The Bearded Pig has made its way onto my list of favorite BBQ spots in Jacksonville. The interior vibe feels like a family room with a bar, and the patio is like a huge backyard. They have four house-made sauces, and I could sit there all day with a mountain of fries, rotating between each sauce. They have a huge platter of meat and sides called “The San Marco” platter, and it’s only $25. It’s so good that last week I went two days in a row and killed two platters (#noshame). I wiped my fingers off and sat down with co-owner Chad Munsey to talk all things BBQ.
“I was just getting to the point of selling my interest in two other restaurants. I wanted to do something new and [business partner Michael Schmidt and I] kept throwing ideas around. He kept saying, ‘You know I’ve got this BBQ concept that I did up in Boston called: The Bearded Pig.’ I loved the name. I kept going back to the name and back to the name. He had the idea, the name, and his recipes, and I brought the operations part together.”
Could you tell me about The San Marco platter?
“We wanted to feature our ribs and chicken. We wanted to have a couple of set things and then you get a couple of choices. We felt it was a great way to get a taste of everything we do. It’s perfect for sharing. We have people that come in for lunch order the platter then take half of it to go.”
The San Marco platter consists of: 1/4 Rack Ribs + 1/4 Chicken + 1/4LB Each of 2 Meats + 2 Sides and 1 Roll if you want it. The kicker is that its only $25. Split it two ways and its only $12 each. Best deal ever!
You’re really tucked away in San Marco. Do you think this is a tough location?
“Not at all. Michael and I both lived in San Marco. We also knew the 95 corridor was going to be changed and they were going to be directing traffic down this road. We just fell in love with the building and the possibility. This was a dump when we took it over.”
I love sweet potatoes. Why don’t you have sweet potatoes?
“We’ve done it as a special before. We do a seasonal side that kind of mirrors of what’s going on, what’s fresh, the time of the year. It’s a fall dish. We’ve done butternut squash as well.”
Speaking of seasonal sides: I had the collard greens the other day and I was like “holy shit!” I was drinking the broth.
“All of our side items are vegetarian. Those are locally grown and come from White Harvest Farms that is affiliated with the Clara White Mission. We will call them a day before, and they will pick them that morning and bring them to us.”
Why do you think people love The Bearded Pig so much?
“Quality food, great atmosphere. Consistency hopefully is another answer. Consistency is paramount to me. Overall, just like you said earlier, it felt like you’re sitting in someone’s backyard, and I think that’s what people want. We created something here that you can’t find anywhere in town. When we first opened, we kept hearing the word, “vibes.” The vibe here is really chill. It’s really relaxed. I’ve done a lot of restaurants, and I’ve never heard people talk about the vibe so much. Michael and I did a lot of the work ourselves. That wood on the walls was lots of late nights.”
The Bearded Pig has quickly become a staple in The San Marco area and in Jacksonville. If you love BBQ, this is your jam. Chad is already in development of a new fast casual concept that will be on Kings Road as well. Whatever it is, my body is ready.
For more information about The Bearded Pig, go to thebeardedpigbbq.com
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