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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Tuesday Review: Slow's BBQ

The Reason
By Steve Siciliano

It has always been my opinion that an urban brew pub can be located in one of the seedier sections of a city and still be successful. Unless there exists a real and persistent danger of being mugged or coming back to a parked vehicle that has been stripped of its tires, and if the pub is consistently producing quality products, people will come. Slow’s Bar-B-Q, located in a section of Detroit that has been hit especially hard by urban blight, is concrete proof that the same can be true for restaurants.

Slow’s occupies a renovated corner building on Michigan Avenue about five blocks west of the massive vacant lot that once was the site of Tiger Stadium. Situated in the Corktown Neighborhood, the restaurant is within sight of the old Michigan Central train station, also massive, also vacant, but also slated for renovation by community minded entrepreneurs looking to revitalize this long decaying section of the city. During a recent weekend visit to Detroit, Barb and I along with friends Pat and Marcie MacAuley took the ten minute cab ride to Slow’s from the Motor City Hotel on a blistering hot Saturday morning.

Michigan Central Station
Slow’s has garnered national attention since it opened in 2005 and despite our arrival at the restaurant twenty minutes before its eleven a.m. opening, folks were already queued up outside on the sidewalk. When the doors opened we were seated at one of the sixteen inside tables (there is also patio seating which, because of the heat, we decided against). Our waitress quickly appeared and we each ordered a craft beer from among the twenty draught offerings listed on a chalkboard. There is also an extensive bottle list and a shorter but well thought out selection of wine by the bottle or glass.

While we sipped the beer we perused the menu which offers appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees, sides and desserts. We ordered two of the appetizers—the tempura fried catfish and the smoked barbecued wings—and also decided to share a side of macaroni and cheese with our sandwiches, The Reason (smoked, pulled pork butt topped with cole slaw and dill pickle slices) for Barb, Marcie and myself and The Triple Threat Pork (apple wood bacon, pulled pork and ham) for Pat. Slow’s serves its sandwiches on poppy seed Kaiser rolls or Texas Toast. The appetizers were good, the sandwiches even better, and the macaroni and cheese was a decadent, artery clogging treat.

The Mac & Cheese
Slow’s reputation as one of the best places in Michigan to get authentic Southern barbecue is well-deserved. The extensive craft beer offerings are added incentives to return to this restaurant that is helping breathe new life into an historic Detroit neighborhood.

Street view of Slow's BBQ

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