Slow & Low Bar-B-Que breaks ground on Viera location


Barbecue fans in Viera rejoice: Slow & Low Bar-B-Que Bar & Grill is opening a new location in the area. Nicole, daughter Haley, and Joel Smith broke ground July 9.

Photo by Mike Gaffey

Slow & Low Bar-B-Que Bar & Grill is bringing its popular slow-cooked, hickory-smoked fare — and 70 new jobs — to Viera.

The casual dining restaurant and caterer officially broke ground July 9 on its second Brevard County location at 5490 Stadium Parkway, next to Space Coast Credit Union. Slow & Low’s original restaurant is in Cocoa Beach at 306 N. Orlando Ave., the site of the former Alma’s Italian restaurant. 

“We’re really excited to be coming out to Viera,” said Nicole Smith, who co-owns Slow & Low with her husband, Joel. “It’s a growing community and there’s lots of families out there.”

Scheduled to open in December, Slow & Low’s nearly 5,000-square-foot Viera location will feature the same menu items that made the Cocoa Beach eatery such a hit: hickory-smoked pork, chicken, beef, turkey, St. Louis-style ribs, babyback ribs and smoked prime rib. The restaurant also serves hand-carved steaks, specialty sandwiches, seafood, sides, appetizers and desserts. Customers can eat in or take out, buy beer and wine and enjoy an outdoor bar, live entertainment and televisions for watching sports. Operating hours will be 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to midnight Sunday.

There will be a few differences: The new location is smaller, will provide golf cart parking and probably will offer an expanded wine list. 

“Cocoa Beach is more of a beer-drinking town,” Smith noted. “But otherwise, everything else will be the same.”

About 70 new employees initially will be hired for the Viera location, Smith said. The Cocoa Beach restaurant employs a staff of 45.

The Smiths, who both managed restaurants before opening Slow & Low, decided on a location farther away from The Avenue Viera and closer to residential communities to give family-friendly Slow & Low the feel of a neighborhood restaurant, Nicole Smith said.

“In Cocoa Beach, we’re really a community restaurant,” she said. “We do a lot of things with the schools and the community, and that’s why we picked that specific location in Viera.”

The couple originally wanted to add a second location in 2009, five years after the first Slow & Low opened, but the economic downturn stalled those plans, Smith said. 

“We feel like now the timing is perfect for us and the economy is starting to get better,” she said. 

Word of the new restaurant has excited Viera-area Slow & Low fans, Smith said. 

“We’ve had lots of emails and phone calls inquiring about it, especially after last month,” she said. “We had a lot of emails from people saying, ‘We heard . . . is the rumor true?’ “

Smith hopes the December opening runs smoother than the Cocoa Beach location’s start-up in 2004, when Brevard was being lashed by hurricanes Charley, Ivan, Frances and Jeanne. 

“We opened Labor Day weekend, and for the first six weeks we were closed more than we were open,” she said. “We lost all our food because we lost all electrical power in the back of the restaurant. Going through it was horrible. But now we kind of giggle about it and say, ‘If we made it through that, we can make it through anything.’ “

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