Former food truck Cypress Table finds brick-and-mortar home in Cocoa Village

Owners plan to open on Sept. 9

(Left) Patricia Rieger and Andy Acosta, owners of Cypress Table. (Right) A Rockledge Cream doughnut from Cypress Table. Photo credit: Suzy Fleming Leonard, FLORIDA TODAY. (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

COCOA, Fla. – The long, narrow building at the north end of Delannoy Avenue in Cocoa Village feels tiny by restaurant standards.

There’s a compact space with a couple of chairs in the front nook and a skinny passage with just enough room for a line to form and double back in front of a display case.

But for Patricia Rieger and Andy Acosta, it holds endless possibilities.

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They plan to open Cypress Table in the space across Delannoy from Travis Hardware at 8 a.m. Sept. 9, bringing their carefully created brand of craft street food and fresh doughnuts to Cocoa Village, according to News 6 partner Florida Today.

Rieger started Cypress Table as a boutique catering company in 2019 with $6,000 in her pocket and high hopes.

“I had just turned 40,” she said. “I’d been in the restaurant industry for 20 years.”

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She and Acosta had been married about a year. She was ready to try something new.

Business was picking up when the pandemic hit. No one was hiring caterers, but food trucks seemed to be doing well. She decided to veer in that direction.

“Instead of a food truck, we found a little black box — a former NASA guard tower — on a trailer,” Rieger said. She and Acosta got to work renovating the tiny food vehicle and bringing it up to code.

“It was kind of a nightmare,” she said.

“We’ve gotten good at nightmares,” Acosta said.

The trailer’s size turned out to be a good thing. It could go almost anywhere. Before long, they were dispensing Rieger version of Florida flavors in backyards and parking lots across Brevard.

Cypress Table boasts a small, ever-changing, locally sourced (when possible) menu that includes dishes such as the birria Cuban sandwiches with flavorful dipping sauce and the Garden Gnome, a vegan taco with chipotle sweet potato puree, tomato salad and smoked tempeh.

Originally from Minnesota, Rieger fell in love with the food of Florida, inspired by Latin flavors, citrus, Southern favorites and fresh seafood.

“It’s a little bit of a melting pot,” Rieger said.

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That melting pot is reflected in dishes such as macaroni and cheese, biscuits, Cuban sandwiches and ropa vieja.

“Southern and Spanish foods don’t always co-mingle,” Acosta said. “We try to get them to shake hands.”

Rieger worked out of a commissary kitchen in Suntree while Acosta worked full-time for Morton Salt at Port Canaveral and helped with the food truck as much as possible.

After serving food for pop-ups at Rockledge Gardens, Rieger was invited to become the garden center’s chef in residence. Cypress Table took over the Provision Kitchen in the garden’s market.

“We were excited to have our own space,” she said. They sold food at Rockledge Gardens on weekends and used the kitchen there to prepare food for the food truck the rest of the week.

The business continued to flourish.

In July 2021, Acosta quit his Morton’s job and began working at Cypress Table full-time.

“Andy coming aboard was the best thing that happened to me and to Cypress Table,” Rigor said. “And I’m not just saying that because we’re married. When Andy wants to learn something, he does a deep dive.”

Acosta turned his attention to doughnuts, experimenting with recipes and techniques.

“We knew if we were going to do this doughnut thing, it would have to be a great doughnut,” Rieger said.

They finally settled on a yeast dough that serves as the base for all the Cypress Table doughnuts. The dough is vegan, which means, depending on the toppings and fillings, some of the doughnuts are vegan.

“I only make the dough, she makes the toppings,” Acosta said before turning to his wife. “This is your baby. I’m just filling in the gaps.”

The resulting doughnuts are decadent: hibiscus glazed, snickerdoodle, Florida orange glazed, lemon meringue, bacon with bourbon and brown sugar. And they’re big.

“She’s not very much on being subtle,” Acosta said. “I started doing the doughnuts smaller, and she was like, ‘Bigger!’”

They went from 3½ inches to 4½ inches across. A birthday doughnut stretches to 10 inches.

Now, after almost two years at Rockledge Gardens, Rieger and Acosta are ready to move Cypress Table into its own space. Their final day at the garden center was July 30. On Aug. 2, they got the keys to the building at 307 Delannoy Avenue that formerly housed Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee and then Da Bake Shop.

After a quick trip to Tampa, where they ate a lot of doughnuts (for research purposes, Rieger said), they began turning the space into a cozy fast-casual restaurant that will serve boxed meals, coffee and doughnuts.

“I like the idea of doing upscale food in a to-go box,” Rieger said, describing plans for dishes such as yucca poutine, yucca fries topped with ropa vieja.

The menu will be small, with a few shareables, a few savory meals and several doughnuts, perfect picnic food for riverfront picnics.

“We want to be the place that the locals go to,” Rieger said. “We want to make people feel at home.”

The plan is to start small, opening from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, with doughnuts only served Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They’d like to be open evenings by Halloween and late night by December.

Eventually, they hope to turn the sunken patio behind the building into outside seating with umbrellas and market lights, and will serve wine and beer.

“The location is awesome,” Acosta said. “We’re near the park, near the boat ramps, just off the beaten path.”

The restaurant has a big kitchen; half the building is kitchen. That leaves room for savory prep, sweet prep and catering. There’s a commercial freezer and lots of baking equipment.

“I think our production is going to ramp up,” Rieger said.

As that happens, they’re eager to work with other local small businesses. They’ll be serving coffee from Titusville-based Black Cat Coffee, with Elizabeth Fiegle, owner of River Road Coffee and Popsicles, training staff on how to use the new espresso machine.

Rieger and Acosta admit they are kind of terrified, jumping into something this big.

“I’ve run a lot or restaurants,” she said, “but none of them have been mine.”

And Rieger still seems stunned that she’s opening her own place, and doing it with her best friend.

“I will have seven years of sobriety in November,” she said. “So very clearly, seven years ago, this could not have happened. For me, this is like a miracle.”

Cypress Table earned an avid following in its small beginnings. Rieger and Acosta can’t wait to continue to build on what they started three years ago.

“We do what we do because we love it,” Rieger said. “This is our dream.”

Cypress Table is at 307 Delannoy Ave., Cocoa Village. Learn more at cypresstable.com or facebook.com/cypresstable