Review: Riverside BBQ and Drive Thru

There’s one thing that, to me, says “West Side” more than Elder football, Hudy Delight, and the half-hour drive it takes to get anywhere over there: drive throughs.

Excuse me, drive thru.

I remember my dad going through the drive thru on Delhi Pike to pick up soda (he wasn’t a beer drinker), though they are also known as “pony kegs” (a term that befuddled The Better Half, much like the term “mango” as applied to a green pepper).  There are a ton of them in the neighborhood I grew up in, and throughout the west side.  I can only think of one drive thru on the East side– the one by Kroger in Hyde Park.  I may be missing them: are there more and I just don’t know about them?

Anyway, drive thrus, for the unintiated, carry beer, ice, soda, cheap wine– stuff you need for a party, generally, but don’t want to get out of your car to get. Riverside BBQ and Drive Thru is  unique, however, as it also provides barbecue.  I didn’t think a whole lot of it until my mom suggested I try it.  “It would be a good blog post!  You never write about stuff on the west side.”

Mom, for the record, only reads the blog through the print edition of Metromix.  Hi, Mom.

I’ve actually been twice over the past few months, both on the way back home from her house.  She suggested a baked potato with pulled pork, but I wanted to try something else on the menu as well.  I settled on ribs.   I didn’t drive through– I didn’t realize you could order the barbecue there as well– so I stopped in.  You can, indeed, drive through and get barbecue and they’ll bring it out to your car.

Service was friendly and quick– barbecue is usually quick, so that met my expectations.  You have to ask for sauce if you get a baked potato (fair warning), but the meal was a total of $15: a half-slab of ribs, baked beans, slaw, and a topped baked potato.

DSC_0192The baked potato was a huge disappointment:  they forgot the pulled pork I ordered on top.  The potato itself was good (and huge), topped with the standard “loaded” toppings: butter, cheese, green onions, sour cream, bacon.  The potato was fluffy and the skin was a little crisp, which made it a rather nice baked potato, but I really wanted the pork. I went back a few weeks later and got one with pulled pork (not pictured).  The pulled pork made a bit of a difference: it was moist, but not as smoky as I’d like.  Still, pretty good, but I could easily split a potato with Terry.  They’re that big.

DSC_0195

The ribs were next on my list.  Terry and I nibbled on them off and on, and came to a conclusion: they needed more time in the smoker.  The sauce they were coated in was nice: not too sweet, not too spicy, with a touch of vinegar, but the ribs themselves were a bit chewy and had little of the smoky crust I like on ribs.

The sides actually barely rate mentioning:  average beans and average slaw, as is true with many local barbecue joints.  I wish they’d put as much care into their sides as they did into their huge, new smoker.

The verdict?  The potatoes are good, particularly with the pulled pork, and it’s a unique enough presentation to make me want to go back. I’m sure the pulled pork is good (but not great) on its own, if potatoes aren’t your thing.  If they start smoking the ribs longer, they could be good.  If you venture down US 50 into Delhi and you want some quick food that is reasonably priced and isn’t from a chain– it’s a good pick.  Plus, you can pick up beer and soda to go with it, all without getting out of your car.  I’m sure I’ll stop in for a pulled pork potato when visiting my parents.

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