Named not for the 19th-century novelist who wrote The Portrait of a Lady, but rather its location near the intersection of Henry Avenue and Jamestown Street in Roxborough, the Henry James Saloon is a no-frills neighborhood pub that has been propping up local drinkers for years. Housed in a tiny one-story rectangular building with a sign that suggests you should “Eat, Drink and Don’t Hurry,” the Henry James embodies the same easy-going attitude inside. Red walls, neon beer signs and multiple TVs constitute the majority of the atmosphere, while the pub menu is surprisingly extensive, with a long list of favorites like roast pork sandwiches, patty melts, pizzas and more. The more impressive “mealwiches” are a fitting portmanteau, stuffed sandwiches that eat like a full meal, combining chicken tenders, cheese, bacon, ranch dressing and more all under one outsized bun.
Restaurant owner and chef Valerie Erwin keeps the Zagat-rated Geechee Girl Rice Café wheeling and dealing with the help of her four sisters and a tome of inherited low-country recipes. Saddle up for dinner and encourage taste buds to wade into the tangy waters of the Carolina pulled pork, a dish that skyrocketed shoulders into the pantheon of palatable joints with house-smoked and slow-roasted pork shoulder enlivened by coleslaw, barbecue black eyed peas, and cornbread ($17). To create the shrimp and grits, chefs sauté plump shrimps and sizzling shallots in a decadent sauce before hoisting the concoction onto a bed of stone-ground grits and verdant greens ($17).
In a city known for its cheesesteaks, it can be difficult to find a beef brisket smoked to Midwestern perfection. Enter Anastasio Botsaris, the chef and owner of Phoebe's Bar-B-Q. Botsaris and his pit crew call forth a wide array of Oklahoma-style barbecue meats from the fires of their kitchen. They stress simplicity above all else, letting their smoked rotisserie chickens and pulled-pork sandwiches speak for themselves. They don't skimp on the sides, either, which include candied yams and collard greens, which are best washed down with a tall pint of barbecue sauce.