Monday, January 10, 2011

R. O.'s Barbeque




April: We owe the good people at R. O.'s a big apology. It has been over a year since we visited their lovely establishment in Gastonia, NC and we are just now getting around to posting our review. For a variety of reasons (fire at Winthrop University, finishing graduate degree, life, etc.) we got a little too busy over the past year to keep up with our BBQ restaurant reviews. While we ate plenty of delicious pork over the past twelve months and tried at least three new restaurants, we just never got around to adding it to the blog. Thanks to the first major snowstorm of 2011, we now have plenty of time to catch up!

All of that being said, let me get on with my reflections on our trip up Highway 274 to R. O.'s Barbeque almost one year to the day. It was a cold and rainy evening but this did not hamper our quest to visit this legendary restaurant. It came as a recommendation from our friend and former Jeopardy champion, Leland Graham. He and his lovely fiance, Emily, were our dining companions that night. The restaurant building is not much to speak of and we almost drove right past it. It has the look of an old 50's drive-up restaurant, minus the parking lot lights, girls on skates, and American Grafitti soundtrack. Once inside we were greeted warmly by a young staff that gave good recommendations regarding the menu items and we ordered accordingly.

R.O.'s is arguably not really BBQ, meaning that the pork is slow roasted, not smoked. It is one thing...pretty darn good. R. O's is well known for its sauce. This is also arguably not sauce rather a mixture of finely chopped coleslaw and sauce. Again, it is very good. I enjoyed a large sliced sandwich, a side of corn nuggets, and a grilled pimento cheese sandwich. The pork was very tender but all of the flavor came from the sauce. It seems to be a tomato based sauce with a little hint of spice and then the chopped cabbage. Delicious and messy.

The corn nuggets, for those less familiar with our love of frying all things vegetable related, are a mixture of cooked kernel corn and cream corn that is then battered and fried. The result is a sweet/salty nugget of corn goodness. I love these little things and enjoy ordering them whenever found on a menu.

The grilled pimento cheese was also outstanding. White sandwich bread grilled with homemade pimento cheese salad tucked inside. This is also one of my favorite southern dishes and this sandwich did not disappoint. One last word about the R.O.'s dining experience...you must complete your food order with a large Cherry Lemon Sun Drop. This drink is not widely available outside of the deep south and is all that the name promises. To balance the savory and salty meal that is BBQ and fried corn nuggets, the make-your-teeth-hurt sweetness of the Cherry Lemon Sun Drop is just the right thing.

We managed to roll our full tummies out the door a few hours later with a to-go cup of the delicious fountain drink in hand and find our way home to Rock Hill in the dark. A good dinner and good night out with friends.


R. O.'s Barbeque, 1318 Gaston Avenue
Gastonia, NC 28052 (704) 866-8143
Distance from home: 29.02 miles

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