You’d be hard-pressed to find a can of vegetables, a bag of sliced bread, or a box of instant cake mix in The Backporch Cafe kitchen. The chefs are wary of the premade foods, bottled sauces, and magic beans found in grocery stores, preferring to whip up all their dishes from scratch. So they bake fresh apple pies, bran raisin muffins, and buttermilk biscuits each morning, along with from-scratch loaves of rye, wheat, and cheddar sourdough bread. As a yawning breakfast crowd begins to wander in, the chefs turn their attention to three-egg omelets, chorizo burritos, and lightly grilled french toast. Come lunchtime, they’ll layer housemade bread with house-smoked chicken, turkey, and ham before plating the sandwiches alongside handfuls of fries and scoops of potato salad.
Complementing all of this homestyle cooking is a beverage list that includes coffee, juice, bloody marys, screwdrivers, and Manmosas—orange juice mixed with Easy Street wheat beer from the nearby Odell Brewing Company. When the weather's nice, diners can lounge beneath magenta umbrellas on the patio.
The menu at LuLu's BBQ abounds with tender, slow-smoked morsels of beef, chicken, and tofu slathered in zesty barbecue sauce. Wood framework and Texas stars decorate the steakhouse's interior, where dinner rolls buckle under the tasty weight of sliced beef brisket and meat tumbles off the bone of half or full racks of ribs. Paired with the protein-filled main menu are 11 sides, including sweet-potato tots, green-bean casserole, and fried okra, along with desserts such as LuLu's special Sweet Cow ice cream, which comes directly from Hawaii's sugar-cow farms.
The OiNKs! menu modernizes classic barbecue with five original sauce recipes, produce from sustainable farms, and meat that’s always antibiotic free and usually from free-range livestock. Before being pulled apart by your mouth's masticators, each meat slab is rubbed in OiNKs! special rub and slow-smoked over pecan wood. Palatable proteins, including brisket, chicken, pork, and tofu ($3.99 1/4 lb., $6.49 1/2 lb., $12.49 full lb.), relax in a barbecue bubble bath of your choice: sweet traditional, tangy mustard, peppery vinegar, hot three-pepper blend, or a brand-new Kansas City-style sauce. Or opt for a St. Louis–style rack of spare ribs ($5.49 1/4 rack, $10.49 1/2 rack, $19.99 full rack). Specialty sandwiches, such as the Blue Brisket with bacon and blue cheese ($8.49), fill up hungry hands and are served with your choice of side, including hearty fried okra or the lighter nutty coleslaw or spicy green-bean salad. Soul-soothing desserts, such as a cinnamon-pecan tartlet ($2.49), are baked each morning.
Smokin Joes BBQ heaps plates of beef brisket, St. Louis-style ribs, pulled pork and other menu items slathered in sauce that’s at once sweet, tangy, tart, and spicy. Other sauces include the spicy barbecue, sweet and tangy mustard sauce, and the Carolina sauce, which blends vinegar, brown sugar, and a hint of cayenne pepper ideal for whole-hog cooking. Signature milkshakes cool off the tongue with inventively sweet flavors, such as the birthday cake shake with Funfetti cake mix, milk, and vanilla ice cream. Smokin Joes can also cater for events such as company picnics, class reunions, and weddings, especially weddings where they toast with barbecue sauce instead of champagne.