Rick's Roadhouse comforts empty stomachs with a menu of house-cooked barbecue inspired by small-town restaurants along Route 66, earning plaudits from NECN's TV Diner. Chefs rub half ($12.99) and full ($19.99) racks of ribs with seasoning, slowly smoke the meat over hickory and applewood, and then slather on a signature barbecue sauce to slick meats down for tabletop wrestling matches against corn-bread, baked-bean, and coleslaw sides. Steak frites showcases grilled Montreal- or Cajun-style aged meat ($13.99), and daily-ground bison burgers drip with a house-made steak sauce ($9.99). Alternatively, diners can punch nonbarbecue coordinates into their fork’s GPS to reach sizzling chicken fajitas ($11.99). Experienced restaurateur John Elkhay crafts an informal atmosphere to complement Rick's smoked eats, inviting diners to deconstruct ribs on an outdoor patio or keep their noses pointed toward the open kitchen inside a colorful dining room. Patrons can pause between bites to sink corner shots at a pool table or watch pro thumb-wrestling tournaments on wall-mounted TVs.
The Boston Globe recognized United BBQ in its list of 10 best barbecue joints in New England in 2009. It won the southern barbecue category from Rhode Island Monthly's Best of Rhode Island in 2009. The Providence Journal and Providence Phoenix also reviewed United BBQ.
As guests pass under Lewis' Restaurant and Grille's festive blue marquee, they enter an inviting world of Americana, with a bar that has been in place for generations and a kitchen offering up the appetizing aroma of freshly baked pizzas and Angus beef burgers. Guests share plates of buttermilk pancakes and eggs benedict during Sunday brunches and savor the tastes of inventive burgers and sandwiches, such as caprese-salad burgers or chicken-pesto sandwiches drizzled with balsamic reduction, all week long. Upscale haddock and salmon entrees satisfy refined palates, and a spread of bar food pleases crowds with chicken-finger baskets, tots, and tuna melts.
Though it has welcomed in families and bar regulars for decades, Lewis' has recently updated its interior with new bamboo flooring in the dining room and crisp dollar bills in the bar's cash register. Patrons regularly join in special events hosted by the bar, such as Tuesday-night trivia, where first-placers win a cash prize.
Chef Buck of Buck's Roadside BBQ smokes beef, pork, and chicken with fruitwood and seasons each juicy cut with house-made dry rubs and sauces made from scratch. As proteins such as beef brisket or pulled chicken pile atop platters for two, cornbread squares swap crumbs and numbers with sides including mashed sweet potatoes, collard greens, and baked beans. Five sauces stored in squeezable bottles coat meats and fingers before greeting taste buds with sweet and intriguing knock-knock jokes.
Brazilian-born owners Vagmar Stoffel and Rubiano Aguiar sought to create a community dining experience at Rio's Steakhouse, evoking gustatory memories of their hometowns. Rodizio-style dining allows guests to remain seated while attentive churrascaria waiters continually fill empty plates from skewers of slow-cooked beef, chicken, and pork, which they gingerly carve tableside. In between platefuls, diners can temporarily stop the flow of cuisine with either a color-coded coaster or a cleverly placed soccer ball, buying themselves time to visit the ever-changing buffet of hot sides and salad fixings.
“Who says northerners can’t do ‘cue?” asked Boston magazine as it crowned Blue Ribbon BBQ on its Best of Boston list in 2011. Whether dished out from its two brick-and-mortar locations or its trailer, the restaurant’s tender meats are lauded for their slow-cooked, pit-smoked tenderness, infused with the flavors of hickory and oak hardwoods. Blue Ribbon dishes out memphis dry-rubbed ribs, Texas-style beef brisket, and Kansas City–style burnt ends dubbed “absolutely addictive” by Boston. Locally made hot-smoked sausage and Mr. Whitner’s smoked-turkey-breast sandwiches help round out the menu alongside Southern sides such as dirty rice, potato salad, and corn bread. Blue Ribbon BBQ also caters special events and sells bottles of its most popular sauces so guests can enhance their grandmother’s recipes or add flavor to their super-soaker fights.