It's official. Barbecue is coming to Ormond Beach's downtown.
The Pumphouse Barbecue and Smokehouse will be a fast-casual joint located at 124 W. Granada Blvd. The restaurant is four years in the making, and will be opening in time for Memorial Day weekend, with a grand opening to be celebrated during the weekend of Fourth of July.
For owner Rob West, of Ormond Beach, it's been an enjoyable journey, but he's ready to finally open his restaurant.
"Downtown Ormond Beach just deserves good barbecue and we're going to bring it to them," West said.
West and his friend James Friedman came up with the concept of the Pumphouse in 2018. After taking a look at the downtown district, the former blighted gas station at 100 W. Granada Blvd. caught their eye. He said that they felt there had to be something that could be done with the building.
At the time, he and Friedman were leading a community group of about 30 young adults at Salty Church and every Wednesday night, they would feed them — barbecue, of course. They found it was tasty and efficient for feeding a large crowd.
That's when they realized that there were no barbecue restaurants in the downtown. Together with developer Bill Jones, they worked to change that. Originally, the Pumphouse was going to open in the gas station building at 100 W. Granada Blvd., but the needed changes to the property to make the restaurant a success were too expensive. Today, the building houses Neighborhood Scoop, an ice cream parlor that recently opened.
Jones didn't give up on the idea, though. He had just purchased the building next door at 124 W. Granada Blvd. and suggested they move the Pumphouse project there, which is part of the reason the restaurant took a little longer to open than expected.
"[Jones] was like, 'Hang with me guys, and it'll be worth it," West recalled. "So after we decided to transition to this building and make that building an ice cream shop, it all turned out better."
West has been in the restaurant industry since he was 18, having worked at The Garlic in New Smyrna Beach most recently. He is also an architect, and the Pumphouse worked to combine his two passions, having been involved in construction when he served on church missions abroad. West wanted the inside of the Pumphouse to have an industrial feel to complement Jones' post-modern vision for the exterior of the building.
The restaurant has been doing catering since about 2018, though they did take a year long hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seeing how good atmosphere and food can change a person's attitude motivated West to emulate that in his own restaurant. Led by chef and pitmaster Bryan Brymer, the Pumphouse will be famous for its brisket, West said, and will offer barbecue staples like pulled pork, pulled chicken sandwiches, as well as more signature dishes such as "the Goat" — a brisket sandwich with goat cheese and caramelized onions.
"We just need something downtown that's quick and not too expensive, and just feels good when you get here," he said. "We're looking to really support this community."