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Foodie File: Cocky Rooster Cafe offers American breakfast and a Spanish twist

Sweets galore — Pastry Chef José Alberto Dejesus always has a fresh array of his pastry creations at Cocky Rooster Cafe. He also crafts custom cakes and pastry creations to go. Call the restaurant for details.

Sweets galore — Pastry Chef José Alberto Dejesus always has a fresh array of his pastry creations at Cocky Rooster Cafe. He also crafts custom cakes and pastry creations to go. Call the restaurant for details.

BEACON PHOTOS/RYAN ROUGEUX

The two roosters — Chef-owner Perry Li, right, and Pastry Chef José Alberto Dejesus pause between pastry displays to smile for the camera before getting back to creating the amazing sweets and Spanish/American flavors Cocky Rooster Cafe has to offer.

The two roosters — Chef-owner Perry Li, right, and Pastry Chef José Alberto Dejesus pause between pastry displays to smile for the camera before getting back to creating the amazing sweets and Spanish/American flavors Cocky Rooster Cafe has to offer.

Ready to serve — Adelina Best and Tammy Kempert prepare to serve dessert at Cocky Rooster Cafe.

Ready to serve — Adelina Best and Tammy Kempert prepare to serve dessert at Cocky Rooster Cafe.

Spanish favorite — One of the favorites on Chef Perry Li’s daily-specials menu, huevos rancheros is a Spanish breakfast entree consisting of two flour tortillas loaded with black-bean-and-corn salsa, a Mexican cheese blend, and two eggs prepared to your liking. It’s topped with avocado salsa, chili sauce and cilantro aioli.

Spanish favorite — One of the favorites on Chef Perry Li’s daily-specials menu, huevos rancheros is a Spanish breakfast entree consisting of two flour tortillas loaded with black-bean-and-corn salsa, a Mexican cheese blend, and two eggs prepared to your liking. It’s topped with avocado salsa, chili sauce and cilantro aioli.

BEACON PHOTO/RYAN ROUGEUX

Opening the glass doors to Cocky Rooster Cafe — located in a small shopping center off of Howland Boulevard in Deltona — I’m immediately comforted by the appearance of the quaint 80-seat cafe.

There is a wide selection of seating styles, from secluded booths to an in-on-the-action bar counter.

“When trying to decide what to name the restaurant, I was in Puerto Rico, and the roosters kept waking me up. Then it hit me: Roosters are a symbol for breakfast and a new day in the countryside and Spanish culture. Cocky Rooster was born,” restaurant owner and Chef Perry Li explained with a laugh.   

Roosters prevail in the restaurant décor, most of them donated by patrons. There’s also an eye-grabbing pastry display that is most difficult to ignore.

Chef Perry opened the American and Spanish cafe on Sept. 17, 2012, initially only for breakfast and lunch. Eventually, he added dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.

“It took three years for us to really figure out the menu, because our patrons would want to order breakfast for lunch and even dinner, so now we offer breakfast all day, and everyone is happy,” he said.

Chef Perry is of Chinese heritage. Born in Taiwan, he moved to New Jersey as a child. He started cooking at 14, and has been trained in a wide array of cuisines throughout his life.

Perry moved to Miami in the late 1980s, then to Deltona in 1998, where he worked as a chef at a few restaurants, including a job as executive chef of Harry’s at the Deltona Inn, before the family decided to sell the restaurant.

Cocky Rooster Cafe has an amazing menu selection, ranging from American classics such as country-fried steak and eggs with white gravy, to Spanish twists on American classics, such as the Benedict Cubano, a spicy Spanish chorizo sausage patty on an English muffin, topped with avocado salsa, two poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce.

Chef Perry said the menu reflects the ethnic diversity of Deltona, where Hispanics make up 31 percent of a population of 90,000, according to U.S. census data.

“I wanted to be able to cater to all of the types of culture Deltona has, and the fusion of American and Spanish cuisine does just that,” Perry said.

All the dishes I tried at Cocky Rooster popped with flavor. This is much more than just your basic breakfast cafe.

Perry also hinted that he has the best meatloaf around, so I’ll be making a trip back for dinner!

Another force at the cafe is Pastry Chef José Alberto Dejesus from Puerto Rico, who owned two bakeries in Puerto Rico and had been baking for more than 20 years before meeting Chef Perry and his wife.

All his cakes are made fresh and sell out quickly.

“I only make one batch at a time, because anything I make must be served fresh for my customer,” Dejesus said.

I devoured his peanut-butter chocolate cheesecake for breakfast, and it blew my mind, so rich and creamy. It’s everything and more you want from a cheesecake.

Dejesus also bakes custom cakes; you can order cakes to go that will always be freshly made.

The service and staff at Cocky Rooster were friendly and punctual, and both chefs were very gracious with their time and very passionate about what they do. The restaurant has 15 employees.


Cocky Rooster Cafe

FOODIE FILE

Location: 1382 Howland Blvd., Deltona

Cuisine: Spanish/American

Hours: 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Sunday; 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Beverages: Espresso drinks are a specialty; beer and wine are also available.

Price range*: $-$$

Child-friendly: Yes

Pet-friendly: Yes, on outside patio

Specials: Daily-specials menu; gluten-free and vegetarian options available

Our bill for two breakfasts, two desserts and an espresso drink: $35.90, plus tip

Contact: 386-259-5729; www.cockyroostercafe.com

*$ $1 to $10

$$ $11 to $20

$$$ $21 to $30

$$$$ $31 or higher

- Ryan Rougeux, info@beacononlinenews.com

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