When it comes to iconic culinary establishments in Apopka, Porkie's Original BBQ holds a special place in the hearts and taste buds of locals and visitors alike. With its rich history, mouthwatering dishes, and warm Southern hospitality, Porkie's has become a beloved institution in Apopka.
But that institution has come to an end.
"Thank you, Apopka and Central Florida. After 20 years of business and Friendships. Porkie's is officially closed." Porkie's owner Steve White said on his Facebook page.
It was a simple and abrupt end to a simple yet wildly successful restaurant in Apopka. But Porkie's was more than just a restaurant.
Since its establishment, it has been dedicated to upholding the art of barbecue, combining time-honored techniques with its own unique flavors and seasonings. From tender and juicy smoked meats to their signature sauces, each dish at Porkie's reflected the passion and expertise that White brought to this treasure.
Porkie's was a gathering place for the Apopka community, where friends, families, and neighbors came together to enjoy great food and good company. It also hosted political events, Blue Darter Football Fridays, and the longest-running Bike Night in Central Florida – every Thursday night for 16 years.
According to Porkie's website, 'It all started in 2002 when owners Steve & Mike traveled all over Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas searching for the perfect BBQ flavor. After returning home, they formulated a plan and a recipe.'
The outpouring of emotion for White and Porkie's BBQ on social media was a mix between sadness and gratitude. But the number of responses was both impressive and vast. By 9 pm on Tuesday, White had 626 likes, 426 comments, and 110 shares under his Facebook post.
Among those were:
"Our community has lost a real treasure," said Janine Blair Arrowsmith. "You all will be missed. Hopefully, you will enjoy your next chapter as much as we have enjoyed your last one.
"Sorry to hear, Steve," said former Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer. "Good luck in your next venture!"
"Thank you for the 20 years of your service; for your generosity; for your support to many hometown & neighboring organizations," said Commissioner Diane Velazquez. "I’m so sorry to read it's official; I know it’s been challenging for you to keep Porkies open due to a lack of staff. This decision was not easy to settle on. You are Mr. Porkies; it will be sorely missed. I hope you will stay involved in our City of Apopka. Your friendship is more meaningful to us."
"This is such sad news, Steve," said Stuart Morrell
. "I'll always have great memories of the fantastic 'que we had at Porkie's Original BBQ... Best of luck in your next venture!"
"I want to thank you for the 12 great years of BBQ you have to me and my family," said Joey Myers. "I can say that myself, Erin Myers, and Cathy Myers will miss you and your BBQ, your staff, and your restaurant have given us. I also thank you for your friendship. I loved all the times you could sit down with me and converse about things. Apopka has lost a true gem."
"Oh no…Steve, you’ve been a tremendous community partner and a phenomenal restaurant in Apopka for more than two decades!" said former Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce President Robert Agrusa. "Thank you for everything you’ve done for the Apopka area, and Porkies will be sorely missed!"
Apopka businesses not supported?
Although White did not give a reason for closing Porkie's, Darryl Richardson believes it's an issue many Apopka businesses are struggling with.
"This is the inherent issue with Apopka as a city," Richardson said. "Small businesses are not supported as they should be. Apopka residents will routinely visit Sanford, Winter Garden, and Winter Park for food and entertainment. Sorry to hear this, Steve… as a business owner in Apopka, we feel the same pressure. If Apopka is to be a destination, things must change."
"Trader Mae’s feels the same," said Annmarie Rita.
"This is very sad news for Apopka and the local community," said Shawn Tucker. "You have been a great partner in business and community support since day one..... you will be missed, buddy..... best of luck in your next chapter of business..."
"Just awful," said Michael Duran.
"Thank you, sir, for your support to our family and to our brothers and sisters in the Apopka Fire Department. Our family is grateful to have had the pleasure of knowing you. Good luck on your next journey."
"I wish you luck in whatever your future may hold," said Lorena Potter. "Thank you for giving Apopka 20 years of good food and wonderful friendship."
Fellow Apopka restaurant owners praise Porkie's
"Sending you positive thoughts, Steve," said Patrice Phillips, the owner of Something Fishy in Altamonte Springs, who also closed a restaurant in Apopka. "You may not remember, but when we first moved to Apopka, we ate at Porkies. You were very kind to us. I appreciate all the times you answered my questions about the restaurant business. Thank you!"
"Steve, it was a great run. You truly epitomized what a classic owner-operator is," said Ed Conlan
, owner of Beef O' Brady's and the Backroom Steakhouse in Apopka. "You wove yourself into the fabric of Apopka, and your commitment to our community will never be forgotten. Best wishes going forward. You deserve a well-deserved break. Cheers to your next chapter of life!"
"Steve, so sorry to hear this," said Commissioner Kyle Becker. "You expertly catered many events I had, and your food was always the best! Appreciate you as a friend, and you are a friend to so many. Wishing you the best…"
"Steve, I’m sorry to hear this," said Mark Byrd. "I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for you."
So many comments, and love
"Just look at these comments, bro!" said Debra White. "You've been a part of the lives of so many people for so many years...you know you are loved and will be missed. I'll think of you every time I try to make my own Q Salad. I'm happy knowing you can now relax and enjoy life without the worries."
"Thanks for your contributions to our community over the past 20 years, Steve," said former Commissioner and Vice Mayor Bill Arrowsmith. "You have been a big part of the Apopka fabric."
"Apopka's loss and certainly the Nelson family's loss," said Floride C. Nelson. "You have brought great BBQ, exemplary community service, and priceless friendship. Thank you, Steve."
"So sad to hear this. Porkies is a staple in Apopka," said Wayne Levesque. "You and Porkies will be missed. Thanks for all that you have done for our community and for being a friend to everyone. !!!"
"Heartbreaking news," said Roger Williams of The Roger Franklin Williams Radio Show. "Thank you, Steve White, for all you have done for all of us and me, especially."
On behalf of The Apopka Voice, congratulations Steve on building one of the truly great restaurants in Apopka. I personally have never found anything remotely close to the quality and flavor of the Monster Ribeye Sandwich... and I'm currently traveling the country! You, and Porkie's Original BBQ will be missed.