Bulldog Barbecue and Burger: Now Serving Brunch

Howie Kleinberg embodies the chutzpah of a hometown hero better than most, and who doesn't cheer for the hometown hero?

After competing on Top Chef in 2007, the "Bulldog" decided to come home and do what he does best -- barbecue. And North Miami residents couldn't be happier.

Miami's BBQ might not be as revered or recognized as it is in other places like Kansas City and Memphis, but chefs such as Kleinberg are raising the bar, making locals rethink 'cue. At Bulldog Barbecue and Burger, he combines standard barbecue fare with a gourmet sensibility.

When you visit, be prepared to try staples such as chicken, ribs, and brisket. "It's the best brisket in Miami," says Kleinberg.

And of course, other mainstays such as macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, and french fries are also available. But Kleinberg's GQ (gourmand quotient) is most evident in his white chili ($9) -- made with ground turkey, white beans, cheddar, scallions, and Fritos. It's just as obvious in his burgers, such as the hot mess ($12), topped with bacon candy, caramelized onions, crispy onions, roasted mushrooms, blue cheese, and horseradish mayonnaise.

This family-friendly joint has efficient service, and offers diners a big bang for their buck. Most main menu items are large enough to share between two people with average-size appetites.

And locals have something more to look forward to. The restaurant is now serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. "There'll be breakfast foods," says Kleinberg. "But of course, there'll also be barbecue."

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