Charlotte Barbecue News from the Second Quarter of 2020

Monk: Despite the generally bad outlook for restaurants, there was mostly positive news for our top ranked Charlotte barbecue restaurants. Noble Smoke and Sweet Lew’s both reopened with reduced capacity and social distancing measures in place and of course there is Jon G’s Barbecue which finally opened its long-awaited doors in Peachland.

Things were not so great for Queen City Q, which when we started the blog in 2012 was our second favorite barbecue restaurant in Charlotte at the time behind Midwood Smokehouse. And things seemed to be going pretty well in the mid-2010’s, with expansion to locations in Ballantyne, Matthews, and Concord. However, those quietly closed in recent years and the original location in Uptown Charlotte was apparently hanging on by a thread before it was forced to close as a result of the state’s pandemic response. It briefly opened in May as part of North Carolina’s phase 2 but then the final nail in the coffin came when it was forced to close again due to the threat of protests.

If I’m honest, Queen City Q had fallen off quite a bit from when it first opened. Our last visits were my solo trip to the Concord store in 2016 in which a poor experience prompted a re-review of the 6th Street location by Speedy and me a few weeks later. We left that visit disheartened and convinced that the drop in quality wasn’t an isolated incident. Neither of us had not been back since, and now they have shuttered their remaining location.

RIP Queen City Q (2012-2020)

April

4/7 Hillbilly’s Barbeque & Steaks in Lowell is moving to a new building on South Main Street

4/14 Jon G’s Barbecue updates their website ahead of their forthcoming brick and mortar in Peachland

4/20 Noble Smoke begins delivery service in Charlotte

4/30 Sweet Lew’s BBQ, which had been closed but serving their smoked meats out of Dish (also owned by Lewis Donald), announces they are reopening their store for to-go orders on May 7

May

5/1 Jon G’s Barbecue announces they are officially permitted for their upcoming restaurant

5/7 Sweet Lew’s BBQ reopens

5/20 A limited edition Sweet Lew’s BBQ shirt became available and supported two local small businesses with each purchase

5/21 Bill Spoon’s BBQ decides to remain curbside only even as restaurants are allowed to open with reduced capacity in phase 2

5/22 Noble Smoke reopens with extended safety precautions

June

6/4 Queen City Q announced that they are closing their uptown location, which was the last remaining location of their Charlotte locations after numbering as many as 4 in recent years.

6/8 Jon G’s Barbecue announces their soft opening dates starting June 19

6/19 Jon G’s Barbecue officially opens

6/27 Sweet Lew’s BBQ smoked enough pork for 175 plates for the Charlotte Community Kitchen

Linkdown: 4/22/20

Congrats to Midwood Smokehouse on their Charlotte Magazine Best of the Best Voter’s Choice Award for “Best BBQ”; Sweet Lew’s BBQ was the runner up

Another mail order barbecue list, from Robert Moss in Southern Living

Congrats to AmazingRibs.com on turning 15

Noble Smoke is now delivering in Charlotte

The folks behind Hubba Hubba Smokehouse opened up a “neighborhood bar and grill” called Campfire Grill that has Hubba Hubba barbecue on the takeout menu and plenty of live fire cooking

Evan LeRoy of LeRoy and Lewis argues that “barbecue is the perfect pandemic food” because you can “[o]rder extra and cook it all week.”

Peg Leg Porker reopens on May 1 for curbside to go and delivery

Happy belated birthday to Tootsie!

Charlotte Barbecue News from the First Quarter of 2020

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.

January

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

February

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

March

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

3/5 Mac’s Speed Shop parent company Mac’s Hospitality Group names former Del Frisco’s Head of Operations George Shang Skipper as its new president; his main charge will be to grow the eight-restaurant Mac’s Speed Shop concept

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…

How to Order Takeout from Our Favorite Charlotte Barbecue Restaurants during Stay at Home

Monk: As of Thursday at 8am, Mecklenburg County is enforcing a Stay at Home order effective until at least April 16. Thankfully, residents are still allowed to go to a restaurant “for take-out, delivery or drive-thru.” As hard as restaurants have already been hit, this will be even more of a blow for those that are trying to stay open through these weird times.

Thusly, if we are able, we should do all we can to support our local barbecue restaurants if we want them to still be around after the Covid-19 pandemic. Here’s a list of our five favorite Charlotte options based on our Charlotte Big Board.

Please note: As everything is pretty much a fluid situation these days, please call ahead or check on social media to ensure that the restaurant is open and serving.

1. Jon G’s Barbecue
March 28th is sold out but stay tuned to their Facebook page for future events
Link to Facebook page

2. Noble Smoke
Monday to Sunday, 10:30am to 8pm
Link to order online

3. Sweet Lew’s Barbecue (available curbside at Dish until Sweet Lew’s reopens on 5/7)
Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 8pm
Call ahead to order: (704) 344-0343 (delivery also available)⁠⠀

4. Midwood Smokehouse (Central Ave, Park Road, and Ballantyne locations only)
Monday to Sunday, 11:00am to 8:00pm
Link to order online

5. Bill Spoon’s Barbecue
Monday to Wednesday, 10:30am to 3pm; Thursday to Saturday, 10:30am to 8pm
Call ahead to order: (704) 525-8865