CHIRINGA, pronounced (CHI-RIN-GA), is a shortened reference to ‘Chiringuito’; which is an open-air, beachside enterprise; usually a bar, that sells meals and drinks, typically within a no-frill structure.
Our story begins in 2014, when CHIRINGA co-owner, Andy McKoski, frequented many of these communal chiringuitos in his travels to the Southern Coast of Spain; and specifically Tarifa, which is dubbed the ‘Kite-Surfing’ capital of the world. It was this social community beach vibe, combined with the vast array of brightly colored kites and airborne kite-surfers dotting the sky, that inspired McKoski to capture this elevated sensory experience into his own restaurant concept that meshed with the bright, bold, and flavorful tastes of fresh ‘beach cuisine’.
CHIRINGA’s offering emphasizes elevated ingredients, clean proteins, fresh fish, and a full-bar including fresh-squeezed juices for cocktails; all within an intimate and open-air setting that promotes an uplifting and communal place for all to gather. Our ‘come as you are’, and inviting counter-service model, offers an unintimidating and flexible experience with hints of being on ‘beach time’.
CHIRINGA is also, and appropriately, Spanish for ‘kite’ in some Caribbean countries. The high-flying kite in our logo symbolizes the essence of our concept - Elevated Beach Food; as well as the illustration of our motto - Eat Well + Fly High
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Originally from South Florida, Andy grew up in the restaurant business and paid for college waiting tables and tending bar. He liked the work, but viewed it as a way to pay tuition while having a little fun along the way. He studied finance at Florida State University and then embarked on a career that led him across the east coast to cities including Orlando, Miami, New York and ultimately Atlanta.
In 2006, Andy received the opportunity to become a partner at Tin Lizzy’s Cantina, a casual Tex-Mex style restaurant and bar. Returning to the service industry at this stage in his life reignited a passion for the people involved in the business from the staff to the customers, and he realized that he enjoyed running a restaurant. During Andy’s tenure as the operating partner, Tin Lizzy’s quickly became a popular gathering spot. Andy and his wife April love traveling and their travels continuously return them to Spain and the numerous chiringuitos (beach bars) that dot the coast.
With a desire to open his own “chiringuito”, Andy teamed up with some friends to build a new concept. He hoped to bring “the taste” of his experience to the States by creating a unique gathering spot to enjoy fresh BEACH food, drink, and people. Chiringo opened on Grayton Beach, FL in April 2016.
In 2018, CHIRINGA, the smaller sister concept, opened in Alpharetta, GA and is grounded in the same philosophy; food and drinks should be SIMPLE, FRESH, and FUN!
Travis Brown brings more than 10-years of restaurant experience to the beach-inspired concept, as well as an extensive background in restaurant franchising and commercial real estate.
In 2009, Brown entered the restaurant industry via a side-investment from his day job in the real estate finance industry. It was his frequent patronage at a Jimmy John’s Sandwich Shop in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, that led him to invest in his first franchise in Jacksonville, FL - an untapped market at the time. The Pittsburgh, PA native developed 4 locations in Jacksonville, then another 6 locations along the Florida Panhandle in Destin, Crestview, Fort Walton Beach and Miramar Beach. Initially an investor & store developer, Brown realized the importance of full immersion into operations to authentically know all aspects of the business. He chose to live in Destin, FL for 5-years to get that ‘hands-on’ experience and develop the market, which has proven to be invaluable.
While living in Destin, FL, Brown stumbled into a then acquaintance from Atlanta, and now good friend and CHIRINGA partner, Andy McKoski, at a Tom Thumb gas station in Miramar Beach. After multiple conversations on the golf course, Brown and McKoski teamed up and created the CHIRINGA brand; an experiential, yet efficient, ‘Beach Food’ concept with a bold vision to strategically expand in the Southeast. Brown’s experience and discipline within the franchising model, his ‘lead by example’ approach to operations, as well as his acumen in the real estate realm, are all integral to the CHIRINGA brand and its future.
Brown has an Economics degree from Brown University - where he also played basketball, an MS in Real Estate and an MBA in Finance from Georgia State University; and holds real estate licenses in both Georgia and Florida. He currently lives in Sandy Springs with his three kids, Lela, Jax and Sophie. When he isn’t spending a weekend afternoon with the family, Brown enjoys golf, exercise, travel, ping-pong, and keeping tabs on Pittsburgh sports teams.