“By cutting costs of operation, our long tradition of serving great eastern North Carolina barbecue and good food will be resumed quickly,” he says, adding, “I hope all our loyal customers will return when our doors are open again.”
Robert Moss on the reader-voted South’s 10 Best Barbecue Joints; Southern Soul BBQ in St. Simon’s Island in Georgia again takes the top spot
Name: Kyle Fletcher’s Barbeque and Catering Date: 3/30/18 Address: 4507 Wilkinson Blvd, Gastonia, NC 28056 Order: Large chopped sandwich with hush puppies and a sweet tea (link to menu) Price: $8.41
Monk: In the nearly 4 years since Mrs. Monk surprised me with a Father’s Day mini-barbecue tour of Gastonia, I’ve been wanting to revisit Kyle Fletcher’s Barbecue & Catering to see if I caught them on an off day. Spoiler alert: I didn’t.
Re-reading my review from 2014 gave me a sense of deja vu. Smokers going full blast as I pull into the parking lot? Check. Smokey but dry pork? Check. Hush puppies being slightly above average? Check. Nauseating Carolina decor? Check and check.
The only difference this time was that opted for a large chopped sandwich instead of a tray since I would be taking my order to go and eating in the car on the way back to Charlotte. The slaw that came on this sandwich had an orange-ish tinge to it where I suspect that it may have been a thousand island dressing slaw. In fact, it reminded me of the slaw from R.O.’s Bar-B-Que, which is currently dead last in our Charlotte big board. Must be a Gastonia thing. Oddly, even with this slaw and some sauce, the sandwich was still inexplicably quite dry.
The hush puppies were again the best part of the meal, as they were on that day 4+ years ago.
Kyle Fletcher’s Barbecue & Catering is fine. And the locals certainly seem to love it as it’s packed the crowds both times I have been, both on a Saturday during lunch as well as a Friday for a later lunch. I can’t fault them for their seeming success with the local crowd, but I just wouldn’t necessarily suggest going out of your way for it.
Name: Kyle Fletcher’s Barbecue & Catering Date: 6/14/14 Address: 4507 Wilkinson Blvd, Gastonia, NC 28056 Order: Small barbecue plate with hush puppies, slaw, baked beans, fries, and sweet tea (link to menu) Price: ~$8
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 barbecue tour of 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.