BOGOTA — After dishing out his barbecue from food trucks and pop-up stands across New Jersey and Manhattan over the last few years, Mario “Big Papa” Chape has opened his first storefront location.
Big Papa Smoke’m Gourmet BBQ, which Chape describes as serving what he considers “Jersey-que” — pit smoked barbecue with a heavy natural wood flavor and bark with tender meat — opened at 352 Palisade Ave. on March 5 in Bogota.
Previously, Chape — who specializes in what he calls — “heavily rubbed, heavily smoked meats.” — also had his smoker behind Marie’s Chicken Joint in Chatham, selling his version of barbecue from there.
“We have been doing the food truck throughout New Jersey for awhile now,” said Chape, previously a longtime chef at various restaurants in New York City. “We would also do pop-up stands in Manhattan or Midtown. The customers began to want to know where they could get it all the time.”
Big Papa earned a prominent place on our most recent list of state’s best barbecue spots.
The Bogota storefront is a “takeout joint,” Chape said, with no dining-in option and will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. He said he wants it to be a place where customers can “run in and get a half-pound of brisket or a sandwich.”
Pork ribs, Big Papa Smoke’m (Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)Joseph Atmonavage | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Chape, who grew up in Union City and founded Big Papa Smoke’m Gourtmet BBQ in 2013, said the store will have an evolving menu, but customers can expect the staples of the food truck and pop-up stands: smoked meat, varying from brisket to pulled pork to ribs, and some exotic options such as alligator. Chape added that one of his most popular items isn’t barbecue at all: the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, topped with a pickle on a potato roll.
His barbecue style is influenced from his Cuban background and barbacoa, a Caribbean way of cooking meat — smoking it over an open fire. “Then serve it up and feed a lot of people,” Chape said.
He said the food truck will still bounce around the area sporadically and the pop-up stands will be at events in New Jersey and New York.