Sacrificial Art and Sins in the Cathedral of Pork
We are in the "Olde Business District" of East Montague Avenue, North Charleston, SC. This is the center of creation for what became the City of North Charleston. The artwork is painted on sheets of plywood in an accordion pattern. It seems to have been done as an artistic exercise and assuredly with permission. We wondered if it had been offered as something of a sacraficial anode in hopes of forstalling grafitti vandals from spoiling the renovated storefronts along this avenue. Someone has already scralled some chicken scratch on the painting so maybe it's working toward that end. It's the very first thing which greets one on entering the district.
Unseen, but very much alive are several new business ventures which have taken over abandoned commercial spaces joining old favorites in the section of East Montague from Spruill to Virginia Avenues. There is a very enjoyable Irish pub just above Johnny's hamburger joint which is a long time favorite of long term locals. The Idle Hour is a great place for a grilled cheese and gossip. Evo's pizza restaurant has lots of interesting dishes and is the favorite of the thirtyish professional crowd. Across the street is an ice cream parlor occupying a portion of what once was Port City Drugs. These are all enjoyable places among which we can only report one dud: the BBQ restaurant which we will neither name nor revisit. We didn't think it merited a photo, but we couldn't let it pass unchallenged. It is seriously lacking in proper BBQ ambiance, the service was indifferent, but worst of all the food was dull. The pork was without flavor and the side dishes seemed a bit below a Swanson's frozen meal.
BBQ spots along our back road travels are prized finds. We've been to more than we can immediately recall. To be certain BBQ is many things to many people. Each place seems to have a slightly different tilt on the meat and sauce. All have been enjoyable each in their own way, but this one on East Montague was our first experience in flavor free BBQ and side dishes. A BBQ enterprise is often a family business or at least it's undertaken with pride, determination and hospitality. Some are humble and some are grand presentations of this classic Southern specialty, but indifference is something we are not used to seeing. We feel that whoever runs the place should remove all references to Barbecue from the building. They could easily rename everything they sell using any description they wished and still make a go of it. After all, the dining public has come to expect to pay more for less wherever they eat, but in the South, Cathedral of Pork, barbecue is something of a religion in which passing off tasteless food is considered a sin.