Boca Raton’s M.E.A.T. Eatery & Taproom is worth seeking out for unusual burgers, wings and more

M.E.A.T. on Federal Highway in Boca Raton.

This small, modern gastropub offers big flavors with such specialties as pimento-cheese-bacon stuffed burgers, smoked wings, barbecue, house made chorizo, pork rinds and beer-based milkshakes.


M.E.A.T. Eatery and Taproom in Boca Raton is easy to miss. You shouldn’t!

Located in a small strip center just south of the Quality Inn Hotel on Federal Highway, it shares the small shopping center with a cupcake bakery, a counter-top maker, and a handful of other small retailers.

M.E.A.T. is a fast-casual place – you order at the register and your food is brought to your table or counter spot – with a focus on, you guessed it, meat. Meat that’s been smoked, such as pulled pork or brisket or chicken wings, and a variety of flat-top-grilled specialty hamburgers that over the years have garnered numerous competition awards and accolades.  To be sure, being a taproom, there’s a selection of a dozen tap beers.

Inside M.E.A.T. Boca Raton.

Beer taps at M.E.A.T.

The current Boca location has been open for little more than 18 months, although a ribbon-cutting took place in July 2022.  A nearby Boca location that opened in 2014 inside an office building was shut down after COVID hit and office workers turned to remote working. M.E.A.T.’s first location in Islamorada, at Overseas Highway mile-marker 88, opened in 2012 and is still going strong.

I’d previously been in the Boca strip center where M.E.A.T. makes its home, but had not dined there until I recently caught a re-run episode of Guy Fieri’s Food Channel show “Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives” that featured M.E.A.T. The episode filmed at the Islamorada outpost first aired in 2019.

Behind M.E.A.T. are Chef George Patti, who is originally from New Rochelle, N.Y., and Thomas Smith, a sommelier who hails from New York’s Finger Lakes region. Patti started smoking and curing his own meats at his father’s Huguenot deli in New Rochelle, N.Y., where he learned his trade slicing pastrami and sausage, according to the restaurant’s website. He graduated from Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island and ran a series of successful restaurants in the upper Keys with Smith before opening M.E.A.T. Islamorada in 2012.

Inside Out Juicy Lucy burger with duck fat fries.

Pulled pork sandwich with onion rings upgrade.

Smoked chicken wings.

Chorizo patty.

The Boca location is a cozy modern gastro pub with faux brick walls and a bar with 14 red and stainless-steel stools plus tables and seats for another 40 along a wall decorated with brewery bric-a-brac.  There are two outside tables. A TV in the rear wall shows a loop of M.E.A.T.’s DDD episode.  The staff is friendly and hospitable.

While there are only a dozen beers on tap, the choice can be bewildering. No problem. Tastes are available and encouraged. And don’t miss M.E.A.T.’s bitter-sweet, chocolatey Guinness Stout float with house made Nutella ice cream ($8.99).

House made pork rinds.

My favorite on the menu was the sextet of extraordinary smoked honey chipotle barbecue chicken wings ($15.99). The wings are brined overnight in water, salt, bay leaf and garlic, then given a house barbecue rub and cooked at 180 degrees for up to six hours. After smoking, the wings are heated in a pan with the sweet-hot sauce and then tossed in with bleu cheese crumbles. It’s a shame there are only six of these flavor-bursting wings to an order.

As for the burgers, M.E.A.T. uses an Angus beef blend. They’re cooked on a flat top greased with bacon and duck fat renderings. The burgers have a nice crust. Reader’s Digest, while not a publication ordinarily associated with foodies, named M.E.A.T. Florida’s top burger joint in a July 2022 article.

My pick from among M.E.A.T.’s burger offerings is the popular Inside-Out Juicy Lucy Burger ($15.99), a six-ounce pimento-cheese- and bacon-stuffed savory patty topped with cheese, lettuce, and tomato. It’s messy to eat, but scrumptious and exploding with flavor.

A pulled pork sandwich ($12.49) of tangy, smokey chunks of meat is delicious topped with the house coleslaw is served in the same bun as the burgers.

A house-made chorizo patty ($10.99) – chopped pork meat and pork fat, seasoned with white wine, paprika, salt, garlic, cayenne, cumin, oregano and black pepper – andtopped with American cheese and chimichurri aioli, a Patti specialty, offered up a spicy blast with every bite.

Want a bargain? M.E.A.T, offers a “Burger Wednesday” special with a quarter-pound cheeseburger at $5.

Zucchini fries ($7.69), fried, batter-dipped spears of green squash, were tasty, albeit a tad soggy on the inside.

Most burgers and sandwiches are served with the bistro fries cooked in duck fat for extra flavor.  Alas, they are highly salted, I guess to encourage beer consumption. I would order them next time with less salt, or none at all.  Onion rings, available at additional cost, are thick cut, heavily breaded and incredibly crunchy.

Adult milk shake.

Another unusual item among the starters was homemade pork rinds ($8.49) – deep fried pork skin rendered of its fat – served as light, crispy puffs with a cup of chimichurri aioli dipping sauce.

Besides smoking all their own meats and making sausage in-house, Patti and company serve up house made pickles and create their own condiments, mango-chipotle ketchup, mayonnaise and BBQ sauce, among others, made from scratch.

Less adventurous diners can order a plain burger with a packet of commercial ketchup.

To be sure, M.E.A.T. is more than a burger joint. It also serves lighter fare including fresh, creative salads, veggie dips, chicken sandwiches and an Impossible Burger, to name a few.

For me though, the wings, the burgers and the adult milkshakes are enough of a draw to make M.E.A.T. a destination for diners.

M.E.A.T. Eatery and Taproom

2831 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton,


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