Palmetto Pig Barbecue's chefs slow-cook chicken and pulled pork until supple and tender, in addition to whipping up a slew of classic Southern side dishes from scratch. The expert barbecue bosses douse the supple meat in a toothsome tidal wave of homemade sauce, meticulously seasoned with spices and the tears of a magnolia. A parade of crispy fried chicken and hush puppies await rumbling tummies, and made-from-scratch sides such as coleslaw and potato salad duke it out for the title of best supporting comestible on the menu.
WG's Chicken Wings pairs their signature sauce-spun finger food with a menu of sandwiches, burgers, and salads. Guests can cover wings in a choice of two dozen sauces and dry seasonings—including teriyaki lemon pepper, hot honey mustard, and Southern barbecue—which, according to the Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports, and Tourism, are all made in-house. Other entrees include pulled-pork sandwiches, chicken philly cheesesteaks, and buffalo-chicken salads.
The house-turned-eatery known as The Backyard Café puts out an eclectic selection of grilled American fare. Gracious guests can get started with apps, such as artichoke spinach dip ($6.99) or the Backyard salad ($6.99+)––infused with roast beef, turkey, ham, bacon, egg, cheese, and veggies. Hearty bites include the Backyard burger ($7.89)—a half-pound circle of Angus beef bear-hugged by cheddar cheese, mushrooms, onions, and bacon, served with a choice of a side—as well as the teriyaki salmon ($13.99), which arrives steamy atop a fluffy bed of rice pilaf. Diners can complement their consumption with a bottled beer ($2.50+) or glass of wine ($4.50+), or wrap up with a cool scoop of homemade ice cream ($1.99 single scoop) and a hot cup of Coffee Cabana coffee ($1.59).
Caprioska welcomes visitors with a menu of upscale eats. Jump-start a dormant digestive system by choosing the chorizo, a pair of Argentine sweet sausages served with chimi-churi ($7.95), or win your taste-buds' hearts by offering them eight sauce-tossed wings ($6.95). Continue the quest for cuisine with a beef Caprioska burger ($7.95) or sirloin steak ($12.95) accompanied by the sweet music of a vegetable medley and mini baked potatoes. Pescatarians can pick a maritime meal, such as the grilled salmon flanked by sautéed asparagus and rice pilaf with a red-pepper coulis ($13.95), and fowl-focused diners can indulge in the spicy buffalo-chicken wrap ($7.95) or chicken alfredo ($9.95).
Aqua-hued walls and potted plants lend Chill 'N' Grill's interior a cheerful ambience, and an outdoor deck, nestled beside a placid fishing pond, offers diners a scenic view. Seated in either area, guests can tuck into comforting, homestyle cuisine: specialties include hand-sculpted half-pound burgers, shrimp and grits, and steak salads with bleu cheese, walnuts, red onion, and eggs. The eatery's cooks also concoct desserts such battered, fried pickled peaches crowned with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
A hunk of brisket at VooDoo BBQ & Grill begins its journey suspended over a bed of pecan and oak logs. Coated in a dry rub of local spices, the meat slowly turns on a rotisserie rod for up to 16 hours, its skin crisping while the inside stays a warm pink. The chefs smoke all their beef brisket and pulled pork over logs from Louisiana-based trees to lend them the region's unique smoked flavor, even at the risk of confusing passing botanists. They lightly coat grilled sausages, chicken, and burgers in three signature sauces inspired by the state's Cajun recipes. To complement their menagerie of smoked and grilled meats, they sling a variety of southern sides such as corn pudding, greens, and potato salads. At each of the 13 locations, the aroma of roasting meat fills a space of dark-stained wood and wrought iron; dining rooms awash in a palette of reds, greens, and oranges buzz with the sounds of jazz and blues.
Tom Engel burst onto the culinary scene in 1977 when he opened Richards Cafe and Little Richards. Now, in his eponymous house of barbecue, he draws on more than 30 years of culinary experience to roast brisket, chicken, and carolina pork shoulder, drawing out their natural flavors with one of nine sauces. These savory potions—which range from sweet and mild to spicy to Cheerwine sauce—sizzle on the grill, punching up a menu that overflows with homestyle treats such as hush puppies, meaty barbecue baked potatoes, and saucy ribs. Tom's BBQ also deliver catered Southern feasts to parties, special events, and straw houses to send their residents a stern message.