A friend of mine recommended Melvins. Well, “recommended” is probably not strong enough. “Raved about” is more like it. And given that they have no website, no Facebook page, and no sign, chances are good that this is how most of their customers are finding out about them. Located across the street from a small cemetery in an old red building, the indication you are in the right place is the black smoker parked in front. They are a cash only spot, so with a little preplanning, the Lady A and I stopped in for lunch one day.
We arrived a little after 11 and discovered that we had outpaced the food–the only thing ready was the pork. We had our choice of a pork plate or a pork sandwich and both opted for the pork plate. Given the choice to sit indoors or out, we opted to sit at the long tables outside to soak up the pretty fall day. Still, I was glad to to know there was indoor seating for the rainier days to come. The gentleman who took our order busied himself setting up a fan and taking our drink requests (canned soda or bottled water) before disappearing inside to prepare our food. I was mildly surprised that ordering was so straightforward–no selecting your sides or bread–and was curious to see what would appear.
Sitting outside meant we were collocated with the smoker. I found the wiffs of smoke nostalgic–they reminded me of campfires from my Girl Scout days–but if you are sensitive, sitting inside might be a better bet. Outside, we sat in cushioned chairs at plastic tables. Paper towel dispensers were within easy reach. A radio played in the background. Our drinks came out immediately and were shortly joined by our food.
Despite having stated that we would eat there, our meals appeared in foam containers, bagged for easy carrying. As I accepted my meal, I was struck by how heavy the box was. Inside, a foil packet containing the bread rested on a layer of foil. Removing this middle layer revealed potato salad, baked beans, and a second foil packet containing the pork.
The pork was incredibly moist; I could see liquid at the bottom of the foil packet and if I pressed it between my tongue and the roof of my mouth I could feel the juices seeping out. The flavor was meaty and rich and it was served with a touch of a vinegar based sauce on top (the orangey-red sauce visible in the picture above, in the center of the pork) and a small container of additional sauce on the side. A bottle at the table held a thin bbq sauce which was slightly spicy, sweet, and totally delicious.
The beans were the only let down of the meal. They weren’t terrible, but they weren’t great, they were simply canned Van Camp’s beans. The potato salad, on the other hand, was homemade with a thick sauce and a rich yellow color. Small bits of relish added sweetness and it was one of those oh-so-good dishes where you “just one more bite” yourself into accidentally overeating.
The bread was a soft white bread with the pillowy texture and visible grains that you don’t find on a grocery store aisle. I generally see white bread served with barbecue as a cop-out, something added solely to check the carb box. This bread however was worth eating for it’s own sake, nothing else needed.
After eating, we located the gentleman holding down the fort (whom I presume was Melvin) and paid for our lunches. Both Lady A and I enjoyed our meals, especially the pulled pork. This is one of those places that not only will I be back to, but I will be busy spreading the gospel about. Plan to arrive for a slightly later lunch (our 11ish arrival was a little too early), pack cash, and settle in for a delicious meal!
Total for the meal: $10 (flat fee included pulled pork, two sides, bread, and a beverage of choice)