Can a Jewish girl from Cleveland find true happiness making North Carolina-style barbecue in Florida? For Nancy Krohngold, the answer is a resounding “yes,” and her peculiar confluence of circumstances is making a lot of other people happy as well.
It all began about nine years ago, when she read about chef and cookbook author Chris Schlesinger making pulled pork in his backyard and said to herself, “I have to try that.” Her version quickly became the go-to recipe for gatherings of her family and friends. It was Susan Mitchell, of Michael Saunders, who suggested that she make a business of it, and that is the bare bones back story of how a former graphic designer became Sarasota’s own ’cue queen.
It did not happen overnight. For about seven years, Krohngold operated out of a truck and delivered to homes and businesses and catering events. Along the way, she developed an army of devoted followers.
“The food grew the business,” she says.
When she started to look for a restaurant location, she turned to long-time friend and informal mentor Mark Caragiulo and asked him to look at a couple of options. His response was to suggest a couple more places we should look at. That “we” was the beginning of their partnership.
“The Caragiulos had the restaurant-operations experience, and I had barbecue that was an underserved segment in this market,” Krohngold says. “It makes for a perfect partnership.”
Nancy’s Bar-B-Q opened in March 2011. It has created 28 new jobs in Sarasota in challenging economic times, operating in 1,500 square feet of space at the corner of Ringling Boulevard and Pineapple Avenue. It has indoor, porch and outdoor seating for a total of 100 guests, including two, long pull-up-a-chair community tables for 12.
Pulled pork is still the No. 1 item on the menu, especially as a luncheon special with two sides for $6.95. Other barbecue options are chicken, ribs, brisket and Texas hot links (spicy pork sausage). The menu is more than meat, however. There is chilled maple-cured salmon for fish-lovers, and a poster displays a list of eight side dishes that are vegetarian and nine that are gluten-free.
Virtually everything in the restaurant is made there. The exception is the au gratin potatoes that are on the menu as “box potatoes” because their preparation starts with a boxed product. According to Krohngold, she couldn’t get as delicious a result making the potatoes from scratch. And that rule proves that the restaurant and the food are as honest and forthright as you will find anywhere.
Finding Nancy’s may be the only issue these days, given the construction of the roundabout on Ringling. Take Orange Avenue south from Main Street across Ringling to the second right-hand turn — Cross Street. Look for Nancy’s Bar-B-Q signs and follow the alley-like street west, a short distance to the restaurant.
Address: 301 S. Pineapple Ave.
Hours: Lunch and dinner; open 11:30 a.m. to close Monday through Saturday
NANCY’S EDAMAME SUCCOTASH
Serves: 6; Start to finish: 40 minutes
1 pound (approximately 2 ears) fresh corn, cut from cobs and blanched (may use frozen)
1/2 pound edamame (soy) beans (fresh or frozen product, defrosted)
4 tablespoons butter
1 to 2 tablespoons red bell pepper
1 bunch scallions (white part only)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and black pepper
1. Cut corn from ears, blanche and drain (or defrost 1 pound fresh, frozen sweet corn).
2. Trim scallions to white part only and slice thin (discard green portions or save for another use).
3. Dice red bell pepper.
4. Melt butter in a saucepan or skillet.
5. Add red bell pepper and scallions to skillet and sauté, stirring occasionally, until scallions are transparent (do not allow to brown).
6. Add edamame and heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until tender.
7. Add corn and heat for approximately five minutes.
8. Add cream, salt and pepper, and heat to boiling.
9. Taste to adjust seasoning and serve.