Saturday, November 25, 2017
News Roundup

What's cooking? BeckyJack's Food Shack in Weeki Wachee

RECOMMENDED READING


What's cooking | BeckyJack's Food Shack

WEEKI WACHEE — Take a scenic drive west on Cortez Boulevard toward Bayport, about 2 miles down the road from the mermaid home of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, and on the left you'll see a tiny offbeat bistro called BeckyJack's Food Shack.

To some, the venue with its mismatched chairs and tables and funky, laid-back decor may not rate a second glance. But if visual aesthetics are your sole criteria for choosing a spot to dine out, you'll miss out on one of the best-kept foodie secrets in Hernando County.

Folks in the know have come to recognize BeckyJack's as a comfortable, affordable regular stop where simple, flavorful home-cooked burgers, wings and seafood and tasty craft beers are king.

In 2009, the husband-and-wife team of Kim Curtis and Joe Foster took over the former establishment that had been operated for more than 30 years by the late Becky De La Rosa. For good luck, they added the name of their late friend and former boss Jack Newkirk, who owned the popular Newk's Cafe sports bar in Tampa.

Armed with years of experience in the restaurant industry, the couple wanted to host patrons in an unpretentious manner and create an atmosphere that they themselves would want to visit.

"Joe and I worked in restaurants most of our lives," Curtis said. "We learned that food doesn't have to be expensive to be good. But it does have to be fresh, and it has to taste good. That's pretty much all we try to do."

The fairly limited lunch/early dinner menu leans heavily toward Southern-style seafood such as crab cakes and fresh chowder, plus off-the-beaten-path items such as fresh yellow fin tuna fish tacos ($8.50).

The fried "crunchy fish" sandwich ($8) is a signature favorite of the regulars. It includes an oversized white fish fillet rolled in a batter of cornflake crumbs and toasted almonds that's topped with lettuce, tomato and pickle on a grilled kaiser roll.

Burgers ($7) are huge here, with five juicy half-pound versions that practically swallow up the plate. Patrons can order them with topping choices ranging from grilled mushrooms, onions and Swiss cheese to pepper jack cheese or a BeckyJack's original called Sweet Heat.

BeckyJack's beer menu boasts no fewer than 13 craft brews on tap, including regular and seasonal varieties by Goose Island, Magic Hat and Blue Point.

Although the restaurant is frequented mostly by locals, Curtis said word-of-mouth buzz on Facebook and foodie websites has helped make BeckyJack's a destination for folks from all over the Tampa Bay area.

"We like the fact that people think we're worth coming a long way for," she said. "Seeing new faces all the time makes it a lot of fun for us."

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or [email protected]

 
Comments

No. 7 Florida finishes No. 17 Gonzaga in 2OT; No. 1 Duke up next for Gators

PORTLAND, Ore. — Jalen Hudson scored a career-high 35, including eight 3-pointers, and No. 7 Florida downed No. 17 Gonzaga 111-105 in double overtime Friday night at the PK80 Invitational. Senior point guard Chris Chiozza added a career-high 26 poin...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Region football: Plant 13, Lakeland 10

Region football: Plant 13, Lakeland 10

LAKELAND — The game — and the season — were supposed to be over.Lakeland was set to exact revenge. The Dreadnaughts had the lead and the ball in the final three minutes and were heading for a field goal. Then it happened. The magic continued.Plant’s ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Region football: Venice 48, Tampa Bay Tech 17

VENICE — Tampa Bay Tech not only had to stop a hot receiver in Friday night’s Class 7A region final against Venice, but a hot running back as well. That proved to be too much.Indians receiver Jaivon Heiligh caught 14 passes for 193 yards and three to...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Region football: Armwood 31, Ocala Vanguard 17

SEFFNER — Armwood appeared to be on its way to yet another rout through the first 24 minutes of football Friday night.James Miller delivered a crunching hit on the opening kickoff. The defense looked suffocating, holding Ocala Vanguard to a mere 23 y...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Region football: Immokalee 42, Lakewood 14

IMMOKALEE — The final score wasn’t truly indicative of what transpired on Friday night.Lakewood fell to a dynamic Immokalee squad 42-14 in a tough environment in a Class 5A region final.The Spartans (9-2) forced three turnovers and held Immokalee (12...
Updated: 3 hours ago
State semifinal football: Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna 49, Clearwater Central Catholic 3

State semifinal football: Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna 49, Clearwater Central Catholic 3

CLEARWATER — Stocked with a wealth of Division I-A commits and prepared by a heavy-duty schedule, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna spent three months building for Friday night’s Class 3A state semifinal game.The Lions played at another level against top-s...
Updated: 4 hours ago

State semifinal football: Hialeah Champagnat Catholic 38, Cambridge Christian 0

TAMPA — Hialeah Champagnat Catholic was well on its way to a third unanswered touchdown, but the Lions just couldn’t stop blocking their own path. In one second-quarter drive during Friday’s 2A state semifinal against Cambridge Christian, Champagnat ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning attitude under fire after loss to Capitals

Lightning attitude under fire after loss to Capitals

WASHINGTON — You don’t often sense frustration in captain Steven Stamkos’ voice, at least not this season. With the Lightning off to its best start in franchise history, there haven’t been many reasons to chide. Every criticism seems nitpicky. But af...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs-Falcons: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Bucs-Falcons: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

The Bucs face the defending NFC champion in its new home Sunday in Atlanta.Here’s the Times’ Bucs coverage team’s predictions for Tampa Bay’s 1 p.m. game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:MATTY ICE-FOLLIESRick Stroud, @NFLStroud: T...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Freshman quarterback leads Pitt to 24-14 upset over No. 2 Miami

Freshman quarterback leads Pitt to 24-14 upset over No. 2 Miami

PITTSBURGH — Miami spent the better part of 13 months cultivating the nation’s longest winning streak behind a series of comebacks that returned the swagger to "The U" in all of its "Turnover Chain" glory. Sluggish through the first half against Pitt...
Updated: 5 hours ago