This 60-seat, BYOB barbecue restaurant caused lips to smack before it even officially opened, thanks to the presence of its portable smoker at the city's various summer street fairs. Honky Tonk's permanent location is a big step up from a hastily erected booth, but even with its forest green facade and giant sign, it can be easy to miss. Owner Willie Wagner put together a comfortable dining room that straddles the fence between quaint and Western kitsch: barn doors and shingles separate the dining room from the kitchen, which houses a very busy Southern Pride smoker. A separate dining room to the left seats the overflow when it isn't being rented out to theater troupes.
Honky Tonk BBQ serves up Memphis-style barbecue. All of the briskets and ribs are lightly seasoned, allowing the flavor of applewood to spice the meat. Instead of adding water to its meats, the restaurant wraps them in foil after a couple hours of smoke time, catching the steam from the meat and cooking it at the same time. Heart-healthy side dishes counter all the cholesterol, including an amazing salad of mixed greens, walnuts and blueberries.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Chuck Sudo