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Photos courtesy of JP23.
Two immediate points to make out with this post: with Robert Earl’s BBQ and Bigmista, don’t come to Long Beach talking about your smokin’ skills unless you properly brought said skills. (Yes, I am definitely dogging on that nightmare known as Dickey’s.)
That’s my first immediate thought when it comes to JP23 Smokehouse, which already has a bro-ed out location (complete with a cover after 10PM) in Downtown Fullerton, coming into DTLB.
The second point is that it is moving into the old Cohiba space above the 7-11 at the southeast corner of Pine and Broadway and, brother, anything that will get that godawful decal and piles of old mail removed while activating a space is a win no matter how you dice it. (Fun fact: Cohiba used to pour its patrons onto what is now BO-beau’s rooftap—let’s just say it wasn’t the most loved of crowds on weekends.)
JP23 opened in 2013 and I’ve only had the perturbing honor of visiting it once on quest to discover decent BBQ in Orange County on a pitch for a publication—only to discover a stringy mess of a brisket platter that made Robert Earl shake his head when I told him about years later.
Of course, they are a pseudo-club: they host ticketed UFC events, charge covers after certain hours, and—though certainly not my cup of tea—have a model that has worked in Fullerton for the most part, despite that positivity going toward its party mode more than its grilling mode.
But, hey… In all honesty, Long Beach, that was five years ago so here’s to a few things:
- Long Beach’s spectacularly existing BBQ…
- JP23 steppin’ it up and coming in to activate a space in dire need of some TLC…
- …and to people from the outside, looking into DTLB, and saying, “I’ll put my money there.”