After Radical Changes, One of Our Mediocre BBQ Joints Is Now Good
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New York is a city of rebirth and reinvention. People regularly come to NYC to become new people or embrace their true selves. And the city is so big that you could move to a new part of the city or change jobs to turn yourself into a new person.
The same goes for New York restaurants. A change in management or menu can improve (or hurt) a restaurant. Such is the case for Southern Hospitality at 9th Ave and 45th St in Manhattan. Over the years, it’s a joint I was consistently disappointed by, whether it was bland food or slow service. But things have changed.
Yesterday, I spent some time trying their revamped food and talking with Southern Hospitality Executive Chef Jeff Gebott, who was brought in one year ago to make big changes to the food and the atmosphere. Gebott, who previously worked at SH’s Colorado location, says three big things have changed: 1) the quality of the proteins they buy is far better; 2) the techniques they are using to smoke and prepare the meats are more advanced; and 3) their approach to service is more unified so the staff acts more like a team.
“When I ate here two years ago, I was underwhelmed as well,” Gebott told me yesterday. “A big reason they brought me out here was to increase the quality of the food, which we have done. Our food scores have gone up, our repeat business has gone up, and I think our guests appreciate the quality of our fresh ingredients and products. The effort we put into our smoked meats is intense.”
I sampled the chicken wings, brisket, baby back ribs, baked beans, and mac ‘n’ cheese. The food—especially the wings, brisket, and beans—were far better than I had during my last visit two years ago. On top of the menu and kitchen changes, Gebott oversaw a 10-day remodeling, which was completed recently. The previously dark restaurant is brighter and looks all around nicer. I’ll certainly be stopping in again soon to try more items, especially when I’m in Hell’s Kitchen.
Founder, NYC BBQ
EAT ALL ABOUT IT
Eater New York just released a great guide to BBQ in the Hudson Valley region just north of NYC. They recommend Revenge BBQ in Irvington, Pik Nik BBQ in Tarrytown, and Brothers Barbecue in New Windsor as the top spots to seek out. Additionally, I recently had outstanding fried chicken and pulled pork sandwiches at Stock Up up in Beacon, New York and would recommend stopping in if you are near the Dia:Beacon museum.
Speaking of Hudson Valley, a new Memphis-style BBQ joint called The Shack just opened in Poughkeepsie that may be worth a visit. Menu items include a range of barbecue options, including “apple cider pulled chicken, bacon brine pork belly, and Coca-Cola pulled pork.”
Holy Ground, a “BBQ speakeasy” in Tribeca that opened a few months ago, just started serving brunch, which includes a new brisket hash and pulled pork & pancakes. Check out Holy Ground’s full brunch menu here. (Also keep an eye on Southern Hospitality, which plans to offer a new brunch menu in the next few weeks.)
Manhattan now has a $40 all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant called Let’s Meat. The restaurant, located at 307 Fifth Ave, offers 30 different meat options. One caveat: Diners can only spend 100 minutes in the restaurant and you must order all your meat within the first 70 minutes of being there. Regardless, this is a good deal.
Here are the top BBQ (and related) food events coming soon to the New York metro area:
October 12, 13, & 14: While this weekend’s New York Coffee Festival may not be a BBQ event, it’s too good to not mention. The event returns to Metropolitan Pavilion on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and tickets cost $40. Whether you're a beginner or a coffee aficionado, this event will let you taste your way through the vibrant New York coffee scene with hundreds of coffees to sample. Buy tickets here.
October 13 & 14: The 3rd Annual Queens Beer Fest is back in Long Island City at LIC Flea. Enjoy unlimited tastings from breweries in Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Long Island and Upstate breweries. The event typically has BBQ as well, but the beer tastings are the star of this show. Tickets run between $40 and $80. Buy tickets here.
October 14: The NYCWFF Coca-Cola Backyard BBQ is back in Manhattan. While the event is expensive at $175, it does have a great lineup of vendors and the food is wonderful. This year’s BBQ vendors include Blue Smoke, Corner House BBQ, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Handsome Devil, Hometown Bar-B-Que, Hill Country, Holy Ground, Kimchi Smoke, Mighty Quinn's, and Virgil's. I hope to see you all there. Buy tickets here.
October 27: Barbecue is coming to big screen on Saturday, October 27 during The Food Film Festival at AMC Empire 25 in Manhattan. “Fire and Smoke: Texas BBQ and Beyond” will feature six short documentaries about barbecue and guests will get to taste great BBQ from The Original Black's BBQ (Texas), Melt BBQ (Paris), Izzy's Smokehouse (Brooklyn), Kimchi Smoke (New Jersey), Gentle Giant Brewing (Pearl River), Randall’s Barbecue (New York), and more. Buy tickets here.
November 10: Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy's No. 43 fame will be throwing his annual Ciderfeast event at Biba in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This all-inclusive event runs $45 per ticket and will feature more than 15 cider brands, plus a wide selection of cheese, roasted pork, vegetarian dishes, and more bites. Buy tickets here.
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