1. Business

New Port Richey gas station serves up a different kind of fuel

NEW PORT RICHEY — Where fast food usually reigns, fresh food has taken root: inside a Pasco County gas station.

It's "handcrafted barbecue," to be exact, said Dave Weisser, 52, who owns Dave's Pit and Pig.

The restaurant, which has four tables and 14 chairs inside a Mobil station on Little Road, is the result of a passion that Weisser shares with his wife, Cheri, who manages the restaurant.

"Some couples like to golf; some like to fish," he said. "We like to cook."

Cheri Weisser, 54, had not eaten the sort of smoked meat cooked by masters of barbecue pits until her husband introduced her to it. He took her to a barbecue joint in Tulsa, Okla., where the length of the line inspired an idea.

"If it's this popular," she told her husband, "that's what we should do."

So the couple planned to open their own restaurant, and moved from Oklahoma to Florida to do it.

"We bought a concession trailer," Dave Weisser said. "They built this trailer around the Cadillac of smokers."

It is parked outside the Mobil station, where Weisser smokes the meat.

"At 6 o'clock this morning, I was putting pork butt and brisket on the smoker," he said.

The restaurant, which opened July 27, also serves chicken, ribs, smoked sausage and hot links, plus several side dishes: smoked baked potatoes, potato salad, pork and beans, and mac 'n' cheese.

"Everything's hand cut, hand mixed, hand made, fresh," Weisser said. "What we cook is Oklahoma style, (but) it has a Texas influence, and a Kansas City influence."

His eight-person staff serves meals at the station, but Dave's Pit and Pig also can cater events, including banquets, company picnics and church gatherings. He hopes someday to help serve food for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"I would like to feed the responders and the people affected by (disasters)," he said. "I can feed a lot of people out of that smoker."

He also can feed people of all kinds, he said.

"Every shape, size, color," he said. "(Barbecue) is for everybody."

And Weisser has a goal for everybody who eats at Dave's Pit and Pig.

"I want them to leave with a full belly and a smile on their face."

Dave's Pit and Pig is inside the Mobil station at 9247 Little Road, New Port Richey. Its hours are from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For information, call (727) 863-2878.