Git-N-Messy barbecue expanding into Sanford food hall

Git-N-Messy barbecue expanding into Sanford food hall

SANFORD, Fla. – After beginning inside a gas station, Git-N-Messy Barbecue expanded into the kitchen of Red Eye’s Sports Tavern in Winter Springs and now the business is getting ready to open a second location in Sanford which will serve as a prototype for future franchises.

Git-N-Messy is set to open a stall in Henry’s Depot, a food hall that sits at 212 W. First St. in Sanford.

While this planned expansion is a triumph for the business, it comes on the heels of a tragedy. The original owner of Git-N-Messy, 34-year-old Chuck Cobb, died on April 29 in a motorcycle crash.

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“I got a gift of meeting Chuck,” Chris Poulos, Cobb’s business partner and current owner of Git-N-Messy, said. “He will always be the creator of this barbecue.”

Poulos and Cobb became partners in 2020.

Poulos is the owner of Red Eye’s Sports Tavern which has been in Winter Springs at 855 E. State Rd. for about four years. The business began to struggle during the pandemic.

“{Red Eye’s} was more of a sports bar, live music venue, with bar food. So, during the pandemic, we’re going ‘Well, we’re not going to survive on this. It’s just not going to happen — the world’s changing,’” Poulos said.

He said he and his business partners were trying to brainstorm ideas to bring people back into the bar.

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“So we started talking about corner barbecues and then I go, ‘These guys would probably love to be in a location instead of being on the corner every week,’” Poulos said. “I happened to know somebody that knew Chuck who was in the Citgo gas station and who was becoming famous just serving out of the gas station. People were lined up for his food.”

The pair struck a deal and Git-N-Messy moved into Red Eye’s in October of last year.

“It was really cool because his method of cooking was exactly what we were looking for — the old-style type of barbecue,” Poulos said.

He explained that Git-N-Messy does not rely on seasoning rubs and only uses oak for smoking because “we want to make sure that you’re tasting the meat.”

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With some early success under their belt, Poulus and Cobb looked to the future and made plans to expand the concept.

“Our vision with Chuck was to — you know, I’m older and I don’t want to do this forever — so, our vision was to say here’s this young buck (Cobb) and he has all this personality,” Poulos said. “Let’s get this thing off the ground and let’s design something that we can sell as a marketable franchise. So, we came up with the idea of a smaller version — you know, your corner barbecue, but in a retail area — and that was what our vision was.”

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The stall at Henry’s Depot is now set to serve as “proof of concept” for that vision. Poulos said the plan is to continue doing all of the smoking at Red Eye’s in Cobb’s original smoker but sell the product at the tavern and the food hall. However, if supply can’t keep up with demand, Poulos said Henry’s Depot has already agreed to let them set up a second smoker on site.

Poulos is still working with the pitmaster Cobb trained, Will O’Neil, as the business grows.

“He (O’Neil) came over and we haven’t a lost a step,” he said.

Right now, Poulos hopes to open inside of Henry’s Depot by mid-October. He said there will be a tribute wall to Cobb’s memory.

“We’ve designed our new logo that looks like him,” Poulos said. “He will always be part of it.”


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