Mangia y’all! A taste of Texas awaits folks in Morris Park/Van Nest.
And it’s all thanks to small business mogul Peter Circelli, a 45-year-old Pelham Parkway native who opened PBQ (Peter’s Barbecue) Smokehouse, a rib joint with fiery flare, as illustrated by its exterior.
Inside, folks can step into a nicely rugged, saloon-style eatery complete with over five dozen seats, upbeat tunes and authentic taxidermied bullhorn.
In every aspect, customers can feel like they’ve taken a trip to Texas, taking advantage of, among other things, Quickdraw Lotto.
The rib restaurant at 866 Morris Park Ave. is something of a rarity in an area so accustomed to Italian fare.
But Circelli, himself Italian, saw this as a business opportunity.
“Nobody does it,” said Circelli, a soft-spoken merchant who works alongside his mother in charge of the bookkeeping.
Circelli successfully ran a towing and collision shop in New Jersey before entering the food industry.
But he wanted to be the type of restaurateur who did things right, leasing a large venue and hiring Freddie Luna, a seasoned rib chef whose daily routine involves lathering the meat with Texas-made rub, a marinating spice.
The fusion of spice with ribs is enough that Circelli tells customers to think twice about the barbecue sauce.
“You can put barbecue sauce on,” said Circelli. “But you don’t need it.”
But what he did need was a pair of smokers, the cooking apparatus needed to seal the flavor while producing its fall-off-the-bone trait.
“The rub is marinated with the food, marinated overnight and put into the smoker,” said Circelli, showing off the hickory-fired smokers capable of cooking nearly 300lbs of meat a day.
Other dining options include “out of this world” pulled pork burgers, roasted corn salsa, and 1/2 rack BBQ Texas size.
For the Morris Park crowd craving some Old World flavor, Circelli offers Smoked Sausage and Peppers and Chicken Chilli Pasta.
“We smoke our sausage with hickory, then we infuse that with peppers,” he said, adding his culinary intention to “intertwine with the community.”
Drink specials include 32oz beer pitchers for $5 and a Texas Bull Dog drink.
On top of a hotel, medical center and 9/11 call center coming to the nearby Hutch Metro Center, producing potential customers for Circelli. All he can do for now is build his brand.
As the Google and Yelp reviews show, Circelli’s enjoying a level of success.
PBQ Smokehouse is opened seven days a week, from 11am-2am. Phone 718 824-4727.
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383