If you're dreaming of southern slow cooked barbecue, a quick trip down Broad Street in downtown Brooksville will have your taste buds right "on Q".
Opened just four months, On Q Smokehouse Grill is all the rage downtown, with it's cozy dining room that was already a favorite gathering place for residents under previous occupants. And owner Willie Flott hopes his family-style establishment, with five years of grounded longevity in Pasco County, will become a Brooksville mainstay.
Server Domonique Deyampert, who has been with On Q for about a year, said the concept began out of a smokehouse trailer in Pasco County before moving to a house, transformed into a barbecue restaurant on State Road 52, across from St. Leo University, in St. Leo.
Flott discovered the restaurant location on Broad St. in downtown Brooksville, and decided he could make a mark in this community.
It was slow going at first, said Deyampert. But as the county discovered the new occupant in an established location, things started picking up. On Q is still molding itself to meet the climate of its new community, one where Deyampart grew up.
"I was raised here," she said and attended Parrot Middle School. Though she now lives in Pasco, where she began her career with On Q, Hernando County is still her hometown. And she was excited to be part of the restaurant's opening.
Open seven days a week, On Q Smokehouse Grill brings a southern, slow cooked style with homemade delicacies and unique favorites. Most popular appetizer choices include fried green tomatoes and corn nuggets; sandwiches and entrees like the pulled pork and beef brisket and ribs. The restaurant also offers fresh seafood dishes like Swai (white catfish) and mullet.
Desserts include homemade comquat pie and bread pudding or chocolate bundt cake.
"All our sides are homemade," said Deyampert.
Deyempert's favorite, she said, are the pulled pork and turkey ribs that are generously served with two sides.
All the meats are smoked, dry rubbed, and served with sauces on the side. And the sauces are homemade, by the owner.
Downtown Brooksville's hometown charm has been a Mecca for quaint shops and cozy eateries that cater to old fashioned comfort-style foods. The restaurants become more than places to order a meal, but a meeting place where locals and visitors have conversations and social events. On Q hopes to blend into that established atmosphere, remaining open later to accommodate more than the lunch and early dinner crowds.
They offer live music on Thursday evenings and hope to broaden that into weekend entertainment as they become more grounded and the community adjusts to their unique flavor.
"There is nothing like this around here," Deyempery said.
During the weekdays, On Q Smokehouse Grill is bustling with a lunch crowd, many who work in the government buildings and local downtown professional offices.
"We eat there about once a week," said attorney Kristie Ruppe of the Morris Law Group on Main Street. "Great atmosphere, outstanding service and the best warm and homey comfort food."
They offer a full takeout menu and full catering.
Corey Richardson, On Q's cook, has been with the restaurant since September and transferred to the Brooksville location. When asked his favorite dish to prepare, Richardson couldn't choose.
"I like it all," he said, chuckling softly.
Email Hernando Today correspondent Kim Dame at email@example.com.