Tampa Bay's Barbecue Renaissance

Dr. Barbecue Ray Lampe and Tom Scherberger
"Dr. Barbecue" Ray Lampe and Tom Scherberger of the St. Petersburg Times are looking for great new barbecue in Tampa Bay.
TAMPA (2011-3-8) -

You could call it a barbecue renaissance. There's been an explosion of new barbecue restaurants nationally, and Tampa Bay has more barbecue joints than bakeries, according to Urbanspoon.com – more than 300.

WUSF's Scott Finn joined two barbecue lovers – “Dr. Barbecue” Ray Lampe and Tom Scherberger of the St. Petersburg Times as they checked out just one of these new restaurants: Holy Hog Barbecue in West Tampa. It’s part of a larger quest for great new barbecue places in Tampa Bay.

Scherberger said the growth in barbecue could be tied to the recession. Families still want to go out to eat, and barbecue is usually more affordable than a steakhouse.

Lampe said Tampa is a real melting pot of barbecue, with unique barbecue styles representing different parts of the South, the Northeast, and the Midwest – all brought here by migrants.

Holy Hog Barbecue on Armenia Avenue in West Tampa has its roots in Cuba as well as the American South. Owner Danny Hernandez was the long-time owner of a Cuban restaurant, but he decided to switch to barbecue to reflect his growing passion for the craft.

Besides, both Cuban and southern culture love pork.

“We’re big on the pig,” Hernandez said. “We’ve been using that as a slogan for 25 years.”

CLICK HERE to hear Dr. Barbecue, Scherberger and Hernandez wax poetic about pork.

For reviews on Holy Hog and several other new barbecue joints in our area, check out this story in the St. Petersburg Times.

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