2249 Central Ave.
Team Oster has been frequenting Central BBQ lately, due in part to the proliferation of their cups that we have in our house. (Central BBQ has been generously donating reusable cups to Rock-n-Romp since last year.) I drink iced coffee out of one every morning, and the subliminal marketing is working! Not to mention the fact that my co-workers have been ordering in CBBQ at least once a week since the new year began.
After the last Rock-n-Romp, it was cold and dark and raining, but we had to have some BBQ! It is not unusual to see a line of people spilling out the door and around the building at Central BBQ. Depending on our hunger level this can be a deterrent (even though they are quite speedy). Thankfully the rain had kept the major rush away and we were able to walk right in and order.
Normally I will get the BBQ nachos, because that's how I roll, but in an attempt to not be a total glutton, I ordered the Chef Salad with BBQ like my co-workers had been doing. It comes in a pretty red sundried tomato and basil tortilla salad bowl and is topped with shredded colby jack cheese, tomatoes, and pepperoncini peppers.
Warren told me he wanted a pork plate with greens and beans. Satchel was given a his choice from the kids' menu which includes Grilled Cheese, Hot Dog, Jr. BBQ, Chicken, and Mac N' Cheese. (It comes with one side and a drink. All for $4.25.) He opted for a Jr. BBQ. (That's my boy!) They offer a pretty good selection of sides, including greens and green beans, but Satchel knows that they also serve French fries. Of course he wanted French fries. I didn't deny him, because I planned to snatch a few.
Jiro was not given his choice of kid items. Why? Because he chose a hot dog last time, which I considered a total waste. However, on our last visit he also ate a couple of wings from the six piece chicken wing appetizer Satchel ordered, so I simply told him he was getting chicken wings. "And fries!" he said. The wings are more expensive--$7.99--and don't come with a side or a drink, but they do come naked and my kids love them so that's enough justification for me. (And of course, I get to eat one or two since neither of my kids can eat six.) Hey CBBQ--how about adding wings to the kids menu? (Note to self: I bet if I asked real nice they'd probably offer 2-3 as a substitute.)
Once I had everyone's order memorized, I sent Warren and the boys to secure a table. When the guy asked what kind of dressing I wanted with my salad, I said, "Nacho cheese!" Feeling embarrassed, I said, "Light Ranch?" When he told me they didn't have any light dressings I should have gone back to the nacho cheese plea, but instead I said, "Bleu Cheese." (Only now that I am reviewing their website for accuracy do I see that they have a House Dressing which is a blend of Caesar and Hot Spice. That sounds good should I resist the siren song of nacho cheese on my next visit.)
While I was waiting for the guy to run my card (our total was $32), a man next to me came in to get a "to go" order. Turns out it was an old high school friend I hadn't seen since, uh, high school? In true Memphis fashion, he lives just a few blocks away, has kids near the ages of my kids, etc.
Once we were done chatting, I went to the table to set my purse down and to see what everyone wanted to drink. Jiro offered to come with me--he loves a self-serve soda fountain. Satchel wanted water, so Jiro got the drink that came with his kid's meal. As we walked to the soda fountain, I noticed a few other tables with kids. At 7:00pm on a Saturday there were mostly singletons and hipsters, but the families fit right in. I was especially impressed by two little girls happily eating some mac & cheese. (My kids have had a taste of the fake stuff and don't appreciate the real stuff.)
By the time Jiro and I got all the drinks, the forks, and the BBQ sauces, our food was ready. Warren moaned that I got him the wrong thing. His use of the term "plate" signifies two sides in his mind. The real meaning of "plate" is that the BBQ comes on a plate, not a bun. Apparently we had this same exact misunderstanding on our last visit. I offered to get him a bun, but he waved me off and started eating.
I was glad that there was a nice buzz of conversation in the restaurant to mask the absolute silence--with intermittent chewing sounds--at our table. The fries disappeared first, of course, but I was happy to see Satchel eat his entire BBQ sammy. Warren also had no trouble making a happy plate. Jiro could only get through two wings, which was fine--all the more for us, as usual. My salad was great. I will definitely get it again. I liked the mixture of lettuce, BBQ, cheese, peppers, and BBQ sauce. Lots of different textures and flavors. I didn't use the Bleu Cheese until I got down to the edible salad bowl. (I'm definitely asking for nacho cheese next time!)
When all was said and done, we had a few wings left over and a roll, I think. We asked for a small "to go" box, which is NOT made of styrofoam, but is compostable thanks to CBBQ's commitment to the environment and Project Green Fork certification.
They say the fastest way to the heart is through the stomach. CBBQ has definitely won me over with their food, no question there, but it is their commitment to the environment and to homegrown events like Rock-n-Romp that has made me fall in love with them.
I forgot to take pictures, but most menu items are pictured here.