Written By Scott Joseph On July 20, 2023

Pigzza Orlando

I winced when I first heard that a restaurant planned for the Mills 50 District would be called Pigzza. Did anyone not? Back then, in May of 2021, the project was announced as a collaboration between the owners of Stasio’s, the Milk District Italian cafe and market, and Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa. So it sorta, kinda made sense if there were to be a fusion of barbecue, pizza and Italian dishes.

In the end, Pig Floyd’s Thomas Ward is the sole owner of Pigzza, whose tagline is “an Italianish joint.” And with the barbecue connection still intact, you’d expect the menu to be filled with pulled pork pizzas and pastas aplenty. But this little Pigzza has none.

Well, it has some, but surprisingly few. Which ultimately is a good, astute even, choice. Subtle is almost always the better way to go.

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Smoke & Donuts

Written By Scott Joseph On June 22, 2023

Smoke and Donuts Orlando

Smoke & Donuts, the barbecue and oil-boiled dough specialty that started out as a food truck, finally made the move to the brick and mortar store they had been planning for a couple of years. I don’t know what took so long – it certainly wasn’t waiting for the flooring to go in. The space, which was previously occupied by a gourmet popcorn shop, looks sort of like an excavation site.

But the focus is the food, the duality of basic barbecue and gourmet donuts.

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Brother Jimmy’s

Written By Scott Joseph On December 9, 2021

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I was standing outside Brother Jimmy’s earlier this week and as a group went in ahead of me, one of them said, “I am really excited about this.”

Mind you, this was the Brother Jimmy’s in New York’s Murray Hill neighborhood, not a place exactly teeming with barbecue restaurants. I had already visited the Brother Jimmy’s in the Marketplace at Dr. Phillips and figured I should check out a New York location since the concept began there.This is the place with the slogan “Put some south in yo’ mouth.” There are indications that Manhattan had multiple Brothers Jimmy’s – the first was on the Upper East Side and another was on Eighth Avenue, but it appears that only the one on Lexington Avenue still exists.

In fact, when another Brother Jimmy’s opens at Icon Park, Orlando will have twice as many as Manhattan. Is that something to get really excited about?


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Red-Eye’s Git N Messy Smokehouse & Tavern

Written By Scott Joseph On August 19, 2021

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Git-N-Messy BBQ has certainly had a head-spinning trajectory in its relatively young life.

Started in 2019 by Chuck Cobb in a Sanford gas station, it moved to another gas station on Hall Road in Orlando last year before partnering with Red-Eye Sports Tavern in late 2020 and moving to that Winter Springs location.

Cobb and his barbecue gained a loyal fanbase that willingly followed, and he earned national attention, appearing on the ABC talk show “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” preparing his outrageous concoction of Southern poutine.

Then, in April, Cobb was killed while riding his motorcycle. The tavern’s management announced that even before his death, Cobb was looking into pursuing other projects and had been grooming William O’Neal to take over as pitmaster at the renamed Red Eye’s Git N Messy Smokehouse & Tavern.


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Grandma’s BBQ

Written By Scott Joseph On February 23, 2021

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During February, Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide is featuring restaurants that are Black-owned or that have Black chefs in observance of Black History Month.

I like this story.

The food truck known as Grandma’s BBQ was started by an actual grandma, Marcia Owens Ballard. Ballard was employed by the Orange County Public School System and also worked in daycare.

According to the website, Ballard would also prepare food for the families she worked for, and after getting so many requests to cater events, she decided to buy a food truck and go into business. (This is not terribly different from how 4Rivers Smokehouse came to be.)

That was 14 years ago and Ballard is no longer with us. But her grandson, Deodrick Ballard, continues to run the business and keeps the truck moving around to spread Grandma’s joy.


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Orlando Classic: Cecil’s Texas-Style Barbecue

Written By Scott Joseph On December 3, 2020

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I first wrote about Cecil’s Texas-Style Barbecue in 1992, the year that it opened on South Orange Avenue. It was in my weekly Chow Hound column in the Orlando Sentinel and I included it in a roundup of new barbecue joints that had recently opened.

I also mentioned Ream & Co. in Bayhill Plaza; Buz-moz Barbeque & Grill in Apopka; and Lazy Pig BBQ and Tavern just a few blocks south of Cecil’s. I also noted in the same column that there was a new College Park location for Carolina BBQ, a popular Eastern North Carolina barbecue restaurant on Curry Ford Road, and a second location on Primrose Drive for B’s Bar-B-Que Diner, which was near the corner of Mills Avenue and Nebraska Street.

You may have noticed that all of those restaurants have closed – B’s original spot has been a vacant lot for years, though the last time I looked its sign was still there. Heck, even the Chow Hound is gone. (Cecil’s also opened a second location in the Casselberry area that closed in late ’99.)


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Smoke & Donuts

Written By Scott Joseph On March 3, 2020

Smoke donuts exterior

I guess the name Smoke & Donuts is now something of a double entendre. It started – and continues to operate – as a food truck, specializing in barbecued smoked meats and, as the name promises, donuts.

But now owner Ian Russell is offering his food truck menu in a non-wheeled environment in partnership with a Mills 50 business called Belicoso Cigars & Cafe. Hence the double meaning of smoke. We won’t get into any Freudian allusions that might arise from cigars and donut holes – sometimes a donut is just a donut. And sometimes it very much is not, but I’ll come back to that.


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The Noble Smokesman

Written By Scott Joseph On September 11, 2018

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This is certainly an unusual location for any restaurant let alone a barbecue joint. The Noble Smokesman occupies a space in a compound of offices and nonfood businesses on Lake Ellenor Drive, about a block off of South Orange Blossom Trail. (The street name sounded familiar to me and it wasn’t until I found the smokehouse that I realized it was across from the former Darden Restaurants headquarters.) The complex looks more like a place you’d find an accountant’s office or maybe a dentist.

Also unlike other barbecue restaurants, Noble has a polished and spiffy look inside, but that’s probably more because of its newness. It has clean wood-look floors and a white subway-tile wall in the area behind the counter. For some reason there are logs on some of the tables.


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Southern Smoke Fish & Ribs

Written By Scott Joseph On May 19, 2015

Southern Smoke plate

A little place called Southern Smoke Fish & Ribs quietly opened on West Colonial Drive about four months ago. It’s in the same spot that held Italian Beefstro, which quietly closed some time before that.

SSF&R is a neat and tidy place. Guests order their food at the counter and then have a seat at one of the (not very comfy) booths in the compact dining area or at a picnic table outside.

Because of the restaurant’s name, I chose the combo platter that would get me both ribs and fish. For the fish, I had my choice of catfish, tilapia or smelt, and because you don’t often see smelt on a menu, I went with that.


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American Q

Written By Scott Joseph On December 17, 2014

AmericanQ meat

American Q, the restaurant at the recently rebranded B Resort, is a sort of American version of the Brazilian churrascaria, a barbecuscaria, if you will. And it makes perfect sense.

A Latin American churrascaria, of course, features spit-roasted meats sliced tableside by gauchos in a never ending rotation. Think Texas de Brazil, Fogo de Chao and several others.

But gaucho essentially means cowboy, and what’s more American than a cowboy? Barbecue, maybe. So put the two together and you have a great concept. Especially when you consider another thing that is distinctly American: Eating way too much food at one sitting.


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