I find that more often than not, when someone recommends a restaurant to you the actual experience is a let down to the hype that the person has buried the place in. I can assure you that this is not one of those cases.
Long before I had been to Bub’s Bar-B-Q, I had already decided that I would never eat there. Having driven past it many times while heading north on route 116, I had slowly developed a preconceived notion of the place. It seemed to me, a seedy sort of place. The building is dark brown, and slightly run down in appearance. To the right of the building is an outdoor dining area, consisting of a collection of red, wooden, picnic tables. It looked dirty, and seemed like the kind of place one would expect to find the most stereotypical redneck-country-bumpkin imaginable. I now recognize these same qualities as character, after all barbeque food is supposed to be messy; it wouldn’t feel right eating ribs in a fancy dining room.
Bub’s is an experience that is familiar. When I was handed a paper plate and directed toward a bar of self-service items, I felt like I was outside at a family cookout. The restaurant is contained in a small one story building. A large portion of its space is occupied by the kitchen area, which to me explained the reason for the large outdoor dining area. The inside was exactly what I had expected from what I’d seen of the outside; minus a banjo player. Everything had that muted old look, not necessarily indicating filth, just wear and tear. All the tables inside were simple wooden bench setups or more picnic tables. Adorning the tables were the usual condiments, a roll of paper towels instead of napkins, and a plastic table cloth with a red and white checkered pattern. It looked like the sort you’d maybe bring on a summer picnic. The walls were easily the most distinctive feature of the building. Covered from head to toe with awards, good reviews, and mixed with the occasional sign for various brands of beer or pennant recognizing the accomplishments of Boston’s collection of sports teams.
One such Red Sox pennant, was illegibly signed by what one would assume to be a player. It made me wonder if the player had eaten here and signed it, or if it was brought here signed. I suppose that’s the point of having something like that on the wall. Despite this brief moment of intrigue, it was the awards which surprised me the most. I was genuinely caught unaware of Bub’s 25-year history. This place was advertising itself as a local gem, and as I was about to discover; it was not unfounded.
The menu at Bub’s provides a nice variety of barbeque foods. Divided into three sections you had the option of Dinners offering chicken, pork ribs, and steak; sandwiches of pulled-pork, beef brisket, and boneless chicken breast; limited seafood, relying mainly on shrimp but also containing catfish and the exotic gator tail. You could also get a burger or combine some items to form combo options. Any of these options entitles you to an extensive selection of unlimited sides from the hot and cold bar. These bars, located adjacent to the counter, contain some of the best fixings I’ve ever had; barbeque ranch beans, dirty rice, collard greens, orange glazed yams, hickory-smoked potatoes, dill-potato salad, and much more. The yams in particular were quite a delight for me, as someone who has refused yams at the previous 22 Thanksgivings, I think my mother would be quite proud to know that I had finally found a batch I was willing to eat (or offended by my dislike of her home cooking).
Since I was not dining alone, my cohorts and I decided to each get something different, thus expanding our knowledge of the menu for future reference. Our selections proved to be quite good, and with the addition of the sides from the bars, our meals were excellent. I had a pulled-pork sandwich; the others had between them a cheeseburger and T-bone steak. None of us were brave enough to take on the fried gator tail. However, I remain confident that we will meet again. Price wise, our meals were very reasonable.
For slightly less than seven dollars, I was able to make myself so disgustingly full that I didn’t have to eat for a day.
Bub’s Barbeque was a great meal, and a fun time. Unlimited serve yourself sides make it feel like you’re at a summer barbeque. The atmosphere is familiar and welcoming. It’s a place you can bring your family, and people do. While I was dining no less than three families, each with multiple children, sat themselves at nearby tables. Their kids enjoyed a jukebox toward the back which offered plays at no charge. Being able to push as many buttons as you’d like, and having results every time; I’d imagine that for a child that would be a tidy slice of heaven.
Simply put, Bub’s Barbeque is one of the best choices for dining in the valley area. Anyone close enough to drive should consider making it a point to have a dinner there, as I know I’ll be making a point of dragging everyone I know to it as often as I can, you included, if you’ve not gotten there before I find you.