WINDERMERE From chimi burgers and mofongo to surf and turf and skirt steak, local fans of Latin-Caribbean cuisine now have a new Windermere eatery at which to satisfy their cravings.
Chimiking, a family-owned restaurant chain, opened its newest location on Conroy-Windermere Road two months ago after purchasing the space from a Colombian restaurant.
“We actually spent a lot of time closed after we bought it from the (previous) people here,” said Gabriel Roedan, owner and manager of the Windermere location. “Our other restaurant got really busy, and we didn’t have time to work on this one. People were waiting on it, and every week, it keeps on growing.”
Chimiking — a namesake for chimichurri burgers — offers various Caribbean and Latin foods, from basic rice and beans to shrimp and empanadas. Roedan said the most popular item so far is the mofongo, a mix of fried green plantains mashed together in a bowl with some pork belly, butter and garlic.
Another popular item, he said, is the surf and turf, a mixture of the classic mofongo — filled this time with lobster bisque — and skirt steak. But the chimis are not to be left out.
“What made us famous was the chimis, which are Dominican burgers with seasoned meat and cabbage, tomato and a pink sauce, which is mayonnaise and ketchup,” Roedan said.
The brand, which began with a food truck on Orange Blossom Trail 10 years ago, has since expanded to include two food trucks and two restaurants. It’s a family business, with Roedan and his family running both restaurants and the original food truck. The second food truck — located in Kissimmee — operates more as a franchise.
Originally, Chimiking was meant to be more of a fast-food joint, but the overwhelming community response and clientele fostered more of a sit-down restaurant atmosphere with table servers in a relaxed, casual environment, Roedan said.
Current specials at the Windermere location include a happy hour, lunch specials and a Yelp promotion in which customers who check in receive a free dessert. And the community response has been outstanding, Roedan said.
“Everyone who comes here says they needed something like this in their area, with Caribbean foods like rice, beans, plantains and mofongo,” he said. “They were really waiting for it.”
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].