Mama Carol's teeth count: 4
Overalls count: 3
My latest rule for how to spot a good place for lunch is that if the restaurant is an actual house, it's gonna serve up some tasty food. The older the house, the cheaper the food. And if they offer curbside service, it's not because they don't want you to see their kitchen—it's just because they're nice. Hickory House Barbecue is a perfect example of such an establishment.
Hickory House Barbecue
600 S. Industrial Blvd.
Mama Carol, who's worked at Hickory House for something like 40 years (yes, really), greeted me before my car even came to a full stop. She walked me through the daily special and asked if I wanted my food in the car or in the restaurant. Although there were plenty of open picnic tables and stray dogs to hang out with in their parking lot, I opted to eat inside. And I'm so glad I did. The inside of this place has plenty of booths to cozy up to, and there's a lot more eavesdropping to be done. In the time I spent chowing down on my chopped beef sandwich and fried okra (both doused in barbecue sauce and totally tasty), I never once wished that the TV in the corner of the restaurant was on, because there was plenty of live entertainment to be had. My favorite comment came from the bejeweled and beepered (haven't seen a beeper in, like, 10 years, so that was kick-ass in itself) gentlemen behind me who were speaking pretty loudly about a friend of theirs who "already has two strikes against him." They seemed to be pretty worried about him, but what's the worst that can happen to a baseball player, right?
Next time, I think I might go with the four-meat special. You get four meats (including pork ribs, sausage, sliced beef and ham. Yeah, ham. And from what the people around me said, "It's tasty as shit."), two sides and a roll, all for way less than 10 bucks. If you're really daring, you'll go for one of the 3,000 plastic-wrapped Mrs. Baird's pecan pies they've got on the counter for dessert. Mmmmmm. Plastic.
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Next time you've got a hankerin' for some Texas BBQ, do yourself a favor: Skip the shit-fest at Arby's and try something from Hickory House Barbecue instead. You'll get a great lunch plus free barbecue cologne (which should last up to eight hours if you've got long hair).