All he really wanted was a hot dog.
But that request started a series of events that by mid-March culminated in the opening of Shipyard Cafe at Derecktor Shipyard in Dania Beach, Fla.
The cafe is really a converted refrigerated container and a food truck, which are now parked full time at the yard and selling food from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday-Friday.
It started just after Christmas when Derecktor General Manager Ken Imondi said he wanted an alternative to the food trucks that stop by to feed laborers in the yard.
Sam and Joyce Frusterio, who own Dart Canvas and have their office at the yard, volunteered to find it.
“I know a lot of people and so I told him I’d find one,” Sam Frusterio said.
But none of his food truck contacts wanted to park at the yard full time. So Frusterio created his own. And he hired former yacht Chef Bill Fahey to run it.
Before working on yachts, Fahey ran pizzerias in New England. And after 15 years on yachts such as M/Y Contrarian and M/Y Mystique, he opened Big Wheel Pizza on Andrews Avenue in Ft. Lauderdale. He sold that a few years ago and has been freelancing since. When Frusterio asked him to join him in his new venture, Fahey said he jumped “all in”.
In 60 days, Frusterio and Fahey outfitted both trailers — one is just a kitchen, complete with 12 gas burners, fridge, freezers, convection oven and fryer — and created the menu. Shipyard Cafe offers traditional breakfast and lunch fare including bacon and eggs, omelets, sandwiches, hot subs and salads. There are a few fried food options, including fish and chips, and hot dogs, of course.
“We wanted to have an option for crew, captains and owners that is not available on the food trucks,” said James Brewer, director of sales and marketing for the yard.
They hired a pastry chef to make fresh breakfast goods daily and two other employees to help keep the place running.
“We’re going to have a lot of the food ready, prepared that morning, so that when the guys hear the horn, they can get their food right away,” Frusterio said. “They only have 30 minutes for lunch.”
They also built a deck where the old railway pulley used to sit near the guard gate and put up an open-sided shed to give customers a place to sit out of the sun. New patio furniture is sprinkled throughout and a new television hangs on the fence.
It’s more than Imondi expected, but it’s the kind of cafe Frusterio and Fahey say they wanted to create.
“Every time I see Ken, he says ‘all I wanted was a hotdog stand’,” Frusterio said.
Lucy Chabot Reed is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.