I’m glad I stumbled upon Sempre Fame Gourmet Grill, a modest Floral Park shop serving up barbecue since 2011. Unlike some stretches of Long Island that I regularly troll for new restaurants — among them Hillside Avenue between Williston Park and New Hyde Park, Middle Country Road between Lake Grove and Selden — Tulip Avenue in Floral Park historically has not been a culinary hot spot.
The owners of Sempre Fame (“always hungry” in Italian), brothers John and Chris Cavallo, started smoking in their backyard as children, then graduated to catering and, eventually, owning this modest but cheery little restaurant.
Making up for lost time I sampled the pulled pork (lush and tender), brisket (falling apart) and ribs (porky, with a little heat and a little sweet) as well as peppery, fresh-cut French fries, and baked beans made with tiny, still-firm navy beans.
The menu here offers far more than traditional barbecue (ribs, brisket, pulled pork, smoked corned beef, chicken — platters of which range from $11.95 to $15.95. There are two dozen sandwiches that start at $9.95 (grilled chicken) and top out at $15.95 for the CLOGS: smoked brisket layered between chicken cutlets topped with melted mozzarella and bacon.
Burgers are enhanced with all manner of toppings; the SLOB, $17.95, features bacon, cheese, pulled pork and slaw. There’s chili and taco salad, sliders and quesadillas and something called a semprenada: little pastry turnovers containing brisket and mac and cheese, pulled pork and bacon, chili and mac and cheese or Reuben filling ($3.50 each, or three for $9).
Catering is available, as is local delivery (Thursday to Sunday, $20 minimum order). Store hours are Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sempre Fame Gourmet Grill is at 374 Tulip Ave., Floral Park, 516-488-7900, semprefame.com