BITE-SIZED

PLAYFUL FOOD

Inspired by street food, Chew Chew owner Blake Burnett offers lobster corn dogs and so much more

Caron Streibich
Caron Streibich
Caron Streibich
Caron Streibich
Caron Streibich
Caron Streibich
Caron Streibich
Caron Streibich
Caron Streibich
Caron Streibich
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Less than a year ago, Blake Burnett revved up the engine of his new food truck — and he hasn’t looked back. The owner and chef of Chew Chew describes his truck’s menu as “fresh and eclectic.”

“I try to be playful with our food, but use quality ingredients and make everything from scratch,” he says.

Offerings change about once a week, but lucky for you (and me!) several mainstays remain due to their popularity. Top-sellers include lobster corn dogs ($10), Korean BBQ short rib melt ($8) and a newer item, goat cheese polenta fries ($6).

I’ve had the massive Korean melt on toasted sourdough several times — its tangy, salty homemade kimchi coleslaw adds another dimension to the savory shredded barbecue short ribs and melty smoked Gouda. (It’s perfect paired with the accompanying crispy homemade potato chips.) But lately my weakness has been the polenta fries, artfully arranged rectangles of polenta goodness topped with goat cheese crumbles, crisp bacon pieces and a scattering of diced scallions. The way the cheese slightly melts but doesn’t get liquid-y is what makes these so fabulous. And I could drink the creamy basil aioli dipping sauce.

As for the Maine lobster corn dogs — where else in Northeast Florida can you get skewers of tender lobster pieces, battered and fried to a golden brown and served with a lemon Dijon honey mustard dipping sauce? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

If burgers are your thing, go for the trio of BBQ slider burgers ($8), which are nicely seasoned and then piled with bacon, white cheddar, fried jalapeños and homemade barbecue sauce.

And vegetarians, don’t fret: Caprese grilled cheese ($7) on parmesan-crusted sourdough is for you. The mozzarella is marinated in a basil pesto and topped with juicy sliced tomatoes. Yum.

Most items are served with a generous portion of Chew Chew’s homemade chips, which are just the right balance of crunchy and crispy, and perfectly salted (and ridiculously addicting!).

After working for several years at Eleven South Bistro & Bar in Jax Beach, Burnett progressed from salad prep to executive sous chef. He then helped open the Speckled Hen on Philips Highway (since closed), and was most recently at Corner Bistro & Wine Bar in Tapestry Park. So why did he take the leap to run his own food truck?

“Street food has always inspired me when I travel,” Burnett says. “It’s a great way to get to know the people and the culture. I’ve also always wanted to own my own small business, so it just made sense.”

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