Editor’s note: This is the first in a new series on the local food scene. The eateries featured are evaluated using Reddit, Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor and staff experiences.
The state of Florida hasn’t always been known as a place to eat barbecue, but Gainesville may be changing that. Rated by Livability as one of the 10 best barbecue cities in the country, the city of Gainesville has a variety of different barbecue styles and flavors.
Here is a list of five top places within the Gainesville city limits to get barbecue when you have the craving.
Adam’s Rib Company
Opening in 2005, Adam’s Rib Company has been serving up award-winning barbeque ever since. The restaurant is best known for dry-rubbed ribs, but it also offers options such as pulled pork, brisket, and various sides, including jalapeño cheddar poppers, corn nuggets, collard greens and black-eyed peas.
Many reviewers rave about generous portions and having to almost always leave with leftovers.
- North Location (2109 NW 13th St.) is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
- Rib Co 2 Go Location (5141 NW 43rd St., Suite 106) is open 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
Top Hog BBQ
Top Hog’s claim to fame? Its meats are smoked on a mix of Florida woods such as orange and oak, which gives the barbecue a distinctly Floridian flavor profile. The local favorite was originally only in Jonesville but has since opened a second location in Gainesville.
Top Hog serves barbecue classics like ribs, brisket and pork, but it also offers surprise finds like pork rinds, loaded chili cheese fries and poutine (fries topped with beef gravy and cheese curds). They also have various gluten-free options.
Special to the Archer Road location is a brunch menu—served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.—offering options such as biscuits and gravy, omelets, French toast, and bottomless mimosas.
- Gainesville location (6500 SW Archer Road, Suite E.) is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.
David’s BBQ & Catering
Offering locally made barbecue to Gainesville since 1978, it’s no wonder that David’s BBQ is beloved by so many Gainesville natives.
David’s serves breakfast, lunch and dinner every day at its original location off 39th Avenue. Locals enjoy a free small tea with a purchase on Mondays, or a $2 pork sandwich deal on Tuesdays. David’s pulled pork seems to be the favorite of reviewers, but the menu also offers brisket, ribs, turkey and chicken. Reviewers also raved about the friendly staff, who are willing to offer suggestions on the menu.
- West location (5121A NW 39th Ave.) is open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday through Saturday
- East location (521 NE 23rd Ave.) is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
MOJO Hogtown Bar-B-Que
Originally from Jacksonville, MOJO Hogtown BBQ made its way to Gainesville in 2015 and has been a barbecue favorite in the area ever since. Located in the heart of downtown, MOJO offers varieties ranging from Texas-style barbecue to North Carolina and Kansas.
An interesting and lively spot, the BBQ joint offers a full bar with cocktails, local beers and more than 300 types of whiskey. Reviews rave about the daily happy hour from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Reviewers also love the large portions, great atmosphere and delicious food favorites, such as the onion rings and brisket.
- Located at 12 SE 2nd Avenue and open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday through Tuesday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
4 Rivers Smokehouse
A chain restaurant that originated in Orlando has a reputation for serving some of the best barbecue in the state of Florida—and the city of Gainesville agrees. When 4 Rivers opened the Gainesville location, which was its fifth store in Florida, it quickly climbed to one of the top places to get barbecue in the city.
The menu includes fan favorites such as the Burnt Ends Melt, BBQ Quesadilla and more unique options like BBQ Cuban sandwiches and tacos. The sides range from fries to sweet potato casserole. If you have a sweet tooth, try the bakery options. They offer cakes, cookies, brownies, and bars.
4 Rivers also gives back to the community by supporting over 100 charitable organizations, funding scholarships, and establishing a 40-acre working farm in Orlando to practice sustainable farming.
- Located in Butler Plaza (3262 SW 35th Blvd.) and open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday.