Chef Q&A: Chef Dave Del Rio, Eaton’s Beach Sandbar & Steam Shack


Chef Dave started working on the kitchen design, menu and recipes for Eaton’s Beach Sandbar & Steam Shack in Lake Weir two years prior to its October 2013 opening. He also created the restaurant’s signature “Florisiana” Cuisine, copyrighted to himself and to the restaurant.

What’s your favorite local restaurant other than your own?

My favorite local restaurant is The Copacabana restaurant in Mount Dora, authentic Cuban Caribbean food. I had a dish there that literally brought tears to my eyes because it tasted just like my grandmother used to make. That is the epitome of comfort food.

What’s your go-to meal at home?

Simple! Angel hair pasta with fresh basil, garlic, tomatoes and grated Parmesan cheese.

Where do you shop locally for interesting ingredients?

My favorite shopping spot for exotic and interesting ingredients is a ‘bodega’ in Ocala called Bravo Supermarket. They have all kinds of ingredients, produce, spices from different countries, but it has that neighborhood feel.

Which kitchen gadget could you not live without?

It’s a toss up between my Star Wars Death Star waffle iron and my spaghetti twirling fork. I guess I’d choose my 4″ Mercer paring knife. It handles a lot of tasks.

What was your favorite bagged lunch as a kid?

Pimento cheese on white bread with sliced bologna. I would crumble my potato chips in to give it some crunch.

What’s your most guilty junk-food pleasure?

My occasional favorite is a big sloppy double cheeseburger with tater tots; and a real corndog, the kind with a bit of sweet in the cornmeal batter.

What 3 things are in your fridge at all times?

Here is the honest answer, not the cool sounding one. The three things always in my fridge: sliced deli meats and Asiago cheese, fat free milk to make my morning Café Con Leche and apple sauce. I just love apple sauce.