As I update this post about Soto’s Kitchen in Jacksonville, I’m saddened to say that they have closed up shop for good. This pandemic has been brutal.
Soto’s Kitchen followed me on Instagram, and they instantly had my attention. Here’s a family-run restaurant doing Venezuelan comfort food in Jacksonville, Florida. A cachapa is not exactly the type of thing I’d expect to find in North Florida, or maybe I was just ignorant.
There is a great Venezuelan cuisine all over my hometown of Miami, Florida. Many folks don’t know my dad was born in Caracas, Venezuela but raised in Cuba. How did that happen? My grandfather was a professional wrestler, and at the time, he was a star in catch-as-catch-can style wrestling in Venezuela. He was a villain (or heel as they’re known) and wrestled under the name Cruz Diablo. Yes, with a mask and all.
Getting back to Soto’s Kitchen
I loved sharing some of my histories with you but let’s get back to Soto’s Kitchen. I finally met them in June of 2019 during one of my yearly road trips. They were so welcoming, and while I came hungry, Marcela was feeling under the weather. This meant I was all alone and couldn’t go crazy ordering, although I did pretty well.
One other thing I liked about Soto’s Kitchen was their Latin Market with Venezuelan baking mixes, cookies, and drinks. It was another unique feature of their restaurant that endeared them to me.
Their Maracucha Burger is not the best Venezuelan-style burger I’ve eaten; that honor goes to Pipo Burgers. But it was definitely a very close second. The handmade cheese, house sauce, and seasoned burger patty, when done right, is just phenomenal.
Cachapas can be found a-plenty here in South Florida, but very few restaurants make their own. The cachapa is a stuffed corn cake (omelet-style) that can be filled with cheese or shredded beef and, most of the time, covered with a slathering of sweet cream butter. For me, it’s the quintessential Venezuelan comfort food. Soto’s makes their own, and it was delicious.
Is an arepa a sandwich? Hell yeah!
It’s probably not surprising that my favorite Venezuela arepa comes stuffed with cheese and shredded beef. Some folks add sauces to them (Soto’s does) and others don’t but they work either way.
I enjoy an ice-cold soft drink with my comfort food meal, but when you’re at a Venezuelan restaurant, Chicha is where it’s at for me. Chicha is rice milk, and I could compare the flavor to a rice pudding, just not as thick.
We had a fun experience at Soto’s Kitchen and while they might be gone, this post will keep their memory alive.