What we had:
I had the pulled pork & brisket combo with collard greens and corn on the cob--The pork was juicy, melty, smoky, and everything you want in pulled pork--it had a great taste even on it's own with no sauce, but was made even better with the liberal addition of hot vinegar and lava sauces. The brisket was some of the most tender brisket I've ever had the pleasure of eating--thin ribbons of well-seasoned beef with a deep, satisfying smokiness that all but fell apart on my fork. The collards were awesome, too--smoky from the addition of bacon and sweet from onion and actually cooked properly. Most people, especially throughout the South, tend to cook collards to within an inch of their lives. Collards are best when they have just a bit of deep green resistance--not when they're a swamp green slimy mess, and definitely not cooked long enough to become noxious. The corn was decent--I like mine fried on a flat top, and this was simply boiled with a bit of spice rub sprinkled on top--not bad, just a matter of personal preference. I also missed a thick slab if Texas toast for sopping up the juices. And I had a lot of juices to sop. Again, a personal preference quibble; not an actual restaurant shortcoming.
****apparently I was too much in hog heaven to remember to take a picture of his dish. Either that, or he was guarding it. :) ****
My DH had the pulled pork with mac & cheese and waffle fries. I think his eyes might have rolled in the back of his head at one point during the eating if the pig. I'm not sure, though; I was too busy saucing every bite to get it just right before shoveling mouthfuls of the soul-satisfying porcine pleasure in my
mouth. He said the mac & cheese was good as well and the fries were fresh and possibly home made.
We also split an order of hush puppies, which were a little slice of home--moister than average, with a great dense tooth and deep sweetness. Served with ranch rather than butter & Texas Pete (also great with the lava sauce).
Home made sauces include: Hoisin (hints of lemongrass and ginger), Ranch (on the bland side buttermilk), House BBQ (smoky and sweet), Mustard Vinaigrette (with apple cider vinegar and whole-seed mustard), Semi-spicy Red, Hot Vinegar (white vinegar with pickled hot veg), and Lava (spicy with a hit of Key lime). All were good, but the lava and vinegar were our favorites, followed by the house BBQ. Now if I only had that Texas toast...
How could this place not be awesome? It's Mario!
Rustic with cool birdhouses on the wall and boards advertising specials and a selection of microbrews.
We visited on an early Saturday evening, and were treated to very friendly personal touch service that left us feeling like family from both of the people working the front of the house--one of the Sparky's the place is named for and a woman that was if not related to, at least very at ease with, the owner. Other dinner spots take note: this is the type of friendly service that wins you long-time return customers. Genuine interest in customers shows, as does enthusiasm for what you are offering. If you love your food, we (as diners) can tell and it always bodes well for our overall dining satisfaction.
Must. Go. Back. The BBQ isn't quite like home, but if you slather it in vinegar and lava sauces, it's close enough to cure homesickness ( or bring it on, depending on the day and the mood). This is by far the best BBQ style pig we've had outside of NC, and the down-home service just puts Sparky's over the edge. We will be coming back, and often.
4 out of 5 salamanders
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