New Pensacola Beach restaurant opens, finds success during pandemic

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PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) — Local restaurants have been some of the most affected by COVID-19 closures. Many have had to shut their doors for good.

However, one Pensacola Beach restaurant says it has seen successful so far during the pandemic.

Water Pig BBQ, located at 5 Via De Luna Drive, is a new barbecue restaurant on Pensacola Beach, one of few barbecue options located near the beach.

It opened after COVID-19 effects delayed its grand opening about two weeks, said Jeff Snyder, the restaurant’s general manager.

“We were supposed to open up at the beginning of June, but we were pushed back a bit due to delivery of product and some health department constraints,” Snyder said.

The restaurant was formerly a different concept called Jelly’s. Snyder said the restaurant never caught on, so it was reimagined as Water Pig BBQ.

“There was a lot of potential there, so even during the pandemic, we decided we were going to put the money aside as the company and open the restaurant during the pandemic,” Snyder said. “It has been great so far.”

With that opening, the restaurant staff has made sure they follow CDC guidelines to ensure a case of COVID-19 doesn’t cause it to close.

“The original concept had a lot more tables up on the deck, but we took some of those out to get the 6-foot distancing,” Snyder said. “And then we opened up the beach to seating. We put in a lot more hand sanitizer stations and (other precautions are) the masks that we’re wearing.”

Water Pig Pit Master Steve Seige says his barbecue is inspired by decades of experience barbecuing across the country. The guests will enjoy it, he said.

“I bring a bit of the whole country down to Florida,” Seige said. “We serve everything fresh. We don’t do the restaurant style where we hold, re-therm, warm things up. Everything is going to be fresh until we run out. So if we’re busy and you come late, you might be disappointed, but we’ll have it the next day.”

Water Pig is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.

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