While it's best known as one of the twenty five best places to retire to, Port Charlotte holds more than just respite for retirees. At the intersection of the Tamiami Trail and the King's Highway one will find Charlotte's Harbor and the mouth of Peace River. If one travels north on the Tamiami Trail you will find over a dozen interesting options of where to eat, and if you continue two miles up you'll be lucky enough to come across Wally's Southern Style Barbecue. Located on South Tamiami Trail right next to Smuggler's Grille, Wally's Southern Style Barbecue has set itself apart from the rest as an ideal spot to pause and indulge in some of the most popular comfort food to be found in Port Charlotte.
Wally's has developed an enthusiastic group of regulars who can't stop raving about practically everything offered on the menu, and it's no wonder, having won first place for BBQ five years in a row in the Charlotte Sun. This is more impressive than it sounds because they've only been open for six years. Whether it's the St. Louis style spare ribs or the pulled pork or the smoked chicken platter or the pulled chicken or the wings or the beef short ribs that won them the award it's impossible to say, but I'd say their most intriguing dishes is the whole smoked pig which they offer at nine dollars a pound.
Also offering such seafaring fare as shrimp, cod, clams, and crab cakes, Wally's is known for it's special menu item "piggy and surf" which entails half a rack of St Louis style ribs and one selection from their seafood menu. Their sandwich menu has similarly inventive items such as the Smoky Sandwich with chopped beef and pork, the Hog Combo which is a pulled pork and hot links sandwich, the Porky's sandwich which has bacon ham and pulled pork, and the Prime Po' Boy which is sliced prime rib topped with grilled onion, swiss cheese, and horseradish sauce.
The BBQ goes on and on here. For lunch specials available between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM, they feature some truly original inventions such as the BBQ Nachos which feature pulled pork drizzled with cheese sauce and jalapenos. Some of their other lunch specials include BBQ Pizza with pulled pork or pulled chicken topping and BBQ tacos which have pulled pork in a tortilla topped with coleslaw. If these seem a bit too inventive for your tastes there are much more traditional options such as the fried chicken sandwich, the shrimp basket, the turkey bacon melt, or the fish and chips.
Advertising their meat as being "So tender you need no teeth to eat this ,meat," Wally's is proud of their preparation process which in some cases involves 24 hours of slow cooking. All of their meat involves being smoked over hickory wood and treated with just enough dry rub to compliment the flavor without overpowering it. The choice of sauce is left up to the customer so that they aren't limited to one type of barbecue flavor. These techniques and more have been instigated and explored by the chef and owner Wael Dubbaneh, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts.
So if you're ever in the Port Charlotte area, make sure to treat yourself to some Southern Style traditional barbecue comfort food and stop in at Wally's.