The scene: I made my way to Uncle Wendell’s on a chilly Saturday evening and waited for what seemed like five hours for my dining partner to arrive. Really, it was just five minutes, but the mouth-watering smell of barbecue from inside the alley-shaped restaurant made me so ravenous, I was tempted to order before he got there.
Tables line the west side of the no-frills spot, and flames painted on the walls remind you that you’re there for the good food, not the posh ambiance. While we ate, a few people stopped by for take-out, and a group of guys and a young family dined in.
The menu: The tough part was deciding what to order, because everything sounded great. There aren’t many choices — just a few sandwiches, chili, creole, jambalaya and ribs — a bold statement that implies few (if any) misses on the menu. For those that like to customize, there are plenty of sides: baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, and that day, roasted potatoes, plus carrots cooked in cream soda. A staffer recommended the Ingersoll sandwich ($6.49), a pulled pork sandwich topped with fire and ice (a Southern salad made with cucumbers, onions and a vinaigrette). She also mentioned the ribs were extra good that day.
What we ordered: I tried the pulled chicken sandwich ($5.99) and smothered it with a mix of “shocker” (hot) and “tweener” (medium) barbecue sauces. The meat was seasoned with a delicious rub and sandwiched between tender, thick, white bread. My baked beans and macaroni and cheese sides ($2.50 for both) satisfied, especially the sweet, smoky baked beans decked with hearty chunks of brisket.
If you order a sandwich with at least one side, you can get a Millstream keg soda for 75 cents. I tried the cream soda, and my dining partner had the orange cream soda, which he said tasted like an orange Creamsicle.
He devoured his pulled pork sandwich ($6.49) and raved about the hot pepper cornbread. Our server gave us each a complimentary cupcake, since they’re trying to get the word out that Uncle Wendell’s sells baked goods, too.
The verdict: It’s hard to believe this was only my second visit to Uncle Wendell’s. We’ll make a point to come back often.
Uncle Wendell’s BBQ, Catering and Bakery
Find it: 2716 Ingersoll Ave.
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
Info: 288-3207, unclewendells.com
Pulled chicken sandwich ... $5.99
Macaroni and cheese, baked beans ... $2.50
Two Millstream sodas ... $1.50
Pulled pork sandwich ... $6.49
Hot pepper cornbread, baked beans ... $2.50
Total, with tax: $20.12