Food Dudes Kitchen owner, chef and all around utility player Buddy Falzon loves what he does at this cozy beach road eatery. Even though he works 60 or more hours a week, sometimes cleaning late into the night 200 pounds of shrimp, or cutting 100 pounds of fish daily, he says he wouldn’t change a thing.
Falzon has owned the restaurant for four years since buying it from the two founders. But he has plenty of history with the place. Within a month of opening the doors, Falzon was enjoying a beer at the Food Dudes bar when he asked if there were any job openings. He started work the next day as a dishwasher, gradually moving up to line cook.
“It’s been a crazy experience,” Falzon says of the move from worker to owner/worker. Taking over as owner resulted in more than a few 90-hour weeks. “It was a rollercoaster for a while but things “are now running as they should,” he says.
As for fine tuning over its 10-year run, there’s a little more art now on the walls and a different beer lineup. And the surf videos playing over a television are mesmerizing.
The Food Dudes menu is best described as Caribbean-style with a Mexican influence. Other than daily specials, the Food Dudes menu is exactly the same as when it opened in 2008, Falzon says. One other constant is the restaurant is always very busy — tables and bar stools are almost always full, though they turnover quickly. Takeout is an option.
Food Dudes’ entrees include: sweet chili glazed fish of the day with pineapple-mango salsa and jasmine rice; shrimp enchiladas with roasted tomatillo sauce, beans rice and condiments; Cornmeal fried mahi with poblano tartar, chili-lime slaw and waffle fries; blackened fish tostada and corn salsa; and other plates that marry fresh local fish to traditional but updated dishes.
Wraps include ingredients such as jerk chicken, mahi, southwestern steak and salmon. Tacos are available with pulled pork or marinated mahi. Veggie or BBQ chicken quesadillas are also crowd favorites. The menu includes a large selection of appetizers, soup and salads, as well as several kids’ menu choices. Crab cake, grilled steak, pulled pork, fish and chicken grace the sandwich menu. Several burgers, including a chipotle-black bean veggie burger, tempt carnivores and herbivores.
Falzon says virtually every menu item is made in-house. Of note is the Food Dudes hot sauce on every table. Fresh and spicy, but not overwhelmingly so, use it to add a little more zip to the Caribbean and Mexican dishes.
The blackened salmon wrap with pesto, goat cheese, greens and tomato vinaigrette and pico, is owner Falzon’s favorite menu item. “I probably ate that every day for seven years,” he says.
Oh, I forgot to mention, Falzon certainly did change something at Food Dudes: the logo artwork of a surf shack with two dudes standing in the front. It has evolved over the years from showing the two original dudes, to just picturing Falzon, and then most recently to Falzon standing proudly with his 2 ½ year old son Degan, the “littlest dude.”