Saturday, December 20, 2008

Choo Choo Bar-B-Que & Seafood, Middleburg, Florida

Choo Choo Bar-B-Que
County Road 218, next door to Wilford Propane Gas Co.
Middleburg, Florida
Take-out: 904-406-0539

Today I noticed a grand opening banner for Choo Choo Bar-B-Que on CR 218. I had seen their mobile concessions trailer parked there several times before, but never stopped to check it out.

The first thing I noticed was the dimness of the restaurant, due to the gray walls. The decorations included two deer heads, various nautical pieces and a hutch with trophies. The overall feel was a dreary multipurpose room one might see in a church. What I liked were the small black cauldrons on each table for salt and pepper packets. I thought those gave a more homey feel to the restaurant.

Decor aside, I really enjoyed the food at Choo Choo Bar-B-Que and Seafood. I also found the owners to be very friendly and enthusiastic. With a minor amount of tweaking, this restaurant has the potential to become a Middleburg favorite.

Here is a breakdown of the menu:

Grilled shrimp with 2 sides
This meal was listed on a menu board near the counter. It included 6 large shrimp on a skewer. Each piece was plump and fresh. Very good!

What was brought out was bbq beans. When the error was pointed out, our server's answer was "We don't have greens. That was a misprint on the menu. Can I get you a different side ?" On the menu was a listing for bbq beans and another for green salad, with the salad crossed out and "greens" written underneath. So yeah, none of us thought that made sense. But the offer of a replacement side (french fries) was accepted. The fries were hot and lightly salted, so we weren't entirely displeased about the mix-up.

The coleslaw had shredded carrots and a pinch of black pepper. It was the right amount of of creaminess.

The Cannonball Combo
1/4 lb pork sandwich with 1 side and a drink

The pork sandwich was delicious! The meat was tender and smoky. It was served on a hearty sized bun.

Green onion potato salad
The potato salad was bland. It desperately needed pickles. The green onions did nothing for the potato salad.

Choo Choo's has no dessert menu at the moment. We hear they are working on that and may have desserts later.

The unsweetened tea was good. However, the cola tasted flat. It was poured from a liter bottle, which is probably the cause.

There's a charge for refills. This aspect probably won't go over well, as other barbecue restaurants in this area don't do that.

Takeout menu
The takeout menu had a cluttered, disorganized look. This was caused by words written sideways and an abundance of stars and exclamation points. The takeout menu needs a focal point to guide the reader. Hopefully this will be fixed at some point.

Other items available
-Stuffed flounder with crab meat, Mayport fresh fried shrimp, fresh fried oysters, catfish and hush puppies, fried fish

-Smoked chicken, Brunswick stew, St. Louis style ribs, baby back ribs, 1/2 lb ground steak with au jus

-Cucumber and tomato salad, country fried sweet corn, pole beans, fried okra, fried squash, onion rings, ribbon fries, buffalo wings (original, hotter and suicide), shrimp appetizer meal

- Children's menu: Includes fries and a small drink. Popcorn shrimp, chicken tenders, corn dog, hot dog

-Listed on the menu board: Macaroni and cheese, chicken and ribs combo

*6/27/09 Update: Choo Choo Bar-B-Que appeared closed shortly after my one visit. I have called the number on their menu a few times, but nobody ever answered. Their mobile bbq trailor is still parked there most weekdays, though. Anyone know for sure what happened ?

*8/19/09 Update: A new grand opening sign was put out about two weeks ago. The chainlink fence around Choo Choo is now gone. I have to say that's a huge improvement, because it gave the impression of "this is private property, do not enter."

*7/04/10 Update: Did Choo Choo Bar-B-Que close again ? There is a sign out front saying "Future home of the (local lodge club)"

1 comment:

Foodista said...

Hello Megan, your reviews are interesting. I'd like to invite you to take some time to drop by at Foodista. We have launched an online food and cooking encyclopedia ala wikipedia. Thanks, See you there!