Charlie & Jake's Brewery & Restaurant-Suntree- 3.5-Stars
"Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it's a start." -- Anthony Bourdain
As any loyal Biggie knows, the state of Barbecue in my beloved Brevard county is dismal, to say the least. I recall, not too long ago a place where you could get the best BBQ ever imaginable. *sigh* Alas, Fat Boy's is no more. Then we still had it good with Sonny's until their service went to hell in a hand-basket. There is a local "chain" around here known as MeMaw's that has cheap beer, but not much else and Bubba's Backyard BBQ which should stay in the back and should be avoided at all costs, there are a few independents that sprung up here and there, but I have yet to find a decent one, which brings us to Charlie and Jake's. The Beachside location sucks and who knows what happened there...the split of Charlie and Jake might have something to do with it; however their location in Suntree was yet to be tried and so when it showed up on my random hash-house generator, I set forth in the BBDO mobile with an open mind and hoping beyond all hope to get some decent BBQ.
Charlie and Jake's Brewery is located just off of Wickham Road in the Suntree Healthplex, while I do find it ironic that a BBQ joint is in a strip mall called the Healthplex, at least it's not another one anchored by a Publix. One would think, back here in redneck country, if you threw a stone it would hit a good BBQ place, alas, that is not the case and so with a cheerful, optimistic view I entered and was greeted warmly, shown to a table, handed a menu and told my server would be right with me. It wasn't all that long before said server appeared at my table and in a very cheerful, friendly way introduced herself as Amanda and asked for my order. I requested a their "award-winning" BBQ half chicken with a half rack of St. Louis style ribs and their Brisket along with one side each of their Turnip greens and some corn on the cob.
Glancing around as is my modus operandi while awaiting my food, I couldn't help but wonder what caused the split between Charlie and Jake. The inside is spacious without being cavernous and there is plenty of outside patio seating for those wishing to dine with the no-see-ums. The decor, while not being uppity, exuded an air of class making one feel right at home. Returning to the mystery that is the split between Charlie and Jake, my thoughts were interrupted by the return of Amanda laden with steaming heaps of BBQ.
First up on the BBDO palate was their BBQ half chicken. I have to say this was prepared to perfection and I just fell in love with this bird! While the fowl was done to perfection and so succulent in my mouth, I found their sauce to be short of extraordinary and fell on the average side of the rating scale. So far, with the perfect chicken and the average sauce, this place was head and shoulders above its old namesake located Beachside. I also found the accompanying garlic bread to be cooked properly and exploding with garlicky goodness on the palate. Sadly, I found the turnip greens to be on the bland side of the taste spectrum while the corn was cooked properly and tasted like, well, so much corn.
Turning my taste buds to the second item in this delightful combo, the St. Louis style ribs, I eagerly dug right in. As one can see by the picture they were large, plump and had more meat than fat (meat!). I am not here to join in the debate of whether or not they should or should not be cooked to the point of "falling off the bone." I know what I like and that's all there is to it. These were cooked to perfection and not only fell off the bone right into my mouth but were exceedingly tasty. All around, the entree was very good and very cool. If only the BBQ sauce was on par with the meats, this place would be right up there with places in TX, SC, MS, and MO, alas, as such it is not; however, it is the best I have yet to find on the Space Coast of Florida.
Big Boy says, If Charlie and Jake's is a harbinger of good BBQ to come, I cannot wait. If it is an anomaly, then I suggest every time "you have a hunkerin' for some down-home, excellent cooked BBQ meats, head on over to Charlie and Jake's Brewery in Suntree and stay away from their Beachside location." #iamthebigboy #bigboydiningout