One motto on City Barbecue’s website really embodies what this business is all about: “Other restaurants serve barbecue, we’re a barbecue restaurant.”
Since its inception in 1999, this Dublin-based chain of 20 restaurants has exploded all over the state and into neighboring Indiana. City Barbecue really goes for a classic community smokehouse feel; exposed skeletal walls filled with paraphernalia of local high school sports, dominated by an oversized counter where the line of hungry customers watch as red meat is slathered with sweet Midwestern Barbecue sauce. It’s a shame that few barbecue chains tend to do well, but City Barbecue seems to be bucking the trend, and deservedly so.
The barbecue itself is downright sumptuous. The brisket is smoked to perfection, tender as can be, and it’s basically good however you eat it. The ribs are just as outstanding, they’re also smoked and cooked over a longer period, in the process developing a great crispy exterior “bark,” this is the kind of stuff that literally falling off the bone. It’s what barbecue is made of, it really is. Barbecued pork isn’t all this place does well; the chicken is great too; it’s smoked and juicy, and the skin crispy. All of the meats are tied together with two delicious sauces, one a sweet option and the other tangy and a little spicy. It’s an outstanding sauce, both options complement the smokiness of the meat extremely well.
The side dishes are also great. There are homemade vegetables like green beans and corn. There are crispy hush puppies and creamy mac and cheese. The side list is short, but every item is outstanding. You’ll really want to give all of them a try. It’s all got that great small-restaurant feel; for a growing chain, this kind of food is fantastic. I really hope it keeps this level of quality as the place grows.
All told, City Barbecue makes an amazing place to grab some smoked meats. All of the food is truly outstanding and the prices are pretty reasonable, and even on the lower end for a barbecue joint. While I do wish the interior were a little more spacious, and the dessert menu a little more extensive, I really do hope City Barbecue stays successful and continues to grow. These are the kinds of up-and-coming restaurants I can really get behind.
- City Barbecue has accommodations to eat-in like any barbecue joint, but it’s got an unusual pickup option and also caters. The food here keeps pretty well in delivery, so I would consider it a good option, particularly as parking is sometimes crowded and the interior feels a little cramped.
- Desserts are scant on the menu, but usually City Barbecue will set up next to a nice local dessert place.
- There are occasionally specials (“Every Tuesday is bone rib Tuesday!” and ribs are sold at a discounted price by the bone) as well as rewards cards to take advantage of if you’re out to be a regular.