The Brack Shack Celebrates Grand Opening
by James Coulter
For the past eight years, Bracken Smith has been preparing and selling his famous barbecue pork egg rolls at Smoke on the Water and other local barbecue events. Now Smith can sell his egg rolls and other barbecue items from his new eatery in Auburndale.
The Brack Shack officially opened its doors to the public with a grand opening on Saturday. The event included a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Auburndale Chamber of Commerce, with music entertainment provided by Melvin DjMelvinr Rios and Max 98.3.
The new eatery will serve as a permanent venue for Smith’s award-winning barbecue catering company, Kick Yo Butt Catering. His barbecue will be served at the location with indoor seating on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
The menu will include Smith’s famous gourmet egg rolls, including barbecue pork, jalapeño, and breakfast. His second most popular best-selling item is the chopped brisket and cheddar melt sandwich.
The secret to the success of his barbecue has come through trial and error through attending and winning local barbecue events. Moreover, it has been with the wood used to smoke their meats, specifically fruit and pecan wood, which helps provide a distinct flavor.
Smith has been serving his award-winning at various barbecue events across the county, including Smoke on the Water in Winter Haven. He has even catered to many fundraising events and even donated his food to special causes.
Now, after eight long years, Smith has finally achieved his dream of opening his brick-and-mortar eatery, where he and his team will serve lunch. He hopes to soon obtain his beer and wine license, which will allow him to remain open for dinner hours.
“We’ve really been working hard for the last eight years, and it feels good to see it come into fruition,” he said. “It all started with Smoke on the Water ten years ago. It has grown to a successful catering business, and now we have our own brick-and-mortar store where we can sell them. It all started with that egg roll ten years ago.”
Bracken owes the opening of his new venue to the many people who supported him over the years, including the City of Auburndale. It was only through such consistent support that he was finally able to open his brick-and-mortar eatery, and he has high expectations for the future moving forward.
“I cannot thank the support that we have gotten from day one to now and still get supported,” he said. “If we did not have the support from everyone who loves our food, it is all a huge thanks to them. It is why we are here where we are at.”
Mayor Tim Pospichal commended the eatery for being the latest business to open in the city. The Brack Shack joins the ranks of other big businesses and companies in town, including the Coca-Cola manufacturing plant, the SunTrax autonomous vehicle testing facility and site, the Amazon fulfillment center, and the Cabana Club RV Resort.
Mayor Pospichal especially loved how the eatery would allow them to enjoy Smith’s famous barbecue, especially his gourmet egg rolls, year-round without having them wait for specific barbecue events throughout the year.
“On behalf of the city commission and its citizens, I would like to congratulate you and welcome you to the Auburndale family of businesses,” he said. “You are in great company, and we are so glad we are here.”
Especially significant was how the new eatery was opened in the former location of the local VFW. As a token, Sandra Hall, Auburndale Chamber Executive Director, presented Smith with a before and after photograph, showing the facility as a VFW and as an eatery. Underneath the picture is inscribed: “A legacy of heroes now transformed in a future of serving our community with the same pride and patriotism.”
“We appreciate you, we appreciate the VFW, and appreciate our city,” Hall said.
Melvin DjMelvinr Rios provided musical entertainment at the event. He and Smith have been close friends for the past 20 years. Both of them have worked at various events, with Melvin offering music and Smith providing catering.
As a lifelong friend, Melvin is proud to see his close partner finally live out his dream of opening his own eatery. He hopes not only to see it grow and expand, but also to potentially open up a second location, specifically in Winter Haven.
“I am very proud of him,” he said. “This is something we take pride in…I want him to grow. He does give back to the community like I have. He even donates food to certain events. He is like a brother to me, and I want to see him succeed.”
The Brack Shack is located at 231 E. Lake Ave, Auburndale, FL 33823. For more information, https://www.facebook.com/KickYoButtCatering.