By now you’ve heard that NYC-based Brother Jimmy’s BBQ is opening in Mary Brickell Village. Expect a big block party for July 4 with an official opening the week of July 10. Signature dishes include Brother Jimmy’s Dry Rub Ribs made with 21 spices; Chopped Brisket with burnt ends served in their original BBQ sauce; fried, grilled or blackened catfish; and North Carolina pulled pork. Signature drinks include “Swamp Water,” which is their version of moonshine of sorts served in a 64-ounce fishbowl, yikes. Appetizers average $8 and entrees $14. Open until 4 a.m. nightly (!), BJ’s will also serve Saturday and Sunday brunch, too.
As you may or may not know, Miami’s very first Brother Jimmy’s is a collaboration between four former Miami Hurricanes—three players: Denver Broncos linebacker DJ Williams, Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason, New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, and one player in his own right, ex sports reporter turned PR maven Ron Berkowitz. We had a round table of sorts with Berkowitz, Vilma and Williams to discuss a few details.
What took you so long?
Ron Berkowitz: Good things come to those who wait, building and design take some time and we wanted everything to be perfect and that just takes time, a little longer than expected but we are ready to go.
What will separate Brother Jimmy’s from, say, Shorty’s?
Berkowitz: Brother Jimmy’s is just something different. We have built a great following over the past 23 years in NYC. We are a place to get BBQ, watch sports and of course grab a beer or drink while listening to your favorite music. We are a party and restaurant all wrapped up in one. We just hope we can help build BBQ in Miami. This is hopefully the first of a few stores in South Florida. Our goal is to come to Broward and Palm Beach County, too.
NYC’s Brother Jimmy’s has a certain reputation as a meat market in both literal and figurative senses. Will the same be the case for Miami’s outpost? What will be different in Miami vs. NY if anything?
Berkowitz: I don’t know if I would say meat market in the sense you are saying it. As a matter of fact, the Zagat’s nightlife guide came out last week for NYC and we rank at or near the top in several categories.
How will you convince rabid, diehard Florida sports fans that Brother Jimmy’s is an equal opportunity sports bar for all?
Jon Vilma: Brother Jimmy’s is going to be the premiere place in Brickell to watch all sports throughout the year. We are proud that 3 of the owners have graduated from the University of Miami, but we are not limited to that. Brother Jimmy’s is open for everyone to come eat some great BBQ, and enjoy the game/sport of their choice.
DJ Williams: Just cause the bar is affiliated with Hurricanes doesn’t mean you can come in and root for you team–that will just add to the atmosphere. Canes love good, fun, clean competition and actually welcome it.
Berkowitz: As a matter of fact, UF and Alabama along with UM will all be hosting Alumni events at Brother Jimmy’s in Brickell for football games this fall, should be fun.
Will we see you guys working up a sweat behind the bar, a smoker, in the kitchen or just sitting in a VIP corner taking it all in?
Vilma: I work up a sweat in my day job, no need to overdo it. I enjoyed Brother Jimmy’s during my playing days with the Jets, I want to have the same experience when I’m in Miami.
Williams: You’ll definitely see me behind the bar, I love a good time.. shot! shot! shot! shot!!
Your favorite style of BBQ? Vinegar based or tomato based?
Vilma: Vinegar based. Can’t go wrong.
Williams: BJB (Brother Jimmy’s based).