Barbecue holds a special place in the hearts of cities all over the country. And yes, each city thinks of theirs as “the best.”. There is Kansas City BBQ, Memphis BBQ, Texas BBQ, etc., etc. Of course, South Carolina has its style of barbecue with its mustard-based sauce as well. Fortunately for those that live in Charleston, we are lucky enough to have a couple of styles come to us, including Lewis Texas BBQ, The most recent entry into the market is Martin’s Tennessee Whole Hog BBQ. Now we have Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog Barbecue, and he is South Carolina royalty and James Beard Award winner, so I do not wish to be disrespectful, but I had to give these guys a try.
Located on James Island, these folks totally transformed the old Heart Cafe/Sermets Southern into a classic BBQ joint. The outdoor bar/table area is huge with lots of seating to catch a game on one of several TVs. They also have another outdoor space in the front yard. There you will find corn hole games to keep your kids, or your date occupied. Of course, there is an air-conditioned indoor dining room as well, which is perfect when the bugs are bad or just too damn hot outside.
Welcome to Martin’s BBQ
To get into the joint, you come through a repurposed cargo container before you get into the restaurant. Once through the container, you come to another door that leads you into the building. More than likely, there will be a line, and they want you to keep that door closed until there is room for you and your party to come to the counter to order. And it is here that I get annoyed. There is a single cashier that also gets your soft drink or beer as well as take your order. Just ONE cashier. There is a second cash register on the opposite counter, but that is for to-go orders only (at least when I have been there).
I must say I do not understand nor enjoy “the stand in line to place your order at a cashier” concept that is most BBQ joints. They bring your food to you why can’t they take your order at the table as well. What if I want another beverage or more beans? It is a colossal waste of my time waiting for the one cashier, and I wish they would change that. But that is my one and only complaint. You then take your drink and your number to your table and wait for a server to bring it to you.
The food is outstanding. Honestly, I have tried almost everything on the menu in my visits. The ribs were the best I’ve had in ages, and I have to order them every time. The dry rub chicken wings are killer. Even the french fries and baked beans are excellent. You may ask, how can I have tried almost everything on the menu if I always order the ribs? I am fortunate enough to have a family that shares, and I would not have it any other way.
At any rate, I will continue to return because the food is that great. I will remain annoyed as I stand in line to wait for the one cashier because there will always be a line. It is just that good.
If you have not been to Martin’s, you have to give them a try. I so want them to succeed because James Island needs them.
They are located at 1622 Highland Ave. on James Island just off of Folly Rd. ** Phone is 843.790.0838 ** Hours 11 am – 9 pm Sun-Weds. and 11 am – 10 pm Thurs- Sat.