Chiringo -- meaning a small enterprise, usually a bar, selling mainly drinks and tapas, sometimes meals, in a more or less provisional building, often on a beach or loose surface where a more permanent structure may be unviable.
Such is the name and its meaning that the owners of Chiringo embraced before opening in Grayton Beach in April. And, for those who have dropped in to investigate the new bar/eatery on Grayton's main beach street, the name is fitting.
Located at the corner of Hotz Avenue in the building formerly occupied by Shorty's, the Spanish-inspired Chiringo fits right in with funky Grayton Beach.
The restaurant's décor does as well, painted in bright shades of gold. The upstairs has been refurbished and garage-door windows that pull up to let a breeze in when the weather permits. But the view from the windows is always there of the Gulf and Western Lake.
Chiringo's partners Chef Cesar Velazquez, Andy McKoski, and Lance Jaglarski traveled to Spain and the Caribbean to get a feel for the type of cuisine they wanted to offer at their new restaurant before opening. They fell in love with the cuisine from coastal Spain and added a touch of Caribbean and coastal Floridian for a unique taste that is all their own.
On the menu diners will find intriguing features such as appetizers of Albondigas (ground beef meatballs covered in a tomato rioja sauce topped with shredded Manchego cheese and green onion), or Grouper Frituras (lightly fried grouper pieces with allioli and tomato-cucumber salsa).
For salad lovers, there is the Chiringo salad of mixed greens topped with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, mixed olives, and feta.
There are three sandwich choices: the Chiringo burger consisting of two 4-ounce grass-fed organic beef patties covered with melted white cheddar cheese, arugula, tomatoes, caramelized onion, pepper jack cheese and sauce served on a toasted briache bun; a roasted pork, or a grouper sandwich.
There are also offers rice bowls with mojo pork, grouper, or free-range organic chicken.
From the "Chill Bar" are raw oysters, escabeche, or cocktail shrimp.
For Southerners craving good fried food, baskets of fried shrimp or chicken are available.
Chiringo has a full bar with an array of beer and wine, or one of their specialty cocktails. In addition to offering national beer brands, Chiringo supports local breweries such as Idyll Hounds and Grayton beer.
Kids' meals are available.
And, save room for dessert. Who can turn down an ice-cream sandwich?
The partners call their menu choices "casual beachside cuisine."
"We want it to be the best beach food," said Velazquez. "There is no lobster or crab. We want it all to be indigenous to the area.
So far, their most popular dish has proven to be the grouper bowl. Served with Bomba rice from Spain, the grouper can be fried, blackened, or grilled.
Gluten-free dishes are available.
"The Grayton neighborhood is eclectic and colorful," said McKoski. "We feel this type of eclectic cuisine fits right in. We feel the quality food is right up there and we have the best food at the best price."
"We try to make sure people leave happy," said Velazquez.
The partners all hail from Atlanta and each brings a restaurant background.
To keep their ideas and menu fresh, the guys are planning their next trip -- this time to South America to explore its cuisine.
Chiringo is open Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.