Bites Nearby: Bringing Southern Barbecue North
Between a gasoline station and a trucking company, you can find Beale Street Smokehouse.
If you aren't looking for Beale Street Smokehouse BBQ, you may miss it. This award-winning barbecue establishment adjoins Smitty's Exit 80, a Sunoco gas station at 2461 North Rd., just off Exit 80 of U.S. 23.
Don't let Beale Street's neighbor fool you into believing this isn't a place worth visiting.
Entrees: I have visited Beale Street for lunch and dinner and had very different experiences with each meal.
When I was there for dinner, I had the pulled pork sandwich, which was reminiscent of homemade pulled pork with no hint of having been frozen — as can often be the case when ordering this entree. That was also the first time I'd tasted sweet potato french fries, which quickly became a favorite.
Based on that experience, I was excited to embark on a barbecue lunch adventure. Rather than try to narrow the menu choices to just one, I opted to try the Traditional Sampler and taste a bit of everything. The sampler featured chicken, a small rack of St. Louis ribs, sliced beef brisket and two side dishes; I chose coleslaw and the delicious sweet potato fries, dusted with cinnamon and sugar. I was offered two choices of barbecue sauce and chose the house sauce, but I was surprised that the sampler platter included only one type of sauce.
At first, the quantity of food did not seem to reflect the $20 spent, but it easily fed three people. The portion size of the coleslaw was underwhelming, though, as it was served in the same size container as the barbecue sauce.
My lunch experience at Beale Street was slightly less impressive than my earlier dinner visit. It would be my guess that the chicken and ribs were left over from the night before or had been sitting long enough to dry out. The menu states that meats are seasoned with a dry rub and prepared over hardwoods, but I found the flavor to rest in the use of the barbecue sauce. The brisket was the star of the sampler for me and will be my main entree choice at my next visit. It was nicely cooked and probably the most flavorful of the meats.
Sides: The house barbecue sauce was pretty standard, but it left me wondering what a different type of sauce would have brought to the table. My meal was served with a piece of cornbread, which had a wonderful cakelike texture and left me wanting more. Although lunch didn't quite live up to my dinner experience, I would not let that stop me from visiting again.
The menu offers many barbecue selections I look forward to trying: the French Dip (made with smoked brisket), the Memphis cheesesteak, BBQ nachos and Fuji roasted apples, to name a few.
Atmosphere: The Beale Street menu is a unique option for an evening of dining out in Fenton, and the décor inside adds to the Memphis barbecue experience. Checkered patterns adorn the tablecloths, and the red walls are sprinkled with blues memorabilia. Unusual menu items with a Southern flair include macaroni-and-cheese wedges, fried green beans, jambalaya and catfish sandwiches. A full bar is available and features Michigan craft beer. Live blues entertainment on Saturdays starts at 7 p.m.
Service: Catering and takeout are available. The takeout menu offers four variations of Pig Up and Go combo meals, which can feed four to 10 people. Prices vary with each combo, but most average a cost of around $11 per person. Combo meal choices consist of pulled pork or chicken, ribs and side dish selections of coleslaw, potato salad and baked beans. Takeout may be ordered by stopping in or calling 810-750-0507 .
Prices are moderate and range from $8 to $30. Lunch specials are served from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for around $10, and family-style meals (served in-house only) range from $31 to $75. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.
More information: bealestreetsmokehouse.webs.com