This Little Piggy, an old-fashioned style barbecue restaurant, is coming to the Plant St. Market.
WINTER GARDEN – Ever since his first introduction to Southern comfort food, he just couldn’t stay away.
Matthew Sheeter is an Ohio native with a deep love for Southern cooking and barbecue. He has spent the past 17 years sharing his passion for Southern food by teaching cooking classes all over the South, including Mississippi, South Carolina and Georgia.
But after years of teaching, Sheeter has decided to open his own eatery in Winter Garden’s Plant St. Market. The restaurant, This Little Piggy, will take the space formerly occupied by Five Thymes Five.
“I just love Southern food,” Sheeter said. “It’s something that, even though I’m from Ohio originally, I love doing. Barbecue has just always been a passion, and I love the whole farm-to-table kind of cuisine. And so it just made sense.”
This Little Piggy, which will have its soft opening with a limited menu later this week, is meant to be an old-fashioned barbecue restaurant, where everything is made from scratch. The meat will be prepared using a slow-cooking method where the smoke from firewood is used to enhance the meat’s taste and texture. All the dishes will be served with his homemade potato salad, cheese grits or cole slaw.
“It’s going to be an old-fashioned barbecue that will have beef brisket and baby back ribs that’s all going to be falling off the bone,” Sheeter said. “And all the sauces are going to be homemade. We have three different sauces. We have a mustard sauce, a maple that has red-pepper flakes so it’s going to be the spiciest and then we’re going to have a molasses base. All of it’s going to be made from scratch.”
Sheeter agreed to make Plant Street Market the home for his first business after his brother informed him of a space that would soon be available at the market. Once told, Sheeter jumped at the chance. And when asked what he wanted to do, he answered with zero hesitation: barbecue.
But as opposed to other chefs who come out of culinary school with a grand vision to build a large restaurant, Sheeter just wants to keep it simple and focus on the food’s quality and taste.
“What I think is going to distinguish us is that really is going to be genuine,” he said. “And I want it to be kind of like that old-timey gas station. You know the best barbecue that you used to find used to be off on a hidden path at a gas station or something like that. So that’s what I’m envisioning.
“And I know when people come out of culinary school, they usually want to build a big beautiful restaurant, but sometimes the food doesn’t taste as good as a fresh warm piece of chocolate cake with ice cream from Grandma’s,” Sheeter said. “So I’m going more, not for presentation, but for quality and taste.”
Sheeter has not yet set a date for his grand opening but imagines it will happen sometime in February.