Smitty’s Grille spices up dining scene

Brian and Hillary Smith have come up with a tasty concept of comfort food and classic cars that is taking palates for a spin at their restaurant, Smitty’s Grille in Miramar.

The 65-seat eatery, which opened last summer, specializes in barbecue fare offered against a colorful, upbeat decor decorated with framed photos of vintage and antique rides. The storefront grille in the Miramar Square shopping plaza marks a fresh start for the couple, who had already made a name for themselves in local dining circles as owners of Stevie B’s Rib Cafe in Pembroke Pines.

The Smiths bought their former digs from the previous owner and ran it for three years until closing in April 2009. Most of the old staff, including chef Abel Vargas, now work at new venture. So do the couple’s daughters, Brooke, 14, and Brittany, 16.

“At Stevie B’s, we did mostly barbecue,” Hillary Smith said. “Here we’ve added fish, salads and more vegetable side dishes. We have something for everyone.”

The revved-up menus are graced by Smitty’s logo, a cute piggie wearing sunglasses and a long blue scarf behind the wheel of a 1953 Oldsmobile.

Folks craving barbecue will find beef, baby back and St. Louis ribs, pulled pork, brisket, chicken, mahi-mahi and salmon. Entrees and sandwiches are accompanied by what Brian Smith describes as a sweet, tangy sauce.

Other options include wings, New York strip steak, spicy Italian sausage, beer-battered cod, a choice of Angus, veggie or turkey burgers and Smitty’s signature fried catfish Reuben sandwich. There are also plenty of appetizers, sides and desserts such as pineapple upside-down cake, Oriental salad, baked sweet potatoes, jalapeno poppers and cheesy garlic loaves. Beer and wine are available, too.

Prices start at $5.49 for a hot dog, add another buck to top it with chili. Barbecue ranges from $6.99 for a brisket or pulled pork sandwich, up to $24.99 for the Jumbo Combo featuring a full slab of ribs and half a chicken. Diners can get deals with lunch specials and early bird dinners. Teachers, police and fire-rescue personnel with identification get discounts, as well, Brian Smith said.

A special kids menu for ages 12 and younger offers items such as mac ’n cheese for $5.49 and baby back ribs for $7.99.

Guests have the benefit of free Wi-Fi, as well as four flat-screen televisions on the blue and burnt orange walls. Live music is played Friday nights. Outdoor seating will be added soon, Brian Smith said.

The restaurant’s name pays homage to his dad, Joel, who owned an auto body shop named Smitty’s in Queens, N.Y., he said.

Mary Bisbano said she had been employed at Stevie B’s for 10 years, when it was in Cooper City and then moved with the business when it relocated to Pembroke Pines.

“I love it,” Bisbano said. “We promote a very family friendly atmosphere.”

Roger Taitt, who works in the area with his business partners Manny Gonzalez and Brandon Corie at CrossFit, a strength and conditioning program at a neighboring commerce park, said they are frequent visitors at Smitty’s.

“The food is delicious and the people are great,” Taitt said. “We love the ribs. They’re tender and fall off the plate.”

If you go

What: Smitty’s Grille

Where: Miramar Square, 12328 Miramar Pkwy., Miramar.

Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; noon-8 p.m. Sunday.

Information: 954-432-6422.


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