Iron Oak in Palm Harbor officially opened up on Memorial Day in 2018.
“We have always loved BBQ, and the name Iron Oak comes from the fact that I proposed to my wife under an iron oak tree in Paso Robles at our favorite vineyard, Halter Ranch,” owner Zachary Feinstein says about his engagement to wife and co-owner, Christina. “We have always wanted to use the name for something, and it seemed perfect for this BBQ restaurant concept we were working on.”
For those who aren’t familiar with the local eatery, Iron Oak, is at 917 11th St. in Palm Harbor, just off Palm Harbor Boulevard. As Feinstein tells it, the restaurant is fun and family-friendly, featuring “a 2,200-square-foot covered patio with misters, fans and a 1,000-square-foot beer garden, where the smoker sits. We have yard games and picnic tables for families to enjoy. We also have 20+ big screen TVs and every major sports package with Direct TV,” says Feinstein. And the menu notes, “At Iron Oak, we believe having fun is at the core of what we do.”
BBQ and sports? Yes, please. Iron Oak has all the channels sports lovers need, from soccer, rugby, hockey, baseball to football, along with great specials to make game day even better — $9.99 Buckets, $15 for a pitcher and a pound of four-hour smoked wings, $15 Buckets of White Claw, all available during games. There’s also $4 Smirnoff and Sailor Jerry all day, every day, and happy hour.
But perhaps what makes Iron Oak stand out the most is the BBQ, of course. Iron Oak owes that to Chef Christopher Artrip, a 2018 Best Chef CL Critic's Pick.
“[Artrip] did all the BBQ himself — we use non-traditional ingredients in our rub, and our menu has some New American flair to it, serving bahn mi tacos, and sandwiches such as the limp brisket,” Feinstein says.
The menu describes the limp brisket, a regular favorite, as chopped dusk ’til dawn smoked brisket with caramelized onions, cheddar jack, burnt ends queso, maple rye barbecue, house slaw, toasted French bread and jalapeno. The brisket is smoked in a J&R Oyler 1300 model smoker — one of only four in the state — lovingly referred to as “Clifford the Iron Dog.”
Other menu favorites are the black + white bahn mi tacos made with sliced smoked brisket and pulled duroc pork with cilantro, carrot, red onion, jalapeno, black garlic gochujang, Alabama white barbecue sauce; and more traditional barbecue the Cycle, with one sausage, slice of brisket, pulled pork, two St. Louis ribs and two wings — which, the menu adds, is all gluten-friendly.
Regular specials here include Mondays when kids 10 years old and younger eat free (one meal per adult entree) and $5 mules; Tuesday is Hospitality Night with half off all alcohol 7 p.m. to close; Wing Wednesday $0.75 wings from 6 p.m. to close; Thursdays half-priced bottles of wine and Happy Hour all day for ladies along with $1.50 solo pulled pork sliders and $5 for two pulled pork sliders and fries; Friday and Saturdays feature late night happy hour 9 p.m. to close with $4 chips and quest and $0.75 wings; and sport-lovers’ favorite day of the week, Sundays, with Sunday Football all over the big screens and sports specials for that game day appetite.
Iron Oak New American BBQ. 917 11th St, Palm Harbor, Palm Harbor. (727) 754-7337. Ironoakbbq.com.