Bruno’s Eats a new restaurant coming to Fort Lauderdale’s buzzy 13th Street

Adella Miesner

Perhaps no one is better prepared to introduce a new restaurant in the viral gloom of 2020 than Peggie Ann Blain and her infectious smile. © Peggie Ann Blain / Courtesy/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS Fort Lauderdale-based Bruno’s food truck is a popular stop at South Florida festivals, street parties and […]

Perhaps no one is better prepared to introduce a new restaurant in the viral gloom of 2020 than Peggie Ann Blain and her infectious smile.



a group of people standing in front of a bus: Fort Lauderdale-based Bruno's food truck is a popular stop at South Florida festivals, street parties and other events.n


© Peggie Ann Blain / Courtesy/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS
Fort Lauderdale-based Bruno’s food truck is a popular stop at South Florida festivals, street parties and other events.n

Years working with the hyper-sanitary protocols of a medical lab doesn’t hurt.

Blain and her husband, Bruno “Chef Max” Maxino, have been a South Florida food-truck power couple since the 2013 debut of their Fort Lauderdale-based Bruno’s mobile kitchen and catering operation.

Also something of a rolling mural — its colorful paint job a token of appreciation from artists in the MASS District — Bruno’s food truck has been a Yelp-approved presence at festivals, city events and backyard parties across Broward and Palm Beach counties, showcasing Chef Max’s mashup of influences from Haiti, Jamaica, Latin America and New York street food.



a man holding a sign: Peggie Ann Blain, in her signature hamburger hat, and Bruno "Chef Max" Maxino at Bruno's Eats in Fort Lauderdale.


© Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS
Peggie Ann Blain, in her signature hamburger hat, and Bruno “Chef Max” Maxino at Bruno’s Eats in Fort Lauderdale.

If widespread admiration for Bruno’s food truck made the imminent debut of Bruno’s Eats restaurant inevitable, the COVID-19 economy makes the timing unpredictable.

With an outgoing personality the perfect antidote for these staying-in times, Blain is undaunted.

“During COVID, you’re a gambler. I don’t care how big or small the business is, you have to be very strategic to reinvent yourself according to what the environment requires,” says Blain, 40.

“It was its time. It took us a year to decide, do our research and looking around. We found this space, and it happens to fit like a hand in glove,” she says. “It’s really an overwhelming feeling.”

Currently under construction — all bare walls and framing — Bruno’s Eats is scheduled to open in late November at 603 NE 13th St., its serene white exterior facing one of Fort Lauderdale’s up-and-coming commercial thoroughfares. Steps away are LoveLee Bake Shop and the Deck on 13th lounge, while the popular eatery Milk Money and Gulf Stream Brewing punctuate the east end of the corridor.

Bruno’s Food Truck brick and mortar restaurant coming to Fort Lauderdale

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Standing out front in the signature hamburger hat that a customer gave her as a salute to one of Bruno’s fan favorites, Blain receives waves from passing drivers and greetings from pedestrians.

Blain already has a special place in a neighborhood she considers special, calling it “a little Wynwood.”

“Thirteenth Street is family, it’s love, it’s uplifting, it’s helping, it’s grassrooting,” she says. “What I love about it, it’s the same definition of our menu. It’s everybody together.”

The Brooklyn-born Blain is from a Haitian-American family who came to the U.S. in the early 20th century. Her grandfather was a college professor and her grandmother helped design clothes for “All My Children” and other soap operas.

Blain worked in the health-care field as a medical technician in a laboratory, as well as in administrative roles. She recently put that career on hold to focus full time on the food truck and the restaurant project.

Hygiene and sanitation protocols that have become the rule in the dining industry are second nature to Blain.

“I do run it like a hospital. I’m a stickler with that because that was my history,” she says. “You always made sure you did the right thing, even when no one was watching. It is very important in a hospital, because at any moment you could kill somebody. That principal really got ingrained in me. I really don’t know any other way to do it.”

Chef Max, born in Queens, N.Y., to a Jamaican-Haitian family, runs the kitchen. Says Blain: “He is the one putting all the love in these dishes.”

Along with a variety of burgers, Bruno’s most popular menu item is the griot, or pulled pork, which turns up in a variety of formats. The most inventive is the griot burrito, a handheld meal popular with art-walk customers.

The griot burrito is stuffed with pulled pork, red and green peppers, onions and mushroom rice, topped with a house-made vinaigrette slaw and a “secret” honey-mustard barbecue sauce. Blain says it combines elements of the Caribbean, Latin America and, yes, New York.

“In New York we are big on the freshness, on hearing the noise of the onions, fresh cut, the liveliness of the sizzle,” she says. “They’re basic ingredients combined in a way that really is magical, that gives it that ‘wow-pow, this is New York in your mouth.’”

Bruno’s Eats is expected to open in late November at 603 NE 13th St., Fort Lauderdale. For information on the restaurant or Bruno’s food truck, call 954-864-9679 or visit Facebook.com/www.brunosfoodtruckllc.

Staff writer Ben Crandell can be reached at [email protected].

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©2020 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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