Chances are, you’ve probably seen the bright yellow food truck on the side of the road at MM 49.5, gulfside. If not, it’s because the truck itself is obscured by the crowd waiting in line for the yummy food.
It’s called Cocomo’s. The mobile food vendor is named after the Beach Boys song “Kokomo” which paints a picture of two lovers taking a trip to a relaxing, fictional island. Luckily, there’s nothing fictional about owners Jack Bernowitz and Diane Keating’s fresh innovative Mexican food joint that serves up tasty tacos, burritos and quesadillas Monday through Saturday.
Bernowitz and Keating, who were recently married in August, used to work on Wall Street. But they wanted to escape the concrete jungle, so they traded Manhattan for Marathon. Keating said her husband had always wanted a shack on the side of the road; and that’s what he got.
“I’m German, my wife is Irish, so we decided to cook Mexican food,” said Bernowitz laughing.
Everything on Cocomo’s seasonal menu is made from scratch — down to the chipotle and guacamole “crema.” The menu offers chipotle chicken grilled in a housemade sweet and spicy sauce, a featured fresh catch of the day, and don’t forget their wheels of Mexican street corn that are brushed with a cilantro pesto, grilled, and topped with Cotija cheese. Is it time for lunch yet?
On cold rainy days, Cocomo’s may introduce a nice chili or a Mexican soup. “Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and an idea pops into my head. Actually most of the recipes have happened like that,” said Bernowitz.
Since its grand opening in late September, business has been booming. Last Saturday, Cocomo’s opened to a line 20 people deep.
The challenge of feeding the masses is directly related to another frustration. A city ordinance established in 2012 limits vendor carts and mobile food units’ hours of operation to two consecutive hours in a 24-hour period. “We’ve done everything right by abiding by regulations and licenses and we’re only open for 2 hours (noon to 2 p.m.) and no more. It’s hard because we get here at 9 a.m. and we usually don’t leave till 5 p.m. due to prep and cleanup,” said Keating.
However, Bernowitz and Keating have hopes the ordinance can be amended. “We’ll petition. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem because everyone seems to be in agreement that this is an outdated rule, “ said Bernowitz.
Until then, what you see is what you get.
“We’re just honest, hard workers that want to enjoy Marathon and make the people happy and so far, that seems to be working,” said Keating.