I had the good fortune of eating at Eli’s on Riverside today, and was not disappointed. The menu is not fussy and the food is good. The basics are pulled pork and sliced turkey sandwiches, ribs, and hotdogs. The hotdogs struck me as weird then I reminded myself, we’re in Cincinnati, however they are serving all beef hotdogs which to me is a touch of blasphemy in Porkopolis.
The pulled pork came with a splash of their one and only sauce, a reasonably thick red with a gentle kick. What we liked about the pork and the ribs is that neither was overly sugar coated. The pork was peppery, but not biting with cayenne or black, I presume the majority was white pepper. Whatever the mix, it is good.
The ribs had a unique flavor. I kind of think it’s poultry seasoning, or at least a healthy dose of thyme and sage. They are dry rubbed and super tender; we highly recommend the ribs and pork, though no one tried the turkey.
I and my son give the beans 2 thumbs up. They are fully savory and the cumin is a defining spice. We highly recommend them. The slaw was good, I’ve had better and I’ve had worse, again not heavy on the sugar which I appreciate, but certainly creamy and crunchy. The macaroni and cheese was not my jam, as my son likes to say these days. It seems some joints want to try to make a nostalgic take on, with their own twist, of Stouffer’s mac and cheese, but they should all stop and just make good mac and cheese. This tasted like it had a sharp white cheddar, but had that gooey, starchy consistency of underwhelming freezer aisle mac. I say pass, unless of course, that is your jam. Wish I had tasted the jalapeno cheese grits instead. Mashed potatoes are also on the menu. I didn’t even consider them, never seen such a thing at a bbq restaurant. I fund that offering a bit odd.
The atmosphere is good, lots of drawings on the wall, of local Cincinnati celebrities and sports folks, among others, and Star Wars characters. Some antiques in the window and a record player spinning LPs. Today it was bluegrass covers of Metallica, but there was a bin full of records for staff to play. There is a small inside dining room and a lot of picnic tables outside under a roof. We would definitely mane return trips to Eli’s. They have 4 locations, I recommend you try one.
We made a lunch stop at the relatively new Greater Good BBQ in the Oakhurst / East Lake neighborhoods today. I do believe this is the 2nd outpost of GGBBQ that started over in Tucker. We were very pleasantly and genuinely greeted when we arrived. The restaurant is bright and happy, with a big patio that will be nice on summer nights. Though you walk right in to the counter and cash register, the restaurant is full table service.
We tried the pulled pork, ribs, collards, baked beans, and mac n cheese. All was very good, the meat was moist, tender, with a nice balance of smoke and bar; good without sauce and well complimented with any of the 4 sauces. I favored the Carolina sauce and the Hot. The hot seemed to have a good kick of cumin, whatever it was, I liked it.
The mac n chesse was good and clearly baked, where as the baked beans are not baked. There is also an overly earthiness to the beans. I think it might be an over abundance of celery seed, maybe even some green pepper helping to pump the savory taste. I’ve run into this flavor in the beans at other places. I’m not a huge fan, I like sweeter baked beans as opposed to the more savory stewed beans. You get some white bread with a meat plate, but it’s not just a slice, it is a delicious, lightly grilled piece of TX toast.
We’ll definitely be back. The prices are good and more importantly the food is really good, and the service was great.
Ok, so it’s been way too long since I have posted anything new, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been eating some bbq from time to time!
The latest visit was to Good Smoke BBQ in East Rochester, NY. They prominently display over 100 trophies and awards for competitions and best-ofs, and most appeared to be from just the last few years or so.
We started with the Pig Candy, basically a big pile of bacon tossed in their rib glaze sauce. The bacon was pretty crisp and the sauce added a bit of sweetness, for the candy effect. My only complaint was that the bacon wasn’t hot. We were there just after they opened, I would hope this was made fresh, but it was surprisingly cool, to lukewarm at best. I think hot bacon would have caramelized the glaze, and frankly I just like hot bacon.
Sauces, they have six, all pretty good in my opinion. I liked the vinegar sauce the best. It was a little darker, so not as much like a typical North Carolina vinegar sauce. I swear I tasted Coca-Cola in it, maybe they let the Coke go flat and add it to the sauce…I don’t know, I may experiment with that myself.
All in all the food was good, too better. Certainly better than a lot of the typical Georgia style that I am regularly subjected to. I would put them close the being in the class with some of the standout joints in Georgia. Ribs were tender, seasoned, and cooked right. Mac-n-Cheese was good, but could have used a little flavor boost, salt or sharper cheese, our some hot sauce. I had the pulled pork sandwich, it seems they dip or soak their pulled pork in a sauce, otherwise I just don’t know how it had the color it did. It was good, but once all the food was delivered, I felt like I didn’t really have use for the 6 bottles of sauce on the table…Maybe had I just gotten a meat plate and not the sandwich they would not pre-sauce it. Cornbread squares are sweet and cakey, not my preference, but still tasty. I still think Weaver D’s in Athens, GA makes the best corn muffins.
I definitely recommend Good Smoke BBQ. I wish they would pump in some smoke scents into the restaurant, it was noticeably void of they delicious smell of smoking meat. The smokers are outside, and I was able to catch a whiff before we left, to know it was real, but yeah, the missing scent in the air was a noticeable void in the ambiance. I will also say they have a lot, but not too much on the menu so you can get a burger, or grilled chicken or fried bologna, or Cuban sandwich and take dining companions that may want more choices that pulled pork or ribs.
Finally, I got to Sandfly BBQ! My brother has been taunting me with this place practically every time we visit Savannah, but we’ve never gone. We’ve been to Wiley’s Championship BBQ, Wall’s, Papa’s, Blowin’ Smoke, but never yet Sandfly, until now. Oh and my brother wasn’t with me, Doh. We’re going back to Savannah soon for a visit and I think I will have to make sure to go back and try more of the offerings of Sandfly. It’s in a little strip mall off Skidaway Road near the Isle of Hope and Skidaway Island – I was actually in town visiting Skidaway Island State Park – if you need a place to camp I highly recommend it. The interior of the restaurant has a lot of charm and character. The menu was a colorfully written on a large chalkboard behind the counter and some additional offerings/specials were written down and taped to the counter top. You order at the counter, make your offering to the pigs and then wait for the goods to come to your table.
I ordered what I tend to order the first time I visit any bbq joint – pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, and collard greens. The plate came and frankly I thought the portions looked small, but I felt full for hours afterward, so the basket must have just been big! The pork was exceptional, smoky, tender, crusty in parts; it needed no sauce but was happy to have any of the few offerings on the table. They have a mustard based sauce, but it seemed to be a hybrid between a mustard and a ketchup base to me. Really good flavor, nice spicy finish, and a good vinegar/mustard kick, but without the bright yellow that is typical of the mustard styles. Two other red sauces on the table, one was more vinegar based than the other and I liked them both as well. You can buy the Sandfly Sauce by the bottle, $7.99 – worth taking home.
They offer the typical pork, beef, chicken, and ribs, plus smoked sausage and a good selection of sides. One of my dining companions got the smoked sausage sandwich, and it was huge; I am surprised he polished the whole thing off in one sitting. Sides include slaw, beans, fried okra, mac-n-cheese, green beans, brunswick stew, fries, onion rings, sweet potato fries, tater salad, and collard greens. The mac was righteously cheesy and the collards full of flavor. The plate also came with a side of Texas Toast. I ate every last bite.
If you are in northwest Georgia, and find your way to the town of Trenton, you might as well make a stop at Thatcher’s and have some tasty ‘que. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Cloudland Canyon State Park a number of times in recent years, but this is the first time we descend the west side of the mountain and visited Trenton. I am glad we did because I did not leave disappointed.
Thatcher’s is half walk-up, half sit-down. I didn’t go in, but there was what appeared to be a small indoor dining room off to the side of the walk-up window and beyond that a cozy screened porch with a good number of tables and what looked to be old BW3s booths reclaimed for the porch. We got our orders from the walk-up window and took a seat at picnic tables in the shade.
The menu is expansive. All of your typical bbq goodies, and the sandwiches, and burgers, and wings, but none of it feels like it doesn’t belong. They have a variety of nachos which they call shovels, and a variety of buckets which are tots or fries, all of which are topped with any number of mouthwatering toppings. Take for instance the Porky Bucket full of tots topped with melted cheddar cheese, pork and bbq sauce. Then there is the spud patch, at least 9 different baked potato options, again all stuffed with a variety of deliciousness. I need to tried the Chick N’ Green spud that is topped with grilled chicken, mozzarella, fried broccoli cheese bites, butter, and sour cream. Others include the Cowboy Pork Spud, the Bacon Spud and the Philly Spud. Thatcher’s seasonally serves brunswick stew and chili (October thru March).
I had the pulled and chopped pork plate with okra, mac-n-cheese, slaw, and a piece of Texas toast. The pork was smokey, tender, and flavorful. It came with a side of thick deep red tangy sauce that was a good compliment to the meat. The mac-n-cheese, man talk about cheesy, it was ooey-gooey, awesomely cheesy. That’s the kind of macaroni and cheese I want to arrive when I order from a bbq joint. They used a big tube pasta, penne. I think some of the best I’ve had over the years have been penne and rigatoni pastas loaded with cheese and baked to perfection. The okra was delicious, light batter and fried right. Slaw was good too, a creamy style, but not overly so.
Good Hours: Monday through Saturday 11-9
Take credit cards