St. Vic’s Smoke Shack brings barbecue to Orlando’s growing Packing District

Business grew from roadside barbecue stand, to food truck, now a brick-and-mortar

ORLANDO, Fla. – Wess St. Victor started making barbecue the same way many people do, right in his backyard.

“What happened was my backyard — love my wife, she just kept buying me different types of smokers, different types of grills,” St. Victor said. “So it got to the point that my backyard started looking like ‘Sanford and Son.’”

At the time, he was working as an exterminator, but St. Victor was also bringing his barbecue to friends and family.


“A couple of guys at work told me, they’re like, ‘Why are you killing bugs? You need to be doing barbecue,’” he said. “That’s when this whole thing got started — like testing out different things at work. For the Fourth of July, like not like 95% of my church was in my backyard.”

St. Victor eventually took his barbecue on the road, creating St. Vic’s Smoke Shack.

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“We started out — my son and I started out — at just a couple of pit barrels at a gas station,” he said. “Then from that point on we progressed through getting a food truck and we’ve been running the food truck for a little bit over seven years.”

Through his food truck, St. Victor built a loyal following of customers.

“A lot of folks was like our flavors are very different from what you were accustomed to with barbecue because we introduced a lot of like our Caribbean heritage in our barbecue,” he said.

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In October, St. Victor decided to make the jump from a food truck to a brick-and-mortar location. St. Vic’s Smoke Shack now sits at 1858 North Orange Blossom Trail, near the intersection with Princeton. The area is seeing a lot of development as Orlando’s Packing District grows up around the area. John Rivers, the owner of 4 Rivers, is also opening his 4 Roots farm nearby.

While the area is expected to grow rapidly, St. Victor has said the transition to a permanent location has come with some “hiccups.”

“We moved into a new area (where) nobody really knows us. You know, it’s not what it used to be over there (along Orange Blossom Trail) but we are building up,” he said.

St. Victor credits his success so far to building relationships with his customers.

“I have developed a relationship with most of my customers,” he said. “We know each other’s names, they ask me about the kids about the wife. I know about them and their children and so on and so forth. So it’s — essential you’re building a family.”

St. Victor knows a lot about family, as he and his wife are parents to eight children. He credits his wife with keeping their household running.

“I am extremely lucky. I married a wonderful woman. So not only does she balance 95% of all that stuff (the household), she also homeschools all of them as well, too,” he said. “She runs the whole house and will take pressure off of me for me to go to work — because I also have another job and they run this business.”

On the latest episode of Florida Foodie, St. Victor talks about working with his children at the business. He also talks about what makes his barbecue stand out from the rest.

Please follow our Florida Foodie hosts on social media. You can find Candace Campos on Twitter and Facebook. Lisa Bell is also on Facebook and Twitter and you can check out her children’s book, “Norman the Watchful Gnome.”

Florida Foodie is a biweekly podcast from WKMG and Graham Media that takes a closer look at what we eat, how we eat it and the impact that has on us here in Florida and for everyone, everywhere. Find new episodes on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you download your favorite podcasts.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.