The rollicking sounds of blues artists headlining the two stages of the restaurant’s performance venue filter through this barbecue hot spot. It features spice-rubbed meats served up with a selection of homestyle sides. The menu centers on hickory-smoked beef, seasoned and smoked pork, and rubbed and grilled chicken and ribs that are steeped in spices, like Marco Polo’s scrapbook. The restaurant outfits tables with a selection of spicy, savory, and slightly sweet sauces, allowing patrons to customize heat levels on entrees or provide a flavorful accompaniment to fried pickles, baskets of corn bread, or Mojo pit beans.
With their in-house smoker and closely guarded recipes for spice rubs, Belmont House of Smoke gradually coaxes out rich flavors and tender texture from brisket, ribs, and award-winning wings. Pit masters stand guard over smokers as slabs of meat and beer-can chickens soak up flavorful vapors from a bed of blazing hickory embers. Guests gather around tables in the two-story dining room to share meals and toast beers poured from one of two separate bars. After meals, friends can play a game of pool or take live tunes from artists throughout the week.
With flavors as unique as its business model, Malbon Bros. Corner Market complements eco-friendly, soft-touch car washes with family barbecue recipes developed on the Malbon family farm in 1923. A wall-size pig mural splashed across the eatery's façade announces a spread of pulled pork and ribs that make mouths water from behind a classic red-tiled counter. Breakfast items, creamy slaw, and a duo of signature sauces segue into the offerings supplied by a fully stocked convenience store nearby.
As the other draw at Malbon Bros., car-wash bays peek out from a crimson-framed glass structure containing twirling red and blue brushes designed to knock away road grime with minimal water use. The brushes' gentle taps work in tandem with a Blue Coral Beyond Green program, which ensures contaminant-free cleanings, and Rain-X solutions, which repel the outpourings of emotional clouds from glass surfaces.
An iconic pig sits atop the roof of Carter's Pig Pen Bar-B-Que, where the scent of smoking chicken and simmering pork wafts through the air. Inside, chefs dress up hand-pulled meats and dreary cubist masterpieces either with a spicy, vinegar-based north carolina sauce or a thick, Virginia-style tomato sauce. Meaty cuts grace tables alongside classic Southern sides such as red-skin-potato salad and fresh-baked corn-bread muffins.
Virginia Barbeque first opened shop in a 100-year-old home in Ashland. The building's long history helped convey the sense of community roots that founder Rick Ivey wanted to express in his eatery's friendly, wood-smoked meats, and fresh-made sides. Now with locations across the state and a slew of accolades from the local media, Virginia Barbeque's mission to build a devoted following and pave a state highway with barbecue sauce is well under way. The restaurant's signature meats begin with a dry rub in a house spice blend before they take a 12-hour stint in a rotisserie smoker filled with hickory wood. Then, cooks hand-pull the meat and slather on house-made Virginia-style red sauce or North Carolina-style vinegar sauce.
As a 20-year veteran firefighter, Shawn Gregory saw his share of action and understood how draining a day on the job can be. So when Shawn and his wife decided to open Halligan Bar & Grill––named after a common tool used by firemen––they wanted to pay homage to the brave individuals in the fire service. “I built this place kinda to be a clubhouse for me and my firefighter friends to kick back after a long hard day on the job,” Shawn describes on his website.
Alongside firefighter-themed gear decorating the walls, including helmet-covered lights and uniforms pinned to the wall, the original eatery’s pride and joy is a 1973 Seagrave fire engine donated by the Mangohick Volunteer Fire Department. The engine, cut in half, sits behind the bar and portions out libations from its pump panel-turned-beer taps. Fully operational lights dance across the bar, and sirens blare every time someone says the word “refill.” At Halligan’s second location in Glen Allen, bar stools flank an entire fire truck in the massive dining room, and the roof holds tables reserved for VIP seating.