When the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives came to visit Mo Gridder’s BBQ, host Guy Fieri couldn’t get over that barbecue this delicious was being served in the parking lot of a Bronx auto-repair shop. But when, like Fred Donley, you’re both a head mechanic and a head chef, you have to keep your workplaces close together. Fred picked up BBQ as a hobby a few years back and started to bring in samples for his customers at the auto shop. Their rave reviews encouraged him to make it a part of his business. Now you’ll find a 35-foot cooking trailer in the parking lot and a dining area in a room where he used to service cars. On certain days, you can even get special deals that combine Fred’s two passions, such as a windshield replacement and a rack of ribs.
Despite its unusual setting, Mo Gridder’s still serves up barbecue “so good you’ll think you’re in Texas,” according to Fieri. Fred slow-cooks all his meats in a massive cooker, so whether it’s his signature pulled pork sandwiches, brisket, chicken, or ribs, it’s tender and juicy.
Though the smells and sights might appear to be just like those at many barbecue places, Harlem BBQ Co takes a slightly different approach at the grill. Here the chefs specialize in ribs—which they slather in a choice of mild, hot, or spicy marinara sauce—and also focus on juicy rotisserie chicken. Each cut can be portioned out into smaller helpings or paired with sides such as collard greens and cinnamon-whipped sweet potatoes to create hearty meals fit for one or for a family. Corn muffins make a perfect tool for sopping up juices from each helping of meat, and also come with pats of cranberry butter. Slices of sweet potato pie are also on deck to add a balancing sweetness to each meal and to prove to friends that you're getting your daily allotment of vegetables.
Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread Too, lauded in the New York Times and Oprah magazine, dishes out a menu full of Dixie comfort fare. The southern-fried chicken ($13.95) is escorted by two sides and a choice of bread, and the North Carolina barbecue ribs ($15.95) enthralls diners with an off-the-bone flavor collage. Louisiana catfish ($16.95) arrives flanked by sides such as candied yams, corn-bread stuffing, or potato salad ($3.95 each), making for a diverse collection of ammo during food fights. To wash down meals, diners can swig drinks including fresh-squeezed lemonade ($3.95) and Spoonbread punch ($3), and cap off meals with desserts including sweet-potato pie ($3.50 value), red-velvet cake ($4.95 value), and homemade peach cobbler ($4.95 value).
Chicken Delight piques appetites with a plethora of quick poultry eats served in a casual eatery or, for an additional fee, delivered fresh from the restaurant to dining-room tables. Family feeders can quiet an entire brood of bellowing bellies with a 12-piece family special of fried or grilled chicken breasts, thighs, legs, and wings accompanied by a six dinner rolls, a batch of french fries, and a pint of coleslaw, potato salad, or macaroni salad ($22.70). Miniature fowl feasts, such as a 5-piece chicken-tender lunch special with a can of soda and choice of side ($6.50), appease solo eaters, and a 14-piece shrimp plate raised on deep-sea granges, cooked to perfection and paired with dipping sauce ($15.30) invites twosomes in the mood for underwater barnyard grub to share. Fighter pilots can keep hot and spicy aileron edibles, such as 20 white-meat buffalo wings ($12.50), company inside stomach skies with a smorgasbord of savory sides, such as mashed potatoes ($1.75–$2.85), mac 'n' cheese ($2.60–$4.50), breaded mushrooms ($6), yellow rice ($2.05–$3.20), or corn on the cob ($1.95).
After 16 years in the business (and local fame for former establishments David's Chicken and William's BBQ), Eastside is truly a master of succulent flying feasts (every Thanksgiving the restaurant cooks about 300 turkeys). If you desire to depart chicken-strewn shores, sail on toward shoals dotted with grilled hot pastrami and corned beef ($14.99 per lb.), homemade brisket ($15.99 per lb.), filet mignon ($24.99 per lb.), and grilled or poached salmon ($18.99 per lb.). This deal is valid for takeout or delivery (call to see if you're covered by the delivery area if outside of the listed range).
While Brother Jimmy's BBQ has evolved from a simple barbecue restaurant into a Zagat-rated nightlife spot over the years, its food has remained traditionally North Carolina. The menu, which changes subtly based on each restaurant location, is always grounded in southern-style barbecue traditions, including classic dishes such as ribs, pulled pork, and sliced brisket that's been smoked over hickory for up to 12 hours. And any transformation from BBQ joint to nightspot wouldn't be complete without a 3-ton disco ball or a quality bar, and Brother Jimmy's bar is quality. The bartenders serve up top-shelf whiskey and scotches, and mix unique gourmet cocktails.
In addition to being diehard barbecue fans, many of Brother Jimmy's customers are also diehard fans of the A.C.C.'s football teams. So to offer a convivial refuge for Duke, North Carolina, and other A.C.C. fans, Brother Jimmy's locations feature 20 flat screen televisions blasting games throughout the season.