A few months ago, Forbes magazine wrote an article highlighting the eight hottest food trends on the rise in cities across the U.S. Among them, grass-fed meats, farmers markets, and Greek fare -- all the same trends we've seen pop up across Broward and Palm Beach County recently.
While these trends eventually trickle down to us South Florida folks, we at Clean Plate Charlie are looking forward to yet another food trend list hit -- barbecue -- making its debut with the grand opening of Bobbi Sue Bar-B-Que in downtown West Palm Beach.
Located at 223 Clematis Street, formerly Reef Road Rum Bar, the 4,500-square-foot, 150-seat eatery will be like that, "cool backyard barbecue," creator Cleve Mash told Clean Plate Charlie during a recent interview. "West Palm's very own spot for Southern comfort food and smoked meats."
Mash, whose company operates Feelgoods Rock Bar and Lost Weekend on Clematis Street, and Dirty Martini in Palm Beach Gardens, has partnered with& Shannon Miller, a veteran in the South Florida hospitality industry, to create what they hope will be "the best" barbecue in the area.
"I also want this to be a fun place. Somewhere families and friends can come to hear some good music, watch a game, and eat some amazing barbeque," said Mash, who considers Bobbi Sue to be a true passion project. The restaurant, named after
his fiancée Bobbi Sue, is more than just homage to the woman he loves -- it's also in honor of her family, known for having some pretty amazing weekend barbecue-style backyard get-togethers. "Every weekend we go to her family's house out west [of West Palm Beach] and have these great backyard barbecues. I wanted to recreate that here."
Another "love" of Mash's: American Pickers, the History channel show featuring Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, who travel around the states in their van buying antiques, vintage memorabilia and collectables. You'll know why Mash has a soft spot for the show once you step inside Bobbi Sue, which features tons of specialty decor tailored to be a picker's dream, from the classic American signs, branded leather chairs, old plantation shelves, rustic whiskey barrels, backyard porch dining area -- even two western saddles for bar stools, an idea Mash picked up from one of his favorite Key West spots, Cowboy Bill's Honky Tonk Saloon.
Despite the hip, old school look and Southern charm feel, food will be the main focus at Bobbi Sue, and the menu will cover all the barbecue bases, said Miller, from Texas-style beef brisket to slow-roasted pulled pork, to St. Louis spare ribs and smoked chicken.
Miller, who has been smoking meats and creating his own rubs for more than two decades, grew up in barbecue country -- his home state of Texas. "That's where I learned to smoke meats and do barbeque right," Miller told Clean Plate Charlie. "After years of eating some of the best barbecue in Nashville, St. Louis, and other cities across the country, I'm confident [in bringing] a bit of that to West Palm Beach. I'm passionate about barbecue, and serving it the right way."
To create authentic, "competition-level" barbecue, Miller has been working alongside executive chef Bryan Doell, hickory smoking all the meats on the menu at low temperatures over an extended period of time to create a signature Bobbi Sue flavor. The house sauces -- there are four specialty versions for various types of meat -- are always served on the side so patrons can savor the tastes of the meat first.