Chef Ryan Kida’s gnocchi bathed in creamy Gorgonzola sauce amassed a cult-like following at Yabo, the artwork-stuffed cafe and new music venue he opened and grew in south Fort Myers from 2007 to 2016. Six yrs soon after closing, Kida’s devotees have been delighted to discover these pillowy balls of dough have been resurrected, now served warm from the window of the new Yabo food truck.
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Kida and longtime pal Mike Mechachonis fired up the truck Dec. 21, reintroducing a handful of menu staples from the previous brick-and-mortar cafe, although tossing in a rotating lineup of extras.
When the first Yabo opened in 2006, it was a haven for foodies and a hidden gem for locals, tucked in an unsuspecting strip shopping mall on Aged McGregor Boulevard. A darkish den for Kida’s from-scratch Italian fare, Yabo’s partitions were protected in rock-and-roll posters. The tiny eating space housed a scant handful of tables and a little stage the place Kida could indulge his other passion — music
In 2011, he relocated to a roomier area on Summerlin Highway, now house to Lynq, much more than doubling in size. The larger sized cafe proved to be way too much. 5 decades later on, Yabo closed, and Kida went into what he termed “hibernation.”
He peeked out a yr later on to be a part of the workforce at nearby Poppy’s Pizza, briefly reviving his beloved gnocchi in advance of packing his knives and going again to his roots on Sanibel Island, leading the culinary crew at MudBugs Cajun Kitchen area.
“MudBugs is my comprehensive-time day career that lets me to do my facet initiatives,” Kida stated.
“Side jobs” these types of as the Yabo foodstuff truck.
Kida grew up on Sanibel.
“As soon as I could work, possibly 13, my stepdad introduced me to a restaurant down the avenue and explained to me to get a task,” he reported. “Coming back again to in which I started out is a total-circle minute.”
His loved ones is Italian and Australian, as a result his gravitation in the direction of Italian elements. The term “yabo” is Aussie slang for “lazy bum.”
Surrounded by food at perform and property, Kida remembered usually becoming curious about the culinary arts. “Then I learned it is difficult operate to make that artwork,” he mentioned. “People never understand that.”
When Mechachonis, Kida’s a long time-very long good friend, preferred to retire to Southwest Florida, the foodstuff-truck idea took flight.
“What I like about the truck is that it presents flexibility to go wherever and do anything,” Kida explained. “It’s a touring cafe.”
Out of the cellular kitchen area, Kida and Mechachonis crank out a revolving menu of specials that almost usually include things like his famed gnocchi alongside with “Beck’s Baggage,” one more Yabo staple: modest pasta purses known as sachetti total of truffle cream in a garlic-herb sauce.
Kida has also been “messing around,” as he place it, with rooster Parmesan sandwiches and poutine fries smothered in beef gravy and cheese curds.
Further specialties involve fried food items on sticks — imagine eggplant Parm and fried macaroni and cheese, and a fried lasagna-on-a-adhere that captured to start with spot at February’s Foodstuff Truck Wars Southwest Florida in Cape Coral.
But the truck isn’t only for competitions. Consumers can obtain Yabo parked at Place Ybel Brewing Co. in south Fort Myers Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m., with occasional appearances on other nights and at personal functions.
“Breweries are all interesting,” he stated. “Point Ybel is in my old ‘hood, and I like their beer. It’s a wonderful relationship.”
When not in the kitchen at MudBugs or manning the truck, Kida manages to obtain time for his other aspect project: new music. He plucks the bass guitar and sings backup in his band, The Camaros.
“Cooking is my artwork, but tunes is everything that drives me,” he mentioned. Early in his career, even though manning a scorching pet stand at Lowe’s, he went to school for audio engineering, attaining beneficial working experience to document his to start with album, “Kida Blues Experiment.”
“I cannot get ample of it,” he explained. “When I retire from the kitchen area, I’ll participate in music for the relaxation of my existence — prepare dinner meals on the facet. New music is a present.”
To his foodie supporters, Kida’s culinary prowess is the real reward — and that gnocchi.
For extra on Yabo and its timetable, check out fb.com/yaborestaurant.
This post at first appeared on Fort Myers News-Push: Fort Myers restaurants: New Yabo remixes old favorites, meals-truck fashion