ROCKAWAY BEACH — A Southern-style food truck opens Friday in the backyard of a popular bar, serving up a locally sourced menu with lighter options perfect for the beach.
The Cookout opens for dinner in the backyard of the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, which opened to the public last year on Beach 87th Street in Rockaway Beach.
The food — which includes sandwiches, ribs and salads, and also brunch — will be prepared in a sleek, 22-foot trailer equipped with a six-burner range and a smoker, owner Dan Cipriani, 45, said.
"We wanted to do a full-service restaurant. We didn't want a beach shack," Cipriani, who also owns Urban Rustic in Williamsburg, said. "We want to cook."
The menu was created by chef Patrick Quinn, 33, who grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina and has cooked at restaurants in Manhattan, Los Angeles and Colorado.
There's a shrimp po'boy, a Carolina pulled pork cooked for two days and smoked chicken wings with a sriracha-honey sauce.
Smoked BBQ tofu, a grilled triple-cheese sandwich, masa-dusted shrimp and red quinoa and kale salad are on the menu, too.
"I didn't want to alienate vegetarians," he said. "I'm trying to keep a balance."
The offerings will hopefully attract a mix of "down for the day" beachgoers along with residents, Cipriani said.
"There's no other barbecue space [in Rockaway,]" he said, adding that while they've committed to stay through November, he hopes to keep the truck open year-round.
Once The Cookout gets their feet wet they'd like to add delivery throughout the peninsula.
Many locals and visitors got the chance to try out the menu at the Taste of Rockaway Beach food tour May 4. Quinn said the response was overwhelming.
"You couldn't ask for a better introduction to the neighborhood," he said.
Cipriani, an avid surfer, had been to Rockaway plenty of times for waves, but he built a relationship with the owners of the Surf Club, Bradach Walsh and Brandon D'Leo, while helping out after Hurricane Sandy.
The sense of community heightened after the devastating storm is something he hopes to bring out in the restaurant, with weekly tasting tables.
"All my memories are either in the kitchen or the dining room," he said. "My idea for Cookout is come, sit down and eat."