Big Jim’s BBQ entrances diners with a menu of tempting contemporary and barbecue cuisine arranged by chef Jim Modesitt. Like the annual westward migration of wood-smoking grills, the sauce-slathered bill of fare unites gourmet California treats with rustic southern cooking traditions, pairing juicy pulled pork, chicken, ribs, and brisket with hearty risottos, traditional cornbreads and beans, assorted cheeses, and crostinis. As clients sup on the tasty bounty or enroll in courses to learn the dark arts of cookcraft from the kitchen’s professional chefs and caterers, rich flavors and aromas lavish the nose and palate with a sensory celebration of fine food.
After walking under the turquoise awning and past the brick façade of Abby's Grill, diners can dig into grilled seafood and pork marinated in the restaurant's secret sauce. The polished surfaces of wood tables gleam in the light streaming through the eatery's tall windows, which provide opportunities to watch passersby or attempt to intimidate parking meters with icy glares.
The BBQ Spot transforms regular pork, beef, and chicken into a smorgasbord of Texas– and Memphis–style barbecue. Hardworking chefs meticulously prepare feasts through traditional Southern methods⎯slowly roasting each meaty slab over a smoky fire of hickory chips and rival-college football-team memorabilia. Succulent cuts of brisket peacefully share table space with St. Louis ribs as well as tender morsels of pulled pork. A menagerie of classic barbecue sides garnishes plates or sops up leftover sauce with portions of baked beans, tangy coleslaw, and wholesome cornbread. The friendly staff delivers the protein-rich cuisine amid homey, no-frills diner décor outfitted with red-, green-, and yellow-checkered floors and surrounded by earthy pale-yellow walls. Wood chairs and tables impart a natural feel to the aesthetic, and The BBQ Spot further enriches its relationship with local diners by providing catering services for weddings, parties, and corporate events, such as CEO firings.
The cooks at Smokey J's prep handmade, slow-smoked barbecue dishes, making their own sauces and sausages in-house. They rub meats with brown sugar and a secret house spice rub. Pulled pork and brisket are slow-smoked for 12 hours in a medley of maple, mesquite, and whiskey barrel wood chips, and collard greens and baked beans simmer in a chicken and pork broth. Zesty spices and sauces augment many of the meats, such as the piquant North Carolina sauce and the house dry rub.
Johnny Cherry, the proven barbecue king, seasons the fare at Frank's BBQ and Seafood with his own special blend of herbs and spices, earning himself and the eatery a first-place finish in the Black Cuisine of San Francisco competition for 10 years running. He cooks up pork and beef ribs, sliced beef brisket, and chicken wings, all available in a variety of combos with sides such as potato salad and hush puppies. Not to be outdone, seafood dishes such as red snapper, catfish, and fish burgers sidle up beside the barbecue fare.
Margie—Frank's BBQ and Seafood's resident soul-fare specialist and fellow Black Cuisine of San Francisco first-prize winner—drops by every Thursday and Friday to whip up her down-home cuisine. Made from her grandmother's Alabama recipes, her entrees include smothered turkey wings, meatloaf, and oxtail, prepared with comfort-fare sides such as string beans and candied yams in the shape of a La-Z-Boy. On request, she can also craft homemade desserts such as cakes, peach cobbler, banana pudding, and pies. Frank's BBQ and Seafood and Margie's soul fare are also available for catering for any event.