Funky Business

The Funky Fusion Food Truck Has Taken Over the Kitchen at Brew Life Brewing

Jenna and Jackie Foster are pumping out pub-friendly food with a Filipino twist.

By Lauren Jackson July 13, 2023

Cauliflower bites from The Funky Kitchen at Brew Life.

Cauliflower bites from The Funky Kitchen at Brew Life.

Jenna and Jackie Foster's Filipino food truck Funky Fusion has found a more permanent home at Brew Life Brewing in south Sarasota. The new endeavor is called The Funky Kitchen at Brew Life, and it represents the culmination of a long collaboration between the brewery and the Fosters, who have been setting up their truck at the small brewpub since it opened in 2017.

"We were a small brewery, they were a food truck and we worked so well together from day one," says Brew Life owner Mick Cohn. "During the pandemic, we attained a food service license and serving food on-site was always on our mind as a utilization of space and resources. That’s when we started talking more seriously about them coming in regularly.”

After the power outages brought on by Hurricane Ian last year caused the brewery to lose a significant amount of beer, Cohn moved Brew Life's beer production to 3 Bridges Brewing in Venice to help grow the business and open up kitchen space for Jenna and Jackie. The couple will continue to run their truck, in addition to preparing food at Brew Life.

While the Funky Fusion food truck was known primarily for its Filipino fusion, Cohn says the Fosters will maintain a Filipino edge but edit the menu to cater to the brewpub crowd.

“Since April 1, 2017, they have been growing with us, and now we have the opportunity to really meld our products together," says Cohn. "Chef Jenna is so creative. Everything she makes is righteous. And Jackie, well, she takes care of business."

Throughout the month of July, the Fosters will be tweaking their permanent menu by serving rotating specials to patrons and gauging feedback on each dish. Jackie achieves this by circling the bar, running food and checking in with guests.

Cauliflower bites (pictured above) are enveloped in batter and fried. Jenna tosses them in a sweet and salty glaze with a generous helping of garlic for added punch. The result is sticky, sweet, full of umami and deeply satisfying. It’s the kind of food that pairs well with beer, encouraging you to take a sip, then another bite, over and over again.

Crispy pork belly with fried rice and pancit.

Crispy pork belly with fried rice and pancit.

On July 1, Funky Fusion celebrated both the six-year anniversary of its founding and the launch of Funky Kitchen. To celebrate, Jenna served the crispiest fried pork belly I’ve ever tasted. Tender, fatty belly was fried to a golden brown and the skin shattered with each bite. It was a textural revelation. While the dish won’t be available every week, it’s a positive indicator of what’s to come.

Currently, Funky Kitchen is operating on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Brew Life, with plans to adapt as the Fosters find their sweet spot.

And, speaking of sweet, the menu also features spectacular desserts. Sticky rolls receive a facelift with the addition of coconut, banana and jackfruit. Chocolate banana bread, meanwhile, is spongy yet decadent—and vegan, to boot.

As Brew Life and the Funky Kitchen continue to evolve, Cohn is clear about one thing. “The second someone walks in the bar we greet them by name, and if we don’t know it, we learn it," he says. "We want everyone to feel welcome here, because service is everything.”

Brew Life Brewing opens at 2 p.m on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and at noon Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 5765 S. Beneva Road, Sarasota. For more information, call (941) 952-3831 or visit the brewery's website.

For information about the Funky Fusion food truck, visit the truck's website or follow the business on Facebook or Instagram.

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