Urban Brew & BBQ invited the Tampa Bay Bloggers to sample their food & drink in exchange for some honest reviews. All opinions shared here are my own.
Relaxing over a tasty lunch with some of the Tampa Bay Bloggers was a welcome break in July. Great food, fun atmosphere and friendly folks made for a much needed break in a hectic month. This place has a urban-rustic vibe that encourages chilling out and chatting up your neighbor. A 30 foot long mural shows Central Ave. in St. Petersburg as it might have looked 100 years ago. My photo didn't come out due to a misbehaving phone. Click here to visit Urban Brew's website for a great pic and more info.
The bar runs the length of the space. There is also a handful of tables inside and out. On the aside, as word gets out about this new spot and their great beer selection, I bet there will be a bit of a wait during peak hours.
The textured wall of salvaged Augusta Brick (which originally paved the streets of old St. Pete) is the perfect backdrop for a row of shiny taps and shelves of glasses. The glasses come in different shapes to best highlight the characteristics of each beer. All beers served here are available in half-pours too.
|root beer in front, iced tea in back|
There is even a non-alcoholic root beer from the Abita brewing company on tap. It had been a long time since I'd sipped a root beer - I found it less fizzy that expected and very sweet. I decided to stick with my refreshing unsweetened iced tea (but sampled some beers on my next visit).
On with the show! When signing up, we were told we'd be sampling some pulled pork, coleslaw and brownies. It was a good thing I came hungry, as we were each given a tray loaded with tasty treats to try.
On the bar are four sauces for customizing your 'cue. I am sauce-crazy, so this made me very happy! They are spicy, tangy, sweet & extra sweet. The spicy sauce was definitely my fave and it mixed well with the tangy and sweet.
Next is a small black bowl of homemade baked beans. These are cooked with smoked meats and molasses for extra flavor. I have to honestly admit to a strong aversion to baked beans, but wanted to make sure I tasted everything. They were very sweet, and while still not my thing, tasted pretty good. The bean fans in the group said they were fabulous.
On the upper left of the tray is a bite of kielbasa wrapped in prosciutto. I have disliked kielbasa since childhood... until now. This was really tasty - just the right amount of juicy, crispy and salty.
A couple of the sides we tried were the potato salad (mixed with cream cheese) and coleslaw. Both are made with less mayo than you usually find, which is a plus for me. The fresh roll on the bottom left was from Giovanni's in Clearwater. These are also the rolls used for the sliders.
There was also homemade sausage, a special & not on the menu. Mine was on the dry side, which was fixed by dipping into some sauce.
Next up, the smoked meats: Urban Brew uses a dry rub similar to Memphis style. They trim, smoke and rest the meats so they are tender and not fatty at all. There were baby back ribs. I'm more of a country-rib gal (BBQ blasphemy, I am told) but this was one of the better baby back's I've tried. On the far right is the pulled pork, delicious by itself. No sauce needed.
|Urban Mac & Cheese|
And this, friends, is my new holy grail. Made when ordered and served with the small skillet it is cooked in, this tasty side is loaded with four savory cheeses and covered in crispy bread crumbs for a truly mac-tastic experience. This time, I had to share.... next time, I am getting my own!
I had to leave early but caught a photo of this yummy looking skillet apple crisp first. I'd sampled a spoonful of just the caramel earlier, which was infused with juicy apple goodness. A skillet Ghirardelli's brownie was also served.
Since I missed out on the sweets, wanted to try the beers... and just kept thinking about the Urban mac & cheese, a second visit was definitely in order. When my Mom had a hankering for some BBQ earlier this week, we popped over for lunch. One of these days I hope to share that meal too (with photos) - just need to get around to it.
For more about Urban Brew & BBQ, including details on the decor, a menu and what is currently on tap visit http://www.urbanbrewandbbq.com. And if you're feeling peckish pop on over to 1939 Central Ave. St. Petersburg, FL.