Great barbeque is hard to find in Fort Myers, Florida but finally, there is Big Nick’s BBQ to fill the void – so long as you arrive before it’s run out.
Just prior to McGregor and Cypress Lake Dr (Daniel’s Parkway), Big Nick’s BBQ is opposite a number of Fort Myers public schools and occupies a former ice cream shop. Convenient if on your way to Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, or Captiva this location is also not far from the causeway to Cape Coral.
Address: 9211 Cypress Lake Dr, Fort Myers, FL 33919
Phone: +1 239-204-2498
Born in the era of COVID-19, Big Nick’s BBQ doesn’t offer indoor seating. For that matter, it doesn’t offer outdoor seating either, though some picnic tables and benches would add options for those declining to eat in their cars and unwilling to wait to get home. This is a take-out-only joint. Get your BBQ, and be on your way. That might be for the best anyway, as this location is 100% dedicated to churning out great BBQ, and as such, the entire location is consumed by the kitchen.
Ordering can take place online (website above), through the drive-thru (expect to pull ahead and wait in the parking lot for BBQ to be delivered carside), or ordered through the window on the side of the building.
Big Nick’s owners are originally from the southwest Florida area, but migrated north (for a change) to North Carolina where the same business is home to two other locations. This is their sole location in Florida for the moment.
Following a traditional BBQ menu, it’s comprised of three main entree types: meats, sides, sandwiches.
- Ribs (quarter, half, and full rack)
- Pulled pork
- Chicken Tenders
- Fried Okra
- Waffle Fries
- Tater Salad
- Baked Beans
- Brisket Mac & Cheese
- Peanut Butter Pie (Dessert)
Bulk items are available, but generally speaking, it follows that lunch-friendly entrees include sandwiches, burgers and fried chicken tenders, or even a one-meat plate. Dinner guests might consider individual plates or perhaps sharing larger portions like the full rack of ribs that comes with two sides.
All orders are delivered with an accompaniment of three BBQ sauces by default; Carolina mustard, a thinner vinegar base, and a thicker molasses crimson with a hint of sweetness.
At the time, I was resistant to ordering a smash burger at a BBQ restaurant – if for nothing other than principle alone – however, I might give that a try next time. I would have liked to find a sausage option on the menu as well, but perhaps one will avail itself in the future.
Running Out of Food
Of paramount importance to any fine BBQ purveryor is freshness of the meat, and time. To reduce food waste, BBQ restaurants only smoke what they believe they can sell the next day, and err on the side of less not more. As such, a hallmark of an excellent BBQ venue is that they frequently run out of their most popular items.
This also occurs with new restaurants who are not yet sure how much to make, and how much they might sell. On separate occasions Big Nick’s was out of a few items, on the day of our visit they were out of turkey, and sold us the last ribs.
What I Liked
My mother joined me for this visit and ordered a pulled pork sandwich with tater salad. I ordered the two-meat plate with pulled pork macaroni and cheese and beef brisket. As mentioned, my two-meat plate featured three BBQ sauces to sample, and a dinner roll.
The ribs were off-the-bone tender (the bone actually split while I was eating it) and the brisket was a combination of moist, fatty sections, and stringier slices. The baked beans were a little sweet and lacked salt, but the texture on the brisket mac and cheese was ideal.
I appreciated that Big Nick’s BBQ brought quality smoked meats and sides to southwest Florida where it’s desperately needed. As with most most decent BBQ joints, arrive earlier in the day for their finest cuts and freshest products.
What do you think? Have you tried Big Nick’s BBQ? DO you have another BBQ joint I must try?