BRANDON — It was supposed to be a hot dog dream.
Like Portillo's is to Chicago or Mel's to Tampa, Juan Quezada thought he could increase the business to his gas station if he just added some gourmet franks.
So he concocted the name Bunfire and started offering hot dogs his way in his native Fort Myers. The idea lasted about a month, but the name has endured more than two years.
"People started asking for tacos and we grew quite a bit," he said.
After making his $1 tacos on 4-inch corn tortillas popular enough to expand to three locations inside gas stations in Southwest Florida, Quezada has brought the concept to Brandon inside the newly rebranded Shell gas station at 965 E Brandon Blvd.
Bunfire is known for offering more than a half dozen types of tacos all for a buck or two and all standard with onions, cilantro and feta cheese. In addition to the standard fare, Bunfire dishes up gyro tacos, al pastor tacos (pineapple and shredded pork) and gator tacos — during snowbird season.
Just as his hot dog customers asked for tacos, Quezada's taco customers have asked for gyros. So while pico de gallo and sour cream filled steak and chicken tacos may lead the way, Bunfire customers may also opt for the tzatziki sauce on a lamb-beef gyro or nachos, burritos and quesadillas.
"We fall between authentic Mexican and Chipotle," Quezada said.
The restaurant, scheduled to open this week, has future plans to include outdoor seating, an app for ordering online, a walk-up window and delivery service during dinner time that also will include select offerings from inside the Shell store.
Call (813) 501-7855 to order.
Black Rock Grill fills old Mimi's Cafe spot
BRANDON — Keep the shrimp appetizer bubbling on your stone, but take your steak off and cook it one bite at a time when you visit Black Rock Bar & Grill.
The 6-year-old Michigan-based concept built around a square volcanic piece of granite heated to 755 degrees officially opened its second Tampa area location last month at the Brandon address where Mimi's Café formerly occupied.
The rock stays hot for hours, so there's no rush to get through your steak. Your servers will explain how long to keep your cut of meat on the 1-inch thick slab — usually less than a minute — to prepare each bite to your temperature liking.
No matter what you choose from the menu, the restaurant offers signature sauces. The shrimp app boils in a Cajun butter sauce and is served with garlic bread for dipping.
The Black Rock dipping sauce accompanies your steak and so too does some flavor butter to help your steak sizzle on the rock.
The menu features a plethora of protein picks including chicken and seafood or burgers and dogs. Visit blackrockrestaurants.com for the full Florida menu, that varies slightly from its original northern options.
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