While Johnnie Saunders was serving in the U.S. Army, he made a list of everything he wanted to do after he got out. Four years ago he checked off an item on that list when he opened his first restaurant, 2 Guys BBQ, in Tavares.

“It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “It wasn’t always easy but I’m determined to make my goals. I make everything myself and I even built my own food truck.”

Saunders became a pit master by serving meats such as chicken, ribs, brisket and sausage and developed his own recipes for sauces and side items. He also wanted to bring a homestyle feel to his restaurant because barbecue reminds him of his roots.

“It’s everyday food for everyday people,” he said. “Most people have a memory of home when the grill is fired up. I keep everything traditional because if it’s a good ole hot dog, you leave it alone. It’s great just the way it is.”

Although Saunders runs his restaurant alone, he dreamt of having his son, Jae, by his side. At 13, Jae is beginning to learn the trade and often helps his dad with the food truck.

The restaurant features a “fire in the hole” grill where Saunders spends 10 to 15 hours smoking meats.




It’s everyday food for everyday people. Most people have a memory of home when the grill is fired up. I keep everything traditional because if it’s a good ole hot dog, you leave it alone. It’s great just the way it is.


Johnnie Saunders, owner of 2 Guys BBQ


The menu offers a rib dinner, pulled pork dinner, chicken dinner and brisket dinner from $8.99 to $11.99, including two sides and bread. Sides include baked beans, mac and cheese, collard greens, cole slaw, green beans, potato salad and yams.

“It smelled so good I just had to come over and get me some,” Rhonda Fleece said. “The meat is very tender and juicy, and the sauces are amazing.”

Sandwiches can be made with any available meat, ranging from $3.99 to $7.99.

A whole slab of ribs is $23.99, a half slab is $13.99 and 10 barbecue wings are $8.99.

“The ribs here are fantastic!” Tony S. said. “Smoky, tender and juicy, with a slight crisp. It’s the best in the area, in my opinion. My combo plate was huge, and the service was very friendly. If you love barbecue, I highly recommend 2 Guys BBQ.”

Food is served in takeout containers for to-go orders and the restaurant offers a few booths and a bar for dining in. The mobile barbecue truck is available for parties and festivals.

Only cash is accepted at this time.

2 Guys BBQ, 1024 E. Alfred St., is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. For information, call 352-702-7189.