Bem Bom

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Bembom sign

Bem Bōm's Francisco "Chico" Mendonça is the latest chef to use his popular food truck as a conveyance to a land-bound restaurant. He recently opened a wheelless version of Bem Bōm, which features a Portuguese menu, in a freestanding building in Audubon Park.

The food truck business has proved a bumpy road for many who have tried and failed. Bem Bōm, however, has enjoyed a healthy popularity since 2012 and was once featured on Food Network's "Eat St." Heck, Bem Bōm has lasted longer than that tv show.

Lisbon

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Lisbon dining room

I suppose it's significant that Lisbon, a Portuguese restaurant, had been open for a full year before I even heard about it.

That may be partly due to its International Drive location. Not that I eschew or ignore restaurants in the tourist sector. On the contrary, I like knowing about the good ones -- and there are some good ones -- so that I can advise and make recommendations on where to dine (and where not to) for visitors and locals alike.

But it's been a historical fact, unfortunately, that many businesses, including restaurants, choose I-Drive as a location because of a steady stream potential clientele. For some, that means they seldom have to market themselves to keep the seats full -- there's always another proverbial busload just around the corner.

Bem Bom Food Truck

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Bem bom truck

Food Network’s “Eat St.” will be in the area for several days beginning Friday to film some of our food trucks. The first to be featured is Bem Bom, the Portuguese food truck with chef Francisco “Chico” Mendonca behind the wheel and in front of the stove. I hopped on board the other day to discuss the shoot with Mendonca and to sample some of the specialities he plans to cook at Friday’s shoot.

Bem bom mendonca"Chico" Mendonca takes his time making each dish perfect.Mendonca, who grew up in the Azores of Portugal, has had the truck for two years. Prior to that he was the chef at the nonmoving Cocina 214 in Winter Park, and before that he worked in the actual 214 area code -- Dallas -- at Clair de Lune and Voltaire. He says he prefers cooking in the food truck to cooking in a conventional restaurant. “I like the freedom,” he told me.

Bem Bom (long O on the Bom) means good good in Portuguese, a response to the question “how does it taste?” After sampling some of the food from this truck, I think the name should be adjusted a bit. What’s the Portuguese word for crazy? Because my response to everything I ate was, “This is crazy good good.”

The reason that everything is so delicious is because of the painstaking care Mendonca takes in preparing the food to order. Sometimes people mistakenly equate food trucks with fast food. That may be true for some trucks, but you’d better be ready to idle your engine a bit when you order from Bem Bom. Trust me, it’s going to be worth the wait.