Me: “What did you eat for breakfast this morning?”
Matt (Pitmaster): “Ah, yogurt and granola.”
Me: “What type of yogurt?”
Those were my first two questions to Matt as we stood next to the smoker at Midwood Smokehouse in Plaza Midwood. Pretty sure he thought I was an idiot. Pretty sure he still thinks I’m an idiot.
First, let’s take a look behind the scenes.
Here are 12 things I learned in 14 minutes with Matt Barry (Pitmaster) and Frank Scibelli (CEO/Founder of FS Food Group, owner of Midwood).
(1) Midwood Smokehouse will open more restaurants. Frank is about to ton it with the sale of Bad Daddy’s. $21 million. He struck me as incredibly smart and he’ll use some of this cash to open more locations. Sounds like Columbia, SC is in the cards for 2016 and a Southpark location could happen soon(ish). I tried to grill him about the Bad Daddy’s sale and Southpark location, but as charming as I am, he didn’t give me anything juicy.
(2) Matt grew up in Charlotte. He attended Charlotte Catholic, South Meck & Providence Day (for a year). Really enjoyed chatting with him. He’s very humble.
(3) Frank eats coffee for breakfast. At least that’s what he told me when I asked him. He’s also got incredible hair – it’s grey and kinda a flat top thing, but it looks very smooth. I’m not being funny. He looks like a good looking, successful restauranteur that you want to hang out with and listen to his stories. Oh wait, he is.
(4) Ballantyne location (opening May 6th) will be very good looking. Haven’t seen it but Frank described it as the “best looking restaurant” he may have ever opened.
Sneak peek of the bar top, new booths, and furniture being moved in today! The chefs are laying out their new digs and AV/TV’s are being installed. We anticipate opening May 6th and will everyone updated with any changes. #cltfood #excited #cltbbq #digdapig #ballantynenc
A photo posted by @midwoodsmokehouse on
(5) Yes, Matt cooks BBQ at his house. I figured he would hate spending his time off cooking, but it turns out that he loves to cook ribs at his house. I would like him to invite me over. I’ll bring beer, Matt. Please?
(6) Frank and Matt met through Matt’s uncle.
(7) They don’t cut corners on the craft or the meat. Midwood buys Prime Brisket (I don’t really know what this means) and their smoker is 100% wood (not that wood chip flavored stuff).
(8) Matt gets a lot of chatter from customers who want Big Green Egg tips. I can totally see people wanted to nerd out with Matt about their smoking skills.
(9) Matt & Frank are meat crazy. They recently returned from a Texas barbecue tour and they’ve been hanging out with James Beard Award-winning Chef Robb Walsh and legendary Pitmaster Ed Mitchell. Matt and Frank are focused on perfecting the “Beef Rib.” Geez. I am just working on not having my burgers turn into baseballs after I burn them on the grill pan because I’m too lazy to buy charcoal.
(11) Watch out, Frank has some additional restaurant concepts up his sleeve. He told me that he’s into “Middle Eastern food” and “American comfort food.” Frank, shoot me an email because I’d like to invest. The Agenda prints cash, so I have about $125 that I can contribute for a 10% stake. Let’s talk dude.
(12) They didn’t give me any free meats. I’ll be honest, I was slightly disappointed that they didn’t offer me free meat. I could bathe in their brisket queso (which was something they invented).