Name: Kyle Fletcher’s Barbecue & Catering
Address: 4507 Wilkinson Blvd, Gastonia, NC 28056
Order: Small barbecue plate with hush puppies, slaw, baked beans, fries, and sweet tea (link to menu)
First off, I’d like to apologize to Speedy for going to Kyle Fletcher’s without him. Ever since they beat one of our favorites, Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge, in the championship round of the Charlotte Observer’s Best Barbecue in the Charlotte Area bracket year, we had discussed checking it out together. Unfortunately (for Speedy, not me), for Father’s Day Mrs. Monk decided to surprise me with a quick trip to Gastonia for lunch. So you see it was out of my hands.
The parking lot to Kyle Fletcher’s is a bit of a maze to negotiate, but we were able to find a spot without too much hassle (leaving would be a little trickier). We arrived at 11am on a Saturday, with the smokers are going full blast at the rear of the building, creating a smoky haze in the parking lot. So far so good.
Skipping ahead a little bit, you will see below that I gave the atmosphere 1 hog. That is because I am an NC State fan, and the walls and tables in Kyle Fletcher’s look like Dean Smith and Charles Kuralt collectively threw up on them (i.e. they are covered with UNC memorabilia). The only reason why I didn’t give it 0 hogs was because they did have one NC State baseball jersey on the wall towards the back.
We were able to sit right away but had we arrived 30-45 minutes later we would have been waiting for a table. There were also quite a bit of pick up orders that day. Based on what I saw, the Gastonia locals certainly seem to love this place.
Which is why it was a little unfortunate that while the pork was smoky with a good amount of bark mixed in, I found it to be a bit dry. Using the table dip – a reddish vinegar concoction which I understand is neither an eastern nor Lexington style dip – helped but the texture a bit was still a bit dry nonetheless.
At this point, I must mention that the portions here were huge. Both Mrs. Monk and I got a small plate while we ordered a kids meal for the Monk-ette. Well, as it turns out, the small plates (served in cardboard trays) were really large and the kids plates are average size. I can only imagine the size of the large plate and the giants who must eat them. It was a great value for the money, that’s for sure.
Each plate also comes with hush puppies, slaw, and fries. All were the definition of average, and none particularly stood out except maybe the hush puppies. Still, it was a lot of food for the money.
It would be an understatement to say that I expected more from Kyle Fletcher’s. I can’t see how this place was named the winner of the Barbecue Bracket by the Charlotte Observer panel of judges, unless those folks had a vastly different experience than I did. In fact, Speedy, I would gladly check this place out again with you just to see if this visit could have been an anomaly. That is, if you aren’t still holding a grudge.
(For another review of Kyle Fletcher’s, check out Big Wayner BBQ)