By: Jimmy Walden Photos by: Jarred Schuetze
For owner and chef Gary Schneider, the newly rebooted Coastal Sol food truck isn’t just a return to form, it’s also the culmination of all that has come before, and what is yet to come.
Learning to cook from scratch at various local restaurants throughout his career, which began with flipping burgers at Sonic in the 1970’s, it was working on the coast in Port Aransas that rounded out a journey that would eventually lead Schneider to open his own restaurant of sorts; one that just happens to be on wheels.
“I spent one-third of my cooking career at Beulah’s at The Tarpon Inn in Port Aransas, and it was there I learned to cook from the heart, and the “Sol.” Schneider said, with a smirk.
Boasting an eclectic menu inspired by his southern and coastal roots, but with a flare all his own, chef Schneider’s Coastal Sol food truck is making its mark on the Corpus Christi foodie scene, one order at a time — and putting focus on what matters most. Quality.
“Fresh, local, seasonal. That’s our mantra,” said Chef Schneider. “I’ve got a little German in me, and a little Mexican, so it’s all a conglomeration.”
The more popular items on the menu just happen to be seafood, including the Shrimp Po Boy, the Oyster Po Boy, and the Grilled Fish Tacos (which have already found fame in the national publication of the “Tacos of Texas” book in 2016). But the item currently bringing the patrons of Corpus Christi back for more is the succulent, and savory, Sol-style Quail Legs. With an upfront, smokey-sweet flavor, the dish is finished with a drizzle of a delicate cream sauce, and green onions. This is food to love, made from the heart, and the “Sol” — as chef Schneider puts it.
For anyone who has yet to find a chance to try Coastal Sol, be sure to search out where they’ll be next (usually parked at Bar Under the Sun, or at any one of the local breweries throughout the week). And while their menu varies at the behest of chef Schneider’s revolving treasure-trove of inspiration, the focus on quality remains constant.
“I dabble in a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, but I think the creativity, and the flavors, and the what-have yous, are what bring people in,” Schneider said. “We’re putting a little “wow” on their taste buds.
That’s definitely one way to describe it. Funny thing, though — it’s true.
Most popular food items:
Shrimp Po Boy
Sol-Style Quail Legs
Grilled Shrimp Tacos
Sweet Potato Fries
Where can Coastal Sol be found next:
Rebel Toad Brewery
Lazy Beach Brewery
The Gold Fish
Farmers Markets (Island, Downtown)
For more information on Coastal Sol, and where to find them next, visit their Facebook at http://facebook.com/coastalsolfoodtruck