It’s every South Florida chef’s dream to open up a waterfront restaurant, but big dreams don’t come cheap. So Jupiter Farms resident Justin Lindemann, who has spent 10 years as a cook at The Food Shack, has come up with his own way of going about it.
“I had to get creative. I wanted a nice boat and I wanted a nice restaurant … so I came up with the idea to do food on the water,” he said.
Lindemann is hoping to open his concept, The Food Yacht, to the public along the Intracoastal Waterway. Essentially a food truck on water, it would serve fresh seafood items to locals and combine the two things Lindemann loves most: cooking and being out on the water.
The idea came to Lindemann one day while he was cooking on a chartered Bahamas cruise. It was the fresh-caught black fin tuna and a picturesque sunset that got him thinking: “This is a cook’s paradise. You know, spend the day catching, spend the evening cooking, watching the sun go down,” he said.
For the past year, Lindemann has taken out friends and customers on the 40-foot catamaran, offering six-passenger lunch and dinner cruises. However, only so much profit can be made off of six people at a time.
“I feel like if I can go out there and anchor up and crank out food, I can feed 150 people a day,” he said.
Lindemann is now seeking the Town of Jupiter’s approval to operate as a mobile food-dispensing vehicle, much like a food truck. The only problem is Jupiter doesn’t allow food trucks.
Nonetheless, the town council is looking to issue him a special permit for a four-year charter to serve food out on the Intracoastal. A final vote is set to take place Jan. 19.
This shouldn’t be a far stretch, Lindemann figures, because Allie’s Snack Shack had been running a similar operation on Jupiter’s Intracoastal for a decade. (The charter has since expired, and the owner has passed away.)
Lindemann’s plan is to bring the snack boat concept back to Jupiter—but make it “bigger, better and tastier.” He plans to sell gourmet seafood—such as ceviche, lobster rolls and bacon-wrapped scallops, as well as non-alcoholic frozen drinks—that people can take to-go.
“You don’t need a lot of equipment to do really good food,” he said. “You can do conch salad with just a knife and a cutting board.”
While most of the seafood will be sourced from local wholesalers, Lindemann would also like to offer a cook-your-catch service, in which he’d filet local fishermen’s catches of the day. He also hopes to incorporate fresh herbs and produce grown in his garden.
In addition, The Food Yacht would act as a ship store, selling sunglasses, hats, life jackets, flares and any other last-minute items boaters might need. Lindemann even imagines acting as a community resource, providing boating and fishing information to those who need it and acting as an extra set of eyes out on the water.
Lindemann plans to operate the Food Yacht from sunset to sundown on Sundays, expanding to Friday and Saturday service as demand grows. And if it goes well in Jupiter, he’d like to introduce the concept elsewhere.
“I think every inlet should have one,” he said.
Photos courtesy The Food Yacht