BJ's Alabama BBQ has recently reopened at its new location, 3423 S Dale Mabry Highway, just a few blocks from its previous spot.
Owner April Moreno, often referred to as "mama on the grill", is the daughter of the late "Big John" Stephens, who started Big John's Alabama Barbecue on 40th Street 50 years ago.
Moreno, 57, operates as the sole cook, preparing all of the restaurant's smoked ribs, pulled pork, beef, sausage and chicken dishes, cooked over an open fire using oak wood. Side dishes include macaroni and cheese, baked beans, collard greens, potato salad and corn bread. Her daughter, Brandy Williams, serves as general manger.
Williams believes BJ's slow approach to cooking barbecue has set them apart. She said BJ's loyal customer base was the reason they decided to stay in South Tampa after their previous lease expired. Being close to MacDill Air Force base was key.
"We stayed loyal to them because they're loyal to us," said Williams.
"We were closed and they told us 'we don't care when you open back up, just stay here in South Tampa with us,' so that's what we did."
BJ's offers dine in, takeout and catering services, and will soon resume their delivery services on UberEats, DoorDash, Grubhub and BiteSquad. Operating hours are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
For more information call (813) 374-0219.
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