by Robin Beaudoin | photos by Joan Allison
Inspired by the beautiful Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Rio Mix Fit Food truck has brought a tropical taste of Brazil to midtown Memphis. Sarah Ishisaki grew up in Brazil’s shoreline state of Sao Paolo, in the cities Rio de Janeiro and Campinas (home of the Brazilian soccer team and stadium).
Food truck owner Sarah Ishisaki, worked with Midtown Nursery owner and partner Mike Earnest on the purchase of the truck, and she designed the wrap décor herself. The artist/chef wanted to transport guests to Brazil with the colorful, bright, sunny décor. She strives also to put that feeling into her food. Portuguese style breads, vegetarian curries including coconut and grilled bananas, and a special açaí bowl. Ishisaki glows over her food, Açaí, from Brazil- everyone really likes to eat açaí to start your day, because it brings energy for all day.
Ishisaki made her way to Memphis while helping a friend move here from California, and stayed here, after making wonderful friends in the community. She met partner Mike Earnest through mutual friends, and they have been living together for a year, working together ever since. Earnest has had food trucks lease space in his parking lot before, but the food truck and small stage setup is new to his nursery (and any nursery of which he knows).
Owner Sarah Ishisaki explains how she seals in juices on kebab meat.
“This food truck was my idea,” brags Earnest, who loves Brazil, and plans to make another visit this winter. Ishisaki recalls the excitement upon hearing his idea, “He had this wonderful place in midtown, and thought, ‘we need to have food from Brazil here’. Ishisaki was grateful for Earnest’s business knowledge, and his support through getting started.
“She had owned several restaurants in Brazil, so I know she knew the food business,” recalls Earnest. He has his own favorites from Rio Mix Fit, “All the kebabs are good, and I like the pork loin sandwich (topped with black olives with herbed mixed greens).” Ishisaki takes great care to serve the very best, and even grows her own herbs. The nursery and food truck team has begun to host Brazilian entertainment, such as music and capoeira demonstrations on Friday and Saturday nights. Follow @riomixfit on Instagram to find out the next date, and have a taste of Brazil.