From Wheels to Café: The Food Rock Food Truck Gets its Own Café in Fort Myers


Alexandra Porter, Contributing Writer

A new family-owned restaurant has opened in University Village in Fort Myers- the Food Rock Café. It is run by owner Chef JD, his wife and co-owner, Jennifer Damas, and their daughter, Cassidy Damas.

It offers a wide variety of choices on its menu including burgers, salads, a variety of empanadas, an entire red snapper, freshly made sauces, non-fried foods like quinoa, and so much more. Most of these dishes come with their own Caribbean Island flare that will help the restaurant stand out from others in University Village.

“It’s more unique, more with an island feature,” Chef JD said. “It has more of a Caribbean flavor with the seasonings used.”

The Food Rock Café has come a long way from its founding as a food truck during COVID to a fully-fledged café. Both Chef JD and Jennifer Damas found that this was a challenge, but they believed it was for the best. Jennifer Damas quit her job as a registered nurse to pursue this new chapter in life.

“I was a registered nurse,” she said. “And with COVID and seeing the stress my husband was going through and what I was going through as well, as a nurse, we felt like the love we once had for our careers was depleted because of the chaos. Because of the uncertainty and all that. So, we did a leap of faith.”

The family works as a unit, which is a main foundation to the restaurant. Cassidy Damas helps Chef JD and Jennifer Damas in any way she can in the family business.

“I quit my other job, and I’m trying to help them build something here,” Cassidy Damas said. “It’s nice and I enjoy working with them. I also get to spend more time with them.”

Cassidy Damas hopes The Food Rock Café can become part of the community by becoming a new hotspot in the area. As a new restaurant, this would be a challenge for the whole family. Cassidy Damas believes that the good flavors of the restaurant would make it a hit.

“I believe that it will become a popular spot,” Cassidy Damas said. “The food’s pretty good, and I’ve always been a fan of it since I was a kid. My grandmother used to make all of the things on the menu for me.”

Jennifer Damas hopes that The Food Rock Café can become a new, welcoming environment for the community. She said that both she and Chef JD wanted to bring more to the community and become a part of it.

“I want to be able to touch everyone’s hearts, even if it’s one meal at a time, or one smile at a time while greeting them,” she said. “I want to make everyone feel welcomed.”

The Food Rock Café has a specialty going on for FGCU students- 20% off your order all day, every day. Jennifer Damas stated that she understands how much students go through. She and her husband wanted to help and alleviate the cost pressures that are put on many college students with things like tuition and dorm room costs.

“We don’t want to take advantage of our students, but we want to be a part of them,” Jennifer Damas said. “And just know that we are here. Like even if they were to come in and tell us, ‘Hey listen, right now I’m hungry and I’m going through some stuff.’ We will listen to you. We won’t question anything. We won’t doubt you.”

Both owners also hope The Food Rock Café can do more with FGCU in the future and create more relations with the campus itself within its groups such as the wrestling group and more.

The serving hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Sunday.