REVIEW: Hometown BBQ, Lawrenceville, Gwinnett
For those of you who have been following our blog for some time know, Melanie and I love barbecue. In fact, I had a place in Cashiers, North Carolina that I used to love for barbecue. I would drive up there for a day trip to get out of the sweltering Atlanta heat since its 10-15 degrees cooler in the mountains. Unfortunately, that place has gone down hill and the quest has begun for a new favorite barbecue spot. We like Jim & Nicks in Conyers, but it doesn’t have that real backwoods country feeling like those places that are only open Thursday – Saturday. Anybody know what I’m talking about?
We were hoping with a name like Hometown BBQ, that we would find such a barbecue place and the Southern hospitality that goes along with it. But, that wasn’t the case. When we arrived around 7:15 we walked up to the counter to order. First strike – they don’t take credit cards. Cash or checks. Checks? Really? Fortunately I happened to have a check in my wallet.
This is 2015. Any business, yes I said ANY BUSINESS, has to accept credit cards. This is the way commerce is transacted in the 21st century. Few people carry cash because we have to actually go to a bank or ATM to get cash and we do everything online, right? Anyway, lest I digress…
I should have seen the way things were going to go when Melanie said “Give me just a minute” while looking at the menu and the guy says “Take your time but we close at 8”. Second strike. At first, I thought he was just trying to be funny, but when at 7:40 they came out and said “You want some more tea because we’re closing it down” I realized the guy was really serious. Third strike. You’re out.
I ordered a chili dog because I had heard online this was THE best for chili dogs, inheriting that reputation from the previous owners, Gunter’s BBQ. I also ordered a Brunswick stew, which I consider the standard by which all barbecue places ought to be judged. I also did a pork plate with the potato salad. The potato salad is meant to be eaten last to cool down the palate should you choose to spice up the meat. Melanie chose the smoked chicken with the baked beans and macaroni and cheese. You should remember these selections because you’re going to see them again in an upcoming review of Twin Smokers BBQ in downtown Atlanta.
Both Melanie and I enjoyed the meats, but we felt the sides were bland and needed some help. The chili dog was so-so with the meat having a granular, gritty feel in your mouth. The bread served with the meat was a cold hamburger bun. The Brunswick Stew was really pretty close to hitting the target and quite good. To be honest though, we felt rushed by the staff who were busy trying to shut the restaurant down while we were still eating. “Close at 8” means your last guest is welcomed at 8, not that the staff is trying to leave by 8. Anyone that has ever worked in a restaurant knows that it’s a miracle if you’re out the door an hour after close. When we pulled out of the parking lot, I was afraid to slow down for fear of being rear-ended by the staff leaving.
I’m betting that Hometown BBQ has a pretty decent lunch crowd and that’s what keeps them going. I think though, there’s a lot better BBQ elsewhere and certainly one or more with some genuine Southern hospitality. Guten appetit!