From the road, all you see is a roughhewn wooden shack with tables on the patio and an outdoor bar.
But don’t pass by 2nd Street Bistro because of the outside appearance. Go in and go over to the dark, comfortable and cool side, along with a menu that features both bistro classics and new cuisine.
The interior is dark woods, flat screen TVs and old advertising signs, with a bar that runs nearly the length of the restaurants. Large north and east-facing windows let in enough light to keep the place from being dim and gloomy.
The 2nd Street Bistro menu has so many selections that shout, “Try me!” You look at the menu, you decide and then you see something even more interesting. There are plenty of pastas, seafood, wraps, salads and beef choices, and over fifty beers on tap. A feature of the menu is the “Brooklyn Bangers,” sausages made by owner Gary Sofen’s company of the same name. You’ll find them as an appetizer (tossed with hot wing sauce) or on a hoagie roll with sauerkraut, Asian slaw or cheese. Don’t miss the burgers, with ingredients ranging from Portobello mushroom, salmon and chicken to pineapple, fried eggs, Brie and lemon garlic aioli. There are vegetarian selections: deep fried pickles, a roasted vegetable stack side, fish dip and baked Brie with fruit. The menu weaves Latin influences (Cuban sandwich, fajitas, tacos) with Asian influences (the slaw topping), diner classics (meatloaf, ribs, fish and chips) and the American South (pulled pork sliders, shrimp po’boys). The choices seem all over the place, but there are a lot of basic ingredients, used over and over in different ways. It’s a sign that the kitchen knows what it does well, knows what customers want and keeps them happy.
The service was fast, friendly and efficient; you’re not left waiting long for drink refills, napkin replacements and sauces or condiments. The noise level ought to be bad, given the high ceilings and single-room layout, but even when it’s busy, you can hear conversation just fine. The location is perfect after a morning shopping at the nearby farmer’s market, downtown stores or sunning on Hutchinson Island.
Prices are closer to the fine dining end of the spectrum: appetizers $7 to $14, wraps, sandwiches, burgers and bangers $9 to $14, salads $9 to $13 (note that some salads can be ordered half-size for $5), small plates and platters $12 to $20. But there’s no way to leave hungry or ignore the fact that the ingredients are great and the staff cares about what they serve.
2nd Street Bistro opened in the historic district just two years ago. Here’s to hoping it makes some history of its own by staying a long, long time.
2nd Street Bistro, 122 N. Second St., Fort Pierce, FL. Phone (772) 293-9191. Hours: daily from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Outdoor seating, private room, children’s menu and Sunday brunch available. Happy Hour daily from 3 to 7 p.m.