Jackson Staack created a roly-poly, orange cartoon hippopotamus to be the mascot of his Shorecrest sandwich shop, Hippo Bites, where subs are a foot long and whole pork shoulders slowly grill over maplewood charcoal grill on the patio.
Jackson is from Santa Catarina in southern Brazil, where Europeans including his German grandfather and Portuguese and German grandmothers came in the 1800s to farm. He grew up in the German- and Italian-style restaurants his parents ran, and wanted to try his hand at the business after moving to Miami. He exports Brazilian hardwood flooring around the world, and hand-built the decks that grace the front and backyard garden of the small shop.
The breakfast sandwich brings toasted bread with scrambled eggs and bacon, good with fresh-squeezed orange juice or coffee. You can construct a lunch or dinner sandwich from a choice of bread, meat, cheese and spread or order from a menu that includes the Hippo Blast, stacked with ham, salami, turkey, bacon and cheese with oil and vinegar dressing.
Hot subs range from chicken or beef meatballs infused with pineapple teriyaki or mango-jalapeño sauce with melted provolone and chunky tomato sauce to the veggie delight with roasted peppers and onions.
There’s also grilled skirt steak with chimichurri and chopped barbecued chicken or pork tucked in a loaf with tangy barbecue sauce. Completing the lineup are quesadillas with guacamole, smoothies, bubble tea and locally made Luke’s Ice Cream in flavors like butter pecan and raspberry-chocolate to put the hippo in your hips.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who blogs at FoodIndiaCook.com.