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Sugarfire BBQ opens, bringing chef-quality barbecue to fast casual dining

Chef Mike Johnson, based out of St. Louis, opened his 16th Sugarfire BBQ location in Florida in Jacksonville.
Credit: Leah Shields

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Hey foodies! Give a warm welcome to Sugarfire BBQ, just in from St. Louis. 

Sugar stands for their homemade pies, and the fire stands for the smoker that barbecues pork, brisket, sausage and more all day long.

You no longer have to drool over the pages of a magazine. Chef Mike Johnson is barbecuing ribs, pork, sausage and more on the First Coast.

They opened on Monday, July 26, at 12959 Atlantic Blvd., just before you go over the bridge to the beach.

Johnson hails from St. Louis and started the company there.

“So there is actually not really a St. Louis BBQ per se," Johnson said. "So what it is is, I say St. Louis is in the BBQ triangle. Kansas City famous barbecue up here. Memphis famous barbecue right here and Texas famous barbecue right here. The good news is I can pull from each one.”

Now his famous barbecue is right here on the First Coast. Johnson says it’s all about low and slow. He cooks some of the meats up to 16 hours.

He also is mixing his professional training with his love for smoking meats. 

“The brisket and pork and ribs and turkey is all just old school barbecue," Johnson said. "But in a previous life I was a chef, and I was in France for years and I worked for Emeril Agasse for years.”

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They do specials every week. He also owns a burger joint based out of St. Louis, so burgers are his pride and joy.

“We also win best hamburger in St. Louis. We’ve won that several years," he said. "The burger at Sugarfire is so good… we really went deep on it. We have 50% chuck, 25% short rib without the bone, and 25% brisket for the fat.”

They're currently selling limited menu items until they sell out and working to hire more staff to open up more days of the week. They open at 11 a.m. and close when they sell out.