa Beach Pier. For more information visit CocoaBeachPier.com
Excellent hospitality and delicious food are served up daily in downtown Melbourne. In the art-filled dining room of Matt’s Casbah, guests enjoy lunch al fresco on the patio, sushi in the Waverly Room, or specialty wines selected from the wine cellar. “The commodity is the concept; being different is what drives me,” explained Chef Matt Nugnes, owner. “You can pretty much get the same domestic or import beer, wine, and chicken entrée anywhere in the U.S. At Matt’s, it has to be different.” With a hot after-hours club scene, the hip environment brings customers back. People have met at Matt’s, gotten married, and returned to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays. But this didn’t start as a happily ever after story. Matt lost his business in 2004 to hurricanes Jean and Francis. Out of much adversity, Matt’s Casbah was born. “And I couldn’t have done it without my two absolutely fantastic business partners.” The chef-driven focus allows diners a visually colorful and highly palatable culinary experience created by a kitchen crew obsessed with food. Of Matt’s great team members, one was recently accepted into the Culinary Institute of America, a great reward for her and the restaurant. But the ultimate reward is being so well embraced by Brevardians. For reservations and entertainment schedule visit MattsCasbah.com