Tuesday, June 13, 2006

the mothership

I’m not much of a pork connoisseur. In fact, the only time I really eat the stuff is when my dad makes his salt-cured country ham or honey-glazed Christmas ham or when a local BBQ establishment comes highly recommended.

Even the last of these goes back to my dad.

The men in my family before me have mostly been butchers, and my father always made it a point to frequent the restaurants that bought from his butcher shop. This ranged from the biggest steak house to the smallest hole in the wall sandwich shack and covered the culinary gambit from hamburgers and hotdogs to mountain oysters and chitlins.

I’ve never actually eaten chitlins, but the “Hollywood Inn” on Florence’s west side will provide you with soul food worthy of the New York Times.

Just down the block from there and almost within the shadow of W.C. Handy's preserved childhood home sits a small cinder block building that still houses Bunyan’s BBQ. It is run by a second generation now, and I’ve heard that the quality has slipped a bit, but one of my earliest memories is going there with my dad. He’d park out back by the smoker, exchange hellos with all the older black men tending to it, and then take me in and sit me on the counter while he ordered ribs or pork sandwiches. The pulled meat was topped with a homemade hot slaw, placed on an ordinary white bun, wrapped in waxed paper, and then speared through with one of those toothpicks with the red plastic tassels on top. The grease striped the brown paper bag and filled his truck with a smoked meat aroma that lingered for days.

I hadn’t thought about that place in years but was reminded of it today when a slow day between projects at work allowed me to slip off to Jim the Knucklehead's new BBQ establishment in Berry Hill. The Mothership has received much praise in its first few days of business, and I can now verify that it is all well deserved. I had read the reviews and expected to like it, but I never expected it to be on the level of the BBQ I had while growing up. It is the first local BBQ establishment to do so, and that is saying a lot.

There were only two things I noticed that have yet to make it into a review. Forgive me if any of you have mentioned this already, but that is some damn good coleslaw. I know coleslaw. I love coleslaw. The coleslaw at Mothership is cut a little thicker and serves as a perfect compliment to the much-lauded meat. Get the coleslaw.

Some people do not like even the best of coleslaw, and I know that. Those people can save their coleslaw for me.

The other thing is the wheelchair ramp. I didn’t have occasion to use it for its intended purpose but I did enjoy the smell of freshly cut lumber as I walked in the door.

It was also good to finally meet someone who I had previously only known solely through the blogworld. I got there pretty soon after opening and had a few minutes to lean on the counter and talk to Jim before the next customers showed up. He seems like good people.
Anyway, the man knows what he’s doing with this whole BBQ thing. Most of you who kindly stop by this humble blog on a regular basis have probably already discovered this, but the rest of you should go there now (provided that you are reading this during the posted hours of operation. If not, take a sleeping bag and breathe in the air of freshly cut wheelchair ramp while waiting for him to open).


Blogger SistaSmiff said...

So, is Jim as nerdy and introverted as he appears?!?!?!? I'm scared to death when I meet other bloggers, I'll be all "HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!" and they'll be really soft spoken and act like they've never spoken with me before....

(I'm very kidding about Jim being nerdy and stuff!)

3:15 PM  
Blogger saraclark said...

I was there Tuesday too, but I was very quiet and undercover.
My coleslaw was good too.

Did you go in the Ladies' room? You should have. I didn't get to go in the Men's.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...

I can't imagine how difficult it would be to run my own business, but Jim appeared rather laid back and comfotable standing there behind the counter. I looked different enough from my profile pic to pass through anonymously, and there was a temptation to do so, as I tend to be the quiet type (most times), but Jim seemed warm and friendly.

I was there around 11:15 and had to get mine carry out since I work in Antioch and have a short lunch break, Sara. I'll hopefully have time to take in the decorations and at least the men's room next time around.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Blake Wylie said...

I had me some Bunyan's this weekend. The hot slaw never slips in quality. Mr. Bunyan still has a hand in operating the place though. He used to work at the Ford plant with my grandfather (Jesse James).

Hollywood Inn...I didn't get there this weekend, but it's always a place to visit when I'm down there.

Gotta love it.

10:11 AM  

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