The Monday after the Oyster Festival, we headed for Palm Bay, Florida to visit family. A little research using the GPS navigator showed two good options. The first was to work our way over to I-75 South to Wildwood, then take the Florida Turnpike to Palm Bay. The programmed mileage was 399 miles. We decided to “avoid tolls,” taking the Florida Turnpike out of the route. The result was routing down to Ocala, then east toward Ormond Beach. From there, we would have the option of taking US 1 or I-95 to Palm Bay. The distance for this recomputed “scenic route,” was only 14 miles longer (413 miles), and it appeared to be along good roads.
The advantages of the scenic route included no tolls (especially the added tolls for the camper), reduced tractor-trailer traffic, and the chance to see local scenery compared to the sterile Interstate environment. The disadvantages included a slightly longer distance; slower average speed due to lower speed limits, towns and signals; and the potential for local traffic congestion. We, however, hoped to enjoy the experience of a good place eat along the way rather than the repetitive brightly colored interstate interchange fast food franchises.
We were not disappointed. Port St. Joe is in the Central Time Zone, and our clocks and our stomachs were still an hour behind. We were hungry. On Route US 19 out of Perry Florida, we found Goodman’s Real Pit BBQ. There was a nice open parking area for the truck and camper. We decided to stop.
Quite frankly, Goodman’s, except for a well-aged sign, is unimpressive from the road. There were, however, a dozen or more vehicles, including several work trucks, in the parking lot, suggesting a regular group of customers.
The interior matches the exterior except for the inviting whiff of pure bar-b-que.
I learned that the building was originally built as a BBQ restaurant for a local Florida chain and later taken over by Goodman’s. Let’s face it, traditional southern BBQ is not a white-cloth-napkins-and-tablecloth-atmosphere. The atmosphere is in the food and perhaps the aromas from the smoker or the kitchen. It is about efficient service and good food that keeps customers coming back.
The wooden booth tables were well worn, but clean. We seated ourselves and our waitress promptly provided menus and water.
The menu had more variety than I had anticipated. First, there was a full list of appetizers, but we did not go beyond the first one—the fried green tomatoes. I ordered a platter to share before we bothered to read the rest of the menu.
Goodman’s serves both lunch and dinner. In addition to larger portions of their BBQ lunches, the dinner menu includes fish, shrimp, and steaks. We focused on the lunch menu, and specifically on pork BBQ options. Peggy selected the sliced pork BBQ sandwich plate, while I ordered the sliced pork plate. Both meals included coleslaw or baked beans and one selection from a lengthy list of sides. We both selected the French fries (the complete menu is online—see the link below).
Their sweet tea is pure southern style.
If BBQ is not your first choice, they offer a wide selection of burgers and other sandwiches.
The fried green tomatoes were thinly sliced, completely breaded and fried to a golden brown. Lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, they were exactly what we had anticipated.
Our meals did not disappoint either. The thinly sliced meat was tender with just the right amount of smoky flavor. Each table is stocked with several types of BBQ sauce to satisfy any taste, from sweet and mild to five-alarm hot. I prefer the mild myself, believing it allows the flavor of the meat to come through. We ate in silence, concentrating on our meals. The meals were fully satisfying, thus we could not justify tasting any of their homemade desserts.
Tablecloths or not, this was a gourmet BBQ meal—just what a couple of hungry travelers needed to refuel our bodies and refresh our spirits.
If you are traveling in the Perry, Florida area, especially along US Rt 19 and you happen to be hungry, we highly recommend Goodman’s Real Pit BBQ. They also prepare meals and bulk BBQ to go.
Goodman’s Real Pit BBQ is located at 2429 S. Byron Butler Parkway, Perry, Florida 32348; telephone (850) 584-3751. Check out their web site: http://www.goodmansbbq.com.
We try to take avoid interstate highways when traveling, time and roads permitting. This also provides the opportunity to discover places that we would not see from the interstates highways. Serendipity Along Route 19 in Florida – Real Pit BBQ describes one such experience.
Serendipity Along Route 19 in Florida – Real Pit BBQ describes a very good BBQ restaurant in Perry, Florida.