Brick's Barbeque, the popular downtown Sarasota farmers' market booth helmed by Mark Gabrick, is coming to Southside Village. Gabrick, working with business partner Dick Rivera, recently secured plans to take over a space on the west side of South Osprey Avenue, just north of Mark Caragiulo's in-the-works Veronica Fish & Oyster.
The announcement comes after months of searching for the right spot. Gabrick was originally considering a location near University Parkway and I-75, but decided to rethink that plan and stick closer to downtown and the fanbase that he's built up at the farmers' market since joining it in late 2013.
Gabrick's brisket, in particular, is a marvel, with a powerful smoky flavor up front and a wonderfully tender texture. He achieves those results by cooking with just "wood & time," as his sign says, and that won't change with the new restaurant. The centerpiece of his plans is the J&R Oyler 1300 smoker, a giant wood-burning machine that can handle 1,800 pounds of beef at once.
"It's kind of the definitive smoker of Texas barbecue restaurants," says Gabrick. "It's amazing. It puts out such a great product." Gabrick was originally going to opt for a smaller version of the Oyler, till Aaron Franklin of the legendary Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, recommended he get one as big as possible. "We're not using a gas assist to help fire the pit," Gabrick says. "It's strictly wood all through the cook."
Getting hungry? Unfortunately, you'll have to wait a bit. Gabrick says demolition in the space should begin in a couple weeks or a month. They'll have to knock down a wall just to get the 4,000-pound smoker inside. With all the work needed, Gabrick is eying an opening date in late October or November. The space is roughly 3,200 square feet and will have just over 100 seats.
Rivera, Gabrick's partner in the restaurant, brings a wealth of restaurant industry experience to the table. He's worked with national brands like TGI Friday's and Red Lobster and the restaurant conglomerate Darden. Gabrick calls Rivera "an amazing, amazing guy." Gabrick will operate the new eatery, but Rivera's input has been invaluable, Gabrick says: "He's offering a lot of experience and wisdom and just really good thoughts."
Gabrick's farmers' market offerings have been limited so far; while he's planning to expand his selection for the restaurant, he can't yet share details on how the menu will shape up. But whatever it looks like, Gabrick's "holy trinity of meats"—brisket, ribs and sausage—will remain the core of the restaurant's identity. We wouldn't want it any other way.
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