Icon Park latest site of Brother Jimmys explosion in Florida

Owner says it's the second of many he's bringing to hot Central Florida market
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He took the South north and now he’s bringing it back again.

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James Goldman, founder of Brother Jimmy’s BBQ, is expanding the chain’s Florida market with a new 8,000 sq. ft. restaurant at 8375 International Drive in Orlando. He hopes to open what will be his second Orlando location in December 2021. The other is located in the Marketplace at Dr. Philips.

Goldman has been all over the map. Literally.

After opening his first Brother Jimmy’s on New York’s Upper East Side in 1989, he expanded the chain into the D.C. area and southeastern Florida. While those Florida locations have closed — Covid did them in, he said — he has big plans for Orlando and the central Florida area.

He had also taken the Carolina-BBQ concept — and a couple others, including Latin-inspired sushi — to the Caribbean island of St. Martin’s. After hurricane Irma hit, devasting the island, he moved back to New York — and Brother Jimmy’s.

“Put Some South in Yo’ Mouth” is the chain’s slogan.

Now, his focus remains on Florida. “We are planning on opening three to five new locations between Orlando and Tampa in the next three years,” he said.

Southern comfort food, he calls it. He fell in love with Carolina BBQ when he was a student at Duke University.

“We are known for our pulled pork,” Goldman said. Carolina-style. Not to be confused with Texas-, Memphis- or Kansas City-style BBQ, he said.

Goldman said he always loved Florida and the Florida market. He opened several locations in southeastern Florida but, he said, Covid did them in. Next target: Orlando.

“Orange County is bursting at the seams,” Goldman said.

So, what’s with the name? Here’s a hint: James Goldman isn’t the Jimmy in the chain’s name.

They had wanted to name the chain Rev. Jimmy’s as a spoof on Jimmy Swaggart (whose sex scandals with prostitutes was all over the news in 1989), Goldman said. The name was even painted on the door of that Upper East Side restaurant when he started thinking that might not be politically correct. But, since “Jimmy” was already on the door, he said, we changed it to Brother Jimmy’s.

And so began the successful BBQ chain that has been all over, opening some locations and closing others over more than three decades. Lucky Central Florida is the site of the latest — and perhaps best incarnation — of Brother Jimmy’s.

Patti Ewald

Patti Ewald

Patti Ewald has been digging for news stories ever since she took her gift of gab and insatiable curiosity to Ohio State and -- poof! -- turned them into a journalism degree. Now a freelance writer living in St. Petersburg, Florida, Patti thanks her vast newsroom experience for her writing skills and her two grown sons, three cats and a scruffy white dog for her sense of humor, compassion and tenacity.

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