Started as a farmer's market pop-up, the new State Street restaurant serves up authentic Texas barbecue.
For Mark Gabrick, the golden rule extends beyond just the way we should treat each other. It also applies to food.
The pitmaster and owner of Brick’s Smoked Meats, which recently opened on State Street in downtown Sarasota, explains.
“Everybody knows the golden rule,” he says. “I tell my employees we should do that at the restaurant — serve people the food you would want to eat.”
Gabrick is originally from Kansas City, Mo., and moved to Sarasota from Dallas six years ago. To say he knows good barbecue is an understatement. He grew up eating at some of the best Midwest barbecue joints, and then moved to Texas, where he was immersed in the culture and honed his skills.
Now he hopes to share an authentic Texas experience with customers in Sarasota.
He and his family moved to the Gulf Coast with the idea of opening his own barbecue restaurant. The concept started as a weekly pop-up stand at the Sarasota Farmers Market. But he knew he wanted to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
“I’ve had this vision for a long time,” he says. “Every week, I would do something toward making this a reality, whether that was buying a single spatula or a set of chairs.”
Opened May 16, Brick’s Smoked Meats is Gabrick’s vision come to life. Specializing in central Texas-style barbecue, the menu includes traditional must-haves, such as smoked brisket, St. Louis-style ribs and pulled pork, as well as a variety of tacos, sandwiches and side dishes served in miniature cast-iron skillets, like corn, jalapeño beans soaked in barbecue drippings, corn bread muffins and more.
The fattier cuts of brisket are a particular highlight, showing off Gabrick’s peppery flavor profile and smoky taste achieved with “Big Red,” his 1,800-pound capacity J&R Oyler Pit smoker.
With tall ceilings and an open dining area, the ambience is relaxed in a fast-casual format with hints of Texas décor and a full bar with signature cocktails, to boot.
“Barbecue is such a sensory experience, tied to memory,” he says. “I have so many memories eating barbecue with my family. I want this to be a place families can create their own moments.”