One thing you should know about Mighty Quinn’s BBQ: It’s not “New York-style barbecue.”
“We stay away from the whole geographic delineation of barbecue styles,” said Micha Magid, co-CEO of the lauded New York restaurant chain. “We’ve basically tried to borrow the best of all traditions and put together a menu that can be universally loved.”
For the most part, it has been. The New York Times and Zagat have heaped praise on Mighty Quinn’s, and it’s a popular seller on the gourmet mail-order site Goldbelly.
Now Mighty Quinn’s is about to go wide. The chain has is about to start franchising and down the East Coast, and its first restaurant outside the Northeast will be in Tampa Bay.
“Barbecue is still a universally loved food category, and you only have one or two operators (in some markets), and maybe not even doing it in line with the way we do it,” Magid said. “That was the opportunity. We just saw a big white space in these great big cities with their fast population growths, and that’s who we targeted.”
Magid expects Tampa Bay’s Mighty Quinn’s BBQ to open in spring or summer of 2022. The restaurant’s local franchisees haven’t settled on a location yet, but Magid said it’s likely to be in a mixed-use environment, able to draw workers and residents alike.
“These developments that come up that have both retail, office and residential components, that’s where we want to be,” Magid said. “We’re not beholden to any one type of property. We’re really more focused on where it’s located, versus being a standalone building or part of a new development. We just want to find the right fit for the brand.”
He envisions smaller dining rooms and an increased focus on takeout, trends from the pandemic that Magid said are “here to stay.” He said the restaurant is likely to partner with local breweries, bakeries or chefs on more regionally focused drinks, desserts and sides.
Founded in 2012, Mighty Quinn’s nine locations — eight near New York and one in Dubai — draw a lot of non-local customers, often barbecue aficionados from the South curious about how a New York restaurant can deliver quality Texas-style brisket.
“When those people come back home, they remain customers through mail order,” Magid said. “That gets us excited to see where those boxes are headed out, and is also a good indication of where demand lies for our food.”
Mighty Quinn’s Tampa franchise agreement could eventually result in up to 10 locations in Central Florida, though for now, the Tampa location is the only one planned.
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“We think Florida is an amazing market, and we’re confident we’re going to grow there,” Magid said. “But we try not to hold (franchise) groups beholden to some number, just for the sake of hitting it. We identify areas where we think the restaurants can do well.”