There's no hurry at Uncle Buck's BBQ. The chefs slow-cook and smoke meats such as ribs, brisket, and chicken, imbuing each plate with a tenderness that can't be rushed. Even the Old World-style pizzas have to bake inside a traditional brick oven long enough for the cheese to melt over and around the assorted toppings, such as pulled pork, sweet peppers, and garlic. Sub sandwiches and hamburgers, wings tossed in one of four sauces, and hefty steaks round out the menu of neighborhood-style American cuisine.
With its wood-paneled wainscoting and robin's-egg blue walls, the restaurant's dining area embraces the same casual, down-home charm as the menu. Outside, a wooden patio seats diners beneath an aluminum roof that provides better sun protection than a parasol slathered with sunscreen.
While most of us are still getting ready in the morning, Hall of Flame BBQ's grill masters have already began slow-smoking dry-rubbed portions of pulled pork and beef brisket. That’s because each meat takes 12 hours to smoke before it’s basted with from-scratch barbecue sauces. Diners can pair their meaty mains with classic from-scratch sides, such as mashed potatoes crowned with white pepper gravy and coleslaw.
Though the eatery’s cooks consider barbecue a kind of comfort food, they aren’t afraid to experiment. Hall of Flame’s signature bacon-wrapped beef frank, for instance, arrives topped with pulled pork, slaw, and cheese sauce. And each order of deep-fried wings comes tossed in your choice of 30 sauces, from Death by Garlic to black cherry habanero.
The Railroad House's corner bar appeal and faithful airing of favored sporting events helped it earn the honor of being named best neighborhood bar in 2009 by Berks County Living magazine. Their 8 oz. Black Angus burgers beg for customization, with an abundance of complimentary extras that cover everything from spicy patty rubs to extra meats, cheeses, sauces, and more. The menu also offers chicken and cheese steak sandwiches and a variety of specialty hot sandwiches like the Country breaded steak with gravy, the fried cod fish, and the hot dog. In addition to televisions showcasing the latest backgammon tournaments, their bar also has non-sports-related entertainment aplenty, with trivia challenge events, open mic nights, and live music performances.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has smoked beef brisket in-house nearly every night since 1941, painting each morsel with a tangy house-made sauce. Pulled pork, turkey breast, and polish sausage round out the menu with meals that are heartier than a burrito wrapped in Paul Bunyan’s plaid shirt. Boxed lunches and catered buffets brim with homestyle sides such as coleslaw, mac 'n' cheese, and jalapeño beans. Once the last pickle has been crunched and the last finger has been licked, guests can savor one of the restaurant’s most cherished traditions: a vanilla cone, on the house.
Inside the homey neighborhood gathering place, physical competitions such as football light up TV screens as barkeeps pour on-tap domestic, international, and craft favorites. In the kitchen, multitasking chefs sauté shrimp, slow-smoke barbecue St. Louis ribs, and grill bratwursts and new york strips. The upscale grill fare mixes with comfort food classics, such as meatloaf in mushroom gravy, five-cheese paninis, and juicy burgers crowned with premium toppings. Some nights, guests perform their own renditions of classic tunes during karaoke.
When Karen Harrison of New Jersey Monthly visited Bourbon BBQ, she left with a new admiration for the house “meltingly tender chopped beef brisket” and “two-fisted St. Louis ribs,” promising readers that they’ll “be glad our evolutionary ancestors came down from trees, tamed fire, and started roasting fleshy beasts.”
Harrison’s admiration is well placed. The kitchen clearly knows barbecue. The staff smokes beef brisket in an all-hickory smoker for ten hours before tossing it into the slow-cooker for another six. They use fresh chickens delivered from a nearby farm for his bourbon chipotle wings, buffalo chicken wraps, and southern fried chicken. According to the Memphis tradition, the kitchen also rubs pork spare-ribs with spices before carefully smoking and steaming them until they’re fork-tender. Bourbon BBQ offers a host of options for enjoying the decadent food, from stopping in for lunch or dinner to ordering meats and sides by the pound for catered events.