Review: Allen and Son’s BBQ, Chapel Hill

This past weekend, I broke away from the “hustle and bustle” of DC and opted for a more relaxed pace.  I took the 5 hour drive down to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to visit a friend.  It’s a charming city with lots of good food.  I visited several restaurants but I’m only doing a FULL review for the restaurant that stood out the most.  I’ll give brief summaries of the other restaurants at the bottom of this posting.

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The first restaurant I visited in Chapel Hill was Allen and Son’s BBQ – the original A & S location (there’s another one on the other side of town).  I know that it doesn’t look like much from the outside but the food was great. When I stepped out of the car the first thing I smelled was trash (there was a dumpster about 50 yards in front of us). Once inside, I noticed the decor wasn’t spectacular. I seem to remember a picnic checkerboard tablecloth on the tables. I was greeted by an employee who said that we could sit anywhere we wanted and that someone would come our table shortly. Don’t you just love that? I felt like I was at their home. Not like DC, where you’re greeted with “do you have a reservation” as opposed to “hello”. Bastards.

So, this place is known for its BBQ. There were awards and certificates all over the place. And instead of going for an old favorite (fried catfish) I decided to go for the moneymaker – ribs. My meal came with coleslaw, a choice of French fries or potato salad, and hush puppies. I went for the potato salad so as to not have too many fried foods.

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(Sorry, I’d already started eating.)

Along with my food I had an Arnold Palmer – seemed fitting being in the south.

I’ll start with the things I liked the least…

Coleslaw: I don’t like coleslaw anyway. That being said, it wasn’t bad but I didn’t eat much if it.

Potato salad: So, you know you can’t eat everybody’s potato salad, right? Well, this one was kind of tangy.  A little too much mustard for my taste, but still not bad.

Ribs: Lord, they were falling off the bone. The meat was tender and well-seasoned. I did not add a single drop of sauce (which is highly uncharacteristic for me and BBQ) because it was already perfect. The sauce was tangy and you could taste some of the vinegar which I loved. I destroyed the ribs.

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Sweet potato pie: Delish. They warmed it up and served it with lump of whipped cream. I made sure that each bite had some crust (you know we love some crust). This was a predominantly white establishment but it tasted like my momma was in the kitchen.  Everyone ordered desserts and they were all delicious – which is where some of these family-owned business drop the ball.

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Lastly – the hush puppies. So, this was my first time EVER have hush puppies.  I’d always assumed I would not like them. But they were awesome. They tasted like someone seasoned them like meat and then fried them.  Mmmmmm.

I give this place 4 out of 5 Bs. The server was friendly, slightly less attentive than I would have liked but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt given that the restaurant was busy. The place closed at 8 and a slew of people poured in at 7. I highly recommend this place if you are ever in Chapel Hill.

 Mez (Mexican) BBB – really good food and ambiance, really average service

Char-Grill BBb – it was aight. Just aight.

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