Chuck’s BBQ, Bristol’s newest addition to the food scene, has officially opened
By Samantha Bambino
Nothing beats a classic dish of good ol’ homemade mac and cheese … or so we thought. Add in some pulled pork (or brisket) and a waffle cone, and it’s the perfect combination of sweet and savory. This is just one of many unique twists on Texas-style staples offered at Chuck’s BBQ, Bristol’s newest addition to the local food scene, which officially opened its doors to the public on Feb. 14.
Beginning at 10:45 a.m., barbecue fanatics and local officials gathered for a special ribbon-cutting ceremony. Among those present were Bristol Borough Mayor Joe Saxton and Shea Cialella of the Bristol Borough Business Association. The first 30 customers received commemorative “Chuck Yeah” T-shirts.
Conveniently located at 2 Pond St., Chuck’s BBQ is independently owned and operated by the husband-wife duo of Chase and Colleen Guernsey, who were fit to burst with excitement as they snipped the long red ribbon in two, surrounded by family and friends. The Times chatted with the Guernseys back in September as final plans and renovations were underway. Now, their long-awaited dream is finally a reality.
“Chuck’s BBQ is going to be a staple here in Lower Bucks,” Chase said. “I’m honored to be able to take all of my experience, tie in my hometown flavors and serve people delicious barbecue that is hard to find here up north. Lower Bucks is such a unique area to live, filled with amazing people. I’m happy to be a part of this community.”
Chase, who serves as the head chef, is a Texas native who found his calling after high school when he joined the U.S. Navy. After spending time working in the galley on a nuclear-powered submarine, he completed an apprenticeship in Japan, cooked in Las Vegas at a fine-dining restaurant and graduated from both Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Austin, Texas, and the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, California. Though Chase studied everything from Asian to Hungarian cuisine, the barbecue styles of his hometown always held a special place in his heart.
In the midst of honing his craft, he met Colleen, and the two decided to move to her old Lower Bucks stomping grounds in Langhorne. Chase picked up a chef position at Peddler’s Village, followed by one at Draught Horse near Temple University. He was doing what he loved, but the Guernseys saw an even better option.
“He was already working so many hours,” Colleen said. “We thought, he may as well just work for himself.”
In August 2017, the lease at 2 Pond St. was signed. It was the perfect homey, “hole-in-the-wall” atmosphere they envisioned for their grab-and-go barbecue spot. The Guernseys also saw Bristol Borough as a prime location to open a new business.
“This is definitely an up-and-coming area,” Colleen said.
Stationed right off of Mill Street, Chuck’s BBQ is a take-out joint specializing in meals to-go and catering. Once the weather is warmer, outside seating will be offered. Cooked by using slow-and-low smoking techniques, menu items include sandwiches such as the Hot Chicken, which is done Nashville-style (seasoned up hot, breaded, deep fried and dipped in a special cayenne sauce), and Pulled Pork.
For a few extra dollars, guests can choose from a number of side dishes including fried okra, mac & cheese and whiskey pork & beans, which is made with Bristol’s own Dad’s Hat Rye whiskey
Those with larger appetites can enjoy several platter options, such as a half or full rack of ribs and brisket. Each platter comes with a choice of two sides and piece of jalapeno cornbread.
In addition, the eatery will offer soup and homemade chili, as well as items for kids including chicken tenders, hot dogs and grilled cheese, all served with fries.
Each of the barbecue joint’s savory offerings is cooked on a custom-built, 8-foot long, Texas-style smoker that can hold hundreds of pounds of meat. The smoker is fired up every day, burning hickory, cherry and apple woods to cook the brisket, chicken, bone-in pork and ribs.
As customers order at the window and wait for their meals, they’re able to see directly into the kitchen and witness Chase firsthand in his natural habitat. Joining him as chef is fellow Bucks resident Chris Schmitt, a Restaurant School graduate with more than 25 years of experience at The Lemont in Pittsburgh and The Churchville Inn, among other locations.
If guests are able to find room in their stomachs, Chuck’s BBQ also offers dessert in the form of cobbler, served plain or a la mode with seasonal fruit. In the spring, the Guernseys plan to offer soft-serve and hard-scooped ice cream and Italian ice from local favorite, Richman’s Ice Cream.
As new owners and local residents, the Guernseys are all about supporting their fellow businesses in the area. Along with Dad’s Hat and Richman’s, Chuck’s BBQ is using a number of other Lower Bucks resources, including wood for the smoker purchased from Joseph Kelly of Levittown and speciality grown herbs and collard greens from Bristol’s Noah’s Dove Farm. ••
Samantha Bambino can be reached at email@example.com