A Taste of Jersey Finds a Home in Florida: The Story of Jason Rodriguez and A Touch of South Jersey

Jason Rodriguez's culinary journey began not in sunny Florida, but in the bustling kitchens of New Jersey. At a young age of 17, he was already mastering the art of the cheesesteak, a Jersey staple. But alongside the sizzle of onions and the satisfying snap of a good roll, simmered a dream – the dream of owning his own business.

In 2013, that dream took a giant leap forward when Rodriguez and his family relocated to Florida. This wasn't just a change of scenery; it was an opportunity to share a taste of home with his new community. "We always knew we wanted to bring the taste of our Jersey food here," Rodriguez shared in a statement. Family gatherings, he says, were filled with discussions about a food truck, a way to bring their favorite Jersey flavors to Florida.

A month ago, that dream materialized in the form of A Touch of South Jersey, a food truck located at 1398 E. Vine Street in Kissimmee. The opening wasn't just a business milestone; it was a heartwarming reunion. "It wasn't just an ordinary event; it was a memorable reunion of our community," Rodriguez said. "It was heartwarming to see people from all over South Jersey come together."

The star of the show, of course, is the food. A Touch of South Jersey offers cheesesteaks seasoned with a secret family recipe from Rodriguez's cousin. But the dish that truly drew lines around the block is the Tarantini Panzarotti. This deep-fried turnover, a creation of Pauline Tarantini in the 1960s, is a delightful combination of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Rodriguez explains that when Tarantini Panzarotti announced the food truck's arrival on social media, people from all over Central Florida made the trek to experience this taste of Jersey history. "A Touch of South Jersey wouldn't be possible without their incredible contribution," Rodriguez acknowledges. "Their support has been invaluable."

Rodriguez's ambition doesn't stop at the curb. He has plans to expand the menu with Philly cheesesteak fries and egg rolls, eventually working towards his ultimate goal – a brick-and-mortar restaurant. "At the moment we want to move around for events and get to know ourselves to our fellow Floridians," he explains. "Our goal is to build connections and allow everyone to experience what we have to offer."

A Touch of South Jersey is more than just a food truck; it's a testament to the power of family, community, and a deep love for the flavors of home. As Rodriguez continues his culinary journey in Florida, one thing is certain: a taste of Jersey has found a warm welcome in the Sunshine State.

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