Restaurant marketing involves generous portions of hyperbole. Still, it’s hard not to raise eyebrows at the website touting our town’s latest chain invader, R&R BBQ: “… the best barbecue you’ve ever struck in the lips. “
Like, drop the sauce, right?
Definitely an option – literally. More on that in a second.
So what should downtown shoppers do really do you expect R&R to open on Friday?
A pretty impressive signal. At least based on samples handed out at a private event earlier this week.
A fast growing Utah company, R&R does not do franchising. The location in downtown Boise – R&R 12th – is on the second floor of the Main + Marketplace building. Housed in the long-standing Shige Japanese Steakhouse at 150 N. 8th St., it’s a modern, open space. It’s also right next to another out-of-state newcomer: the Southern Fried Tupelo Honey, which replaced the area-owned Piper Pub & Grill.
As a nod to the community, R&R will donate 50% of all proceeds from its grand opening Friday and Saturday to Boise Bicycle Project, a non-profit organization. The R&R hours of operation are 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday. R&R also plans to serve exclusively Idaho beers and two Boise ciders. (And, okay, Coors Light.)
R&R planted its first Gem State stake last November at The Village at Meridian. Yelp’s reactions to this fast-paced, casual restaurant are mostly positive. A few reviewers complain about the dry meat. But that certainly wasn’t the case during Boise’s preview.
Rocky Mountain BBQ
This is not a Texan barbecue. Or Kansas City or Caroline. R&R is called Rocky Mountain-style. Apparently that means a bit of everything.
R & R’s barbecue is not shy. Meats have a solid kick. Not necessarily spicy – although the Andouille sausage can get cha – but boldly seasoned. The barbecue at the two Idaho restaurants is smoked with applewood, theoretically adding a distant sweetness. (Utah locations use white oak.)
The tables were set with four sauces: Original, Carolina, Sweet and Spicy. Dipping a delicious and chewy piece of chicken thigh in the Original made the smoked bird even better, adding balance. And pulled pork always appreciates a little sauce.
But, for the most part, you might want to take it easy with the sauces. Or even avoid them before you start squirting. Why soil mouthwatering, nearly perfect St. Louis-style ribs with an unnecessary slather? Or even certified Angus beef brisket, especially if you’re a purist?
The sides tasted good – fresh, like all R&R food. Coleslaw is coleslaw. Again, this is Idaho. Fortunately, R & R’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Gravy is no joke. Recommended. And if you want dessert, you can’t go wrong with the rich banana pudding that slides so fast.
Meats and more
R&R sells meat plate combos for $ 14.59 (one protein) to $ 16.79 (three proteins), which come on a platter with your choice of side and a puppy bun or hush. Looking at the wall menu behind the order counter, these combos seem like the obvious choice. This applies to both a sit-down or a take-out situation. (R&R also has in-house delivery drivers. And, yes, R&R takes care of it.)
But there’s also an array of salads, sandwiches, and other detours on the menu, from the smoked Caveman burger ($ 12.99 with a side) to BBQ nachos ($ 10.49, add $ 2 for the brisket). and Sweet Pulled Pork Tacos ($ 8.99, add $ 2 for brisket.) You can even get smoked and fried wings at different heat levels ($ 9.99 for six wings, $ 16.99 for a dozen ).
R&R likes to make noise about its founders, twin brothers raised in California who stood out in barbecue competitions before opening their first brick and mortar store in 2011 in Salt Lake City. The twins sold the majority of the business and announced their retirement in 2019. But growth plans for R&R were already brewing. Savory Fund, the investment force behind R&R BBQ, also powers Utah-based Mo ‘Bettahs Hawaiian Style Food. This brand opened a Meridian store in 2019.
In the end, it all comes down to the R&R BBQ product. “There’s nothing quick about our food,” says a sign on the wall of Boise Restaurant. “… As we like to say, ‘slowly smoked, quickly devoured.’ “
Licking his fingers, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Boise doesn’t eat this place.
This story was originally published October 8, 2021 4:00 a.m.