Food News

Texas Hold 'Em BBQ Folds Sunrise Store, Antes Up Downtown

Every day after work, I would drive home along Sunrise Boulevard and spot Texas Hold 'Em BBQ's big barrel smoker chugging along out front. I got really used to seeing -- and smelling -- it out there. Occasionally, the fuming stack would churn out a plume of rich smoke so strong I'd have to pull over and grab an early dinner. Well, for about a week now, I noticed the distinct lack of that comforting smell as I drove past. Sure enough, the smoker was no more. I thought, what a bummer. Texas Hold 'Em must've folded 'em.

Not so, actually. The BBQ joint, which had occupied that spot on Sunrise just east of Seventh Avenue for five years now, has moved. Last Tuesday was its first official day in its new, downtown digs, the space formerly occupied by the now-defunct Downtown Pizzeria off of Andrews Avenue in the Fort Lauderdale courthouse district (21 SW Seventh St., Fort Lauderdale, to be exact). We'll miss Downtown Pizzeria's super-garlicky spinach dip, but BBQ downtown sure does sound like a godsend.

Much more after the cut.

So what prompted the move to the new location? "Tougher times called for reaching a different demographic, and there really wasn't much growth left [at the Sunrise location]," says owner Jeremy Armstead. "We had been there for five years and had pretty much tapped out on growth. We thought, in the next five, can we continue to grow here? The answer was no, so we found this spot."

Texas Hold 'Em should certainly see a lot more foot traffic at the new location. Not only is it within walking distance of the courthouse but it's also right next to the new Arts Park and next to the Andrews Avenue Publix. With the new spot will come new clientele, and Armstead is already thinking about how to reach them.

"We're definitely going to change the menu. We're gonna go back to some real funky food that we thought was fun before," says Armstead, referring to the first iteration of Texas Hold 'Em's menu. "We're gonna have a sandwich with pulled pork, cole slaw, and sweet potato fries all on top. We're gonna do what we call a Texas potato; that's a huge Idaho potato stuffed with pulled pork and chunky blue cheese. And Texas nachos, plus fried shrimp and catfish and some kind of Louisiana poor boy with pulled pork. Basically, it's a more artsy area, and we're going to meet that."

Texas Hold 'Em will hold an official grand opening to coincide with the new menu (and new website) sometime in the future. Stay tuned to Clean Plate Charlie for details.

Texas Hold 'Em BBQ
21 SW Seventh St., Fort Lauderdale

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John Linn