A Server Laid Off Because of COVID-19 Has a New Project: A Puerto Rican Food Truck
The island of Puerto Rico stretches more than 100 miles from east to west and more than 35 miles from north to south. When North Port's Antonio Pereira was trying to come up with a name for his new food truck, which serves dishes rooted in Puerto Rican cuisine, he wanted a title that would reference the island, but indirectly. So he turned to the island's dimensions, and came up with the name Savor 100x35.
"I want people to taste the flavors of Puerto Rico, but I didn't want to box myself into tradition, because we're not traditional," Pereira says. He calls the truck's food "urban Latin fusion," and the menu contains a limited number of appetizers, bowls and sides with ingredients such as yucca, plantains, cilantro, avocado, rice, beans and guava combined with chicken, beef and pork.
Before opening the truck, Pereira worked as a server at Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse in downtown Sarasota for 10 years. He was laid off because of the shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and scrambled to figure out a backup plan. "I was forced to do this on the fly," he says. On his first day, he served 250 people.
Pereira is mindful of not just how the food tastes, but also how it looks. "Our bowls look cool," he says. "They're not just rice and beans slapped on a plate." Pereira's eye helps him appeal to both older people looking for classic Puerto Rican flavors, as well as trend-spotting young people.
So far, Savor 100x35 has been setting up in various locations in North Port and Port Charlotte, but Pereira says he eventually plans to hit up Sarasota, Venice and Punta Gorda. He takes orders online and over the phone ("The phones are ringing every day," he says) and the truck offers curbside pickup if you don't want to get out of your car. "We're trying to adjust and adapt," Pereira says. "It's nothing like it used to be."