Monk: Even before the effects of Covid-19 crippled the restaurant industry across the US, it was a pretty eventful first quarter in Charlotte barbecue with some good and some bad. Here’s a rundown of all the news and notable happenings from the first three months of the year.
1/3 Short-lived presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg stopped by Sweet Lew’s BBQ while campaigning in Charlotte
1/20 North State BBQ opened in a former Shane’s Rib Shack near Northlake Mall in north Charlotte
1/22 Jon G’s Barbecue officially announced they will be opening a brick and mortar location later this year
2/4 Peace N’ Hominy Q Shack in Belmont closes after 5+ years when the breast cancer of owner Christine Rienks returned after 12 years in remission
2/27 Jon G’s Barbecue officially announces the location of their forthcoming brick and mortar store in the old Barbee’s Barbecue in Peachland, 35 miles southeast of Charlotte
3/2 Dish, a Plaza-Midwood southern food diner purchased by Sweet Lew’s BBQ owner Lewis Donald in the fall of 2019, reopens with new sandwiches on the menu that includes turkey and pork belly smoked at the Belmont Beauty Myron Mixon smoker down the road at Sweet Lew’s
3/17 North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared that as of 5 p.m. March 17, restaurants must close the dining rooms, but will be able to offer takeout and delivery. All Charlotte restaurants (including barbecue) begin to either close or adjust to takeout or curbside pickup only, with no end in the foreseeable future…
Take our barbecue style: We’re close to Lexington, N.C., where “barbecue” means a pork shoulder, slowly cooked over wood coals, chopped and mixed with a vinegar-based sauce with a little tomato in it. The origins are probably German, from all the German immigrants who started in Pennsylvania and ended up here. But you’ll also find Eastern North Carolina style, which involves a whole pig and no tomato in the vinegar sauce. That’s descended from an old English style, and we like that too.
Or you can find newer, fancier barbecue that involves Texas brisket or Memphis ribs, and we embrace that because it tastes good. But if you invite someone over for “a barbecue” and serve them grilled hot dogs? They’ll be nice about it, but they won’t be happy. (See “pop,” above.)