Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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EatBeat: Barbecue News: Mrs. Smokey’s in Lake Park, and McCray’s II Outpost in Riviera Beach

December 9th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Mrs. Smokey's on 10th Avenue in Lake Park. /photo by Scott Simmons

Mrs. Smokey’s BBQ is drawing barbecue lovers to Lake Park on 10th Avenue. The new little restaurant opened in October, and will have its grand opening party Friday, Dec. 9.

Longtimers will remember her first spot in Palm Beach County near Home Depot on Northlake Boulevard – it was there a year starting in 2003.

“It’s been a roller coaster ride, for sure,” said Elisa Caplan, owner. Originally from New York, but a Floridian for most of her life, she owned three barbecue restaurants in Gotham City while pursuing a career on the stage and in ballet.

“I moved back home in 1996, and opened at the Sawgrass Mall.” Her barbecue restaurant there was in an outparcels of the huge mall, and was successful for the 10 years it was open.

Then “life happened,” she said, and she closed all her eateries. Now remarried, and working with her chef-husband Scott Howie, and her adult kids, she’s opened the 22-seater in Lake Park.

Mrs. Smokey's BBQ Sauce - Mild, Medium and really Hot

Her signature ribs, pork, chicken and beef brisket, as well as the spicy smoked sausage, are cooked on in-house pit smokers. Her chili won the New York State Chili Championship in 1980, and has both ground beef and beef brisket chunks in a smoky, spicy mixture. Sides include fried pickles and loaded Tater Tots. Coleslaw, BBQ beans, mac n’ cheese and fried biscuits are other choices. Sandwiches and salads also are available.

Their sauce is sold by the bottle – but take heed: the labels are misleading. Mild is mild, Medium is really hot, and Hot is really el scorcho hot.

Mrs. Smokey’s BBQ

  • 1460 10th St., Lake Park
  • 561-318-5137; mrssmokeys.com


McCray’s Expanding – New Outlet in Riviera Beach

Read wood is used in the pits at McCrays on 45th Street in Mangonia Park. /photo courtesy McCray's.

McCray’s BBQ II, owned by Derrick McCray, is moving into a permanent building on 45th Street in Mangonia Park. Meanwhile McCray has opened a take-out window spot on U.S. 1 in Riviera Beach, just north of Blue Heron Boulevard.

Along with the ribs, and chicken, he offers the unusual – but popular – souse. That’s head cheese to many.

Other expansion plans are in the works, he said. “I’m looking at a spot on Belvedere and Military Trail in West Palm, and we’re looking at something in Fort Pierce, and a couple down south. It’s just taking a while to put all the money together. It’s hard in this economy, but we’re doing all right.”

As a partner with the Super Bowl committee to help small businesses, he’ll do an event for the Super Bowl in Indianapolis in January, a barbecue for all the former NFL players who now have businesses of their own and are showcasing them during the bowl. “When it comes to Miami, we get the Granddaddy of events, the tailgate party,” he said, but when the bowl is played elsewhere, local vendors in those cities get preference.

Pit-smoked barbecue ribs are his specialty, though beef, chicken, seafoods, including conch, are available. Sides include mac n cheese, beans, collards and more. Sweet potato pies are for sale whole and by the slice for dessert.

McCray has a large portable pit and caters barbecues where whole pigs often wind up on the smoker.

McCray’s II Backyard BBQ

  • 1521 45th Street, Mangonia Park
  • 561-842-1513; mccraysbbq.com


  • 2700 Broadway, Riviera Beach
  • 561-842-9978; mccraysbbq.com

Tags: The Eat Beat: Restaurant News

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 BBQ Lover // Dec 12, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Great write up. I love BBQ, and have been to most places in Palm Beach County. McCrays was ok, sauce was great, but the brisket was way too fatty for my taste. I love the brisket at MrsSmokeys, wish they didn’t always chop it up into little pieces, but I guess that’s Texas style for you or something. MrsSmokeys fealt much more cozy, great little family owned BBQ Restaurant near Palm Beach Gardens. Check out their website: http://mrssmokeys.com

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