Open for business

Moe's Original Bar B Que opens in former Buck's Smokehouse location

Maddie Rowley | 315-4353 | @maddiedestinlog |
Hannah Hammonds serves up a Moe's Original Bar B Que pulled pork meal on the restaurant's opening day. [MADDIE ROWLEY/THE LOG]

Last week, the new Moe’s Original Bar B Que opened at the old Buck’s Smokehouse location on Harbor Boulevard.

Mike Fernandez, one of the three original Moe’s Original Bar B Que founders, linked up with Mike Buckingham, owner and founder of Buck’s Smokehouse, and took him on as a small partner.

Fernandez, who is originally from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is a very hands-on business partner. On opening day, he was busy in the kitchen prepping food for the long line of guests. Good, southern BBQ is no doubt his passion.

"Moses, or Moe, was an older black gentleman who taught me everything I know about barbecue. He taught me how to fire roast meats. After he passed away, I moved to Vail, Colorado, and attended Johnson & Wales to become a chef." Fernandez said.

He ended up staying in Colorado for 23 years and started Moe’s out of a trailer in Vail.

Now, the barbecue chain has about 62 locations throughout the country and Mexico City.

Buckingham said that since opening, they’ve been getting phenomenal feedback.

"I think everyone is pleased," Buckingham said. "The main difference is that the Moe’s side options are a lot more southern and they use fresh ingredients. There’s a lot of love when it comes to making the food."

Fernandez echoed Buckingham’s statement.

"Every single thing is made from scratch and is house-made. From the Alabama-style barbecue to the sweet potato logs, mac n’ cheese, broccoli casserole, baked beans and more -- we take good care of the food here," Fernandez said.

The interior of the restaurant is largely the same as Buck's, with a new Moe’s Original Bar B Que menu hanging on the wall to the right of the checkout window.

In the future, Fernandez hopes to open up several other locations throughout Northwest Florida.

"We’re looking at Navarre, Crestview, and maybe 30A for a possible second location in the area."