After months of delays, the Sarasota-based barbecue joint opened today on Lakewood Ranch Main Street
Calling all brisket buffs and pulled pork fanatics: Li'l Nancy's at the Ranch officially opened its doors today.
Nancy Krohngold, owner Nancy's Bar-B-Q in Sarasota, first purchased the new spot in Lakewood Ranch in April. The barbecue guru originally planned to open in September but experienced some delays setting up shop that continually pushed back her opening date. Fans of the Sarasota joint have impatiently asked her via Facebook when they can get their favorite meals in Lakewood Ranch.
The Lakewood Ranch location seats about 36 people and is serving up Nancy's "greatest hits," or about 80% of the Sarasota menu. Because of the location, Li'l Nancy's can't have a smoker on site, so the smoked meat is delivered in the mornings from the Sarasota smoker.
Two of Krohngold's friends, Susan Mitchell and Melissa Dunlap of Sarasota, made sure to be her first customers. Dunlap set up chairs in front of the store at 8:30 this morning, and made a sign reading "Reserved for Li'l Nancy's original first customer." Mitchell gave Krohngold the first dollar spent at the new location.
The two friends, who have known Krohngold for 30 years, were the first to encourage her to open her first restaurant in Sarasota.
"We were taste testing her barbecue when she was still cooking on her own," Mitchell said.
Mitchell, a real estate agent with Michael Saunders & Company, helped Krohngold too by buying a meal from her to give to a homebuyer as a "first meal" gift in their new home.
"I told her, this stuff is great," she said. "Why don't you sell this?"
Tim Knight, the operations manager for John Cannon Homes in Lakewood Ranch, was the third customer in the door at Li'l Nancy's. He's eaten at the Sarasota restaurant, and was excited for the second location near his office.
"I just love barbecue," he said.