Johnnie’s Pit Beef Pop-Up at Taurus

I was lucky enough to be one of the first folks to try out a few of Johnnie’s Pit Beef sandwiches. Chefs Phil Bryant and Veronica Valdivia invited me over to their home for dinner when they were starting to put together what would ultimately become The Original and Beef N’ Cheddar sammies from the menu.

I am a longtime fan of their food craftsmanship. They were also the folks behind the incredible five-course meal that I hosted at the Burger Museum.

And on top of that, they are two of the most humble folks I’ve met in the food industry.

When they announced, they were doing a Sunday-only pop-up of their Johnnie’s Pit Beef & BBQ at the Taurus in the Grove; I was ecstatic. Unfortunately, I was out of town when the first one happened, but there was no way I was missing the second go around.


My wife Marcela and I arrive before Cari (@FatgirlHedonist) and our friend Jorge. We take the table nearest to where Phil and Veronica are cooking and plating the dishes so we can watch the action up close.

It turns out that an old friend of mine (Rudy, whose family owned the iconic Ayesteran restaurant in Little Havana) was seated next to us. Jorge arrives with his roommate first and Cari a little later since she stopped to grab some donuts from Donutty on the way.

We ended up with five folks at a table of four after Rudy gave us one of his unused chairs. By the time they had settled, this guy, aka me, had already ordered one of everything on the menu.

I know this crew, and it was what needs to happen when you get some major food fanatics together.


The Original, with its white onions & horseradish mayo, and the Smoked Brisket on Rye, with its spicy brown mustard, stole the show for me. If I could get into a Delorean time machine right now, I would go back and order enough to enjoy for the entire week till the following Sunday.

Now I know what you’re thinking, why wouldn’t I go back and get the winning Lotto numbers? Well, that would be stop number two, duh, priorities!

The smoked Cheddar Grits with the Texas Phil sauce and Appa’s Chili served all the way with those perfectly diced onions were the standouts for me on the sides portion of the menu.

Everyone had a different favorite sandwich and side, so you’ll need to go on social media and ask them yourselves (that will be your homework assignment).

I’d follow Phil and Veronica blindly to whatever their new food project is. Well, that’s not exactly true. I wouldn’t follow them to Applebees if they were working there, but I highly doubt that would happen.

Anyway, they’re more of a Waffle House-type personality. In other words, my kind of people.

Johnnie’s Pit Beef & BBQ Pop-Up at Taurus ran through December 2019. Now we anxiously await their next moves.


Johnnie’s Pit BBQ’s Menu


Chef Phil Bryant and Chef Veronica Valdivia, picture by @ElComelon305
The Original
Beef N’ Cheddar
The Ronnie
Smoked Brisket on Rye
Smoked Brisket on Rye, photo by @FatgirlHedonist
Texas Phil Sauce drizzled over the Smoked Cheddar Rice Grits
Butter Beans with Smoked City Ham
Beef Jerky with Giardiniera
Craft Shells & Cheese
Appa’s Beef Chili served “All the Way”
Pit Beef Basket of over 1/4 lb. of thinly sliced Pit Beef covered in Beef Gravy
St. Louis Cut Spare Ribs with Salt & Pepper Rub

I took some sandwiches home to my parents, who loved them almost as much as they love me.

My Dad enjoying his Smoked Brisket on Rye

I Love Me Some Johnnie’s:

Johnnies Pit BBQ Pop-Up
at The Taurus
3540 Main Hwy C103
Coconut Grove, FL

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