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Gus's BBQ, South Pasadena

Has anyone tried the new Gus's BBQ yet and what are your thoughts?

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  1. I'm curious too. There's an article about it on the LA Times website

    3 Replies
    1. re: RoxyGrl

      Went Friday night. Took an hour to be seated, it was packed!
      Good experience! It really seems like they opened when they
      were ready, things were running smoothly.

      Fried Chicken was great! So was the BBQ Chicken. The 4 sides
      we had were good too. Only complaint might be adding a side
      salad was $5. Seems kinda lame, considering the Mac&Cheese
      was $15 with no sides included...

      1. re: benoswald

        Mac & Cheese is $15? Is this some kind of ritzy establishment?

        1. re: Josh90004

          That does seem a little high but I think they are trying to position it as a main course and not a side dish, it has applewood bacon and three cheeses and such. The prices are not super-cheap, but they're probably the same as any other brand-new place with a full bar and good quality meats. I imagine you would spend less there than at Mike & Anne's or Briganti, but more than at Senor Fish.

    2. Someone would have to pay me to ever go back there. Is it a new owner, new chef, new decor, new everything so it won't remind me in *any* way of my unfortunate mistake in going there my first (and last) time? Shudder.

      Edited to add: I just read the article. I'm mollified by the idea that the new owners are from an excellent pedigree (Tops!!) and that they have completely redone the menu and plan on serving actual barbecue in their barbecue restaurant (excellent notion!).

        1. I walked by a few days before they were open and the interior looks really nice. Ample parking in the back; a local foodie recently blogged it.


          1 Reply
          1. re: B_hungry

            I walked in last week and saw a steak salad on the counter. It looked too good to be true. A mountian of perfect greens with a few string style oinion rings on top. Sliced steak was laying against the greens -- picture perfect. In fact, several people were taking pictires of it. I was hoping to get some ribs to-go but they were still not open yet. I was told the menu will include some fried chicken also. The ambiance of this place is also very nice.

          2. The place is run by a couple of sons associated with the family who owns/runs Tops on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. That right there is reason enough to give it a try - this is a family that knows food and also knows how to give people their money's worth. Sure, bbq is not what Tops does, but I don't think they would venture into something that they couldn't do very well. Besides, what I have heard about the late original Gus's, it couldn't be any worse than it used to be.

            1. I also read the latest L.A. Times article. I will be in S.Pasadena this weekend, I'll be the guinea pig. I'll let you know my thoughts.

              1. we went tonight - party of 7. we got there around 5:30pm, had a drink at the bar, then got seated at around 6:30. there was a short line of people waiting to sit down when we got there, it was packed by the time that we left (8pm).

                the new decorations are very tasteful. the wall in the back room/bar has been removed, though the bar still has a feeling of separateness. they now have quite a few southern oriented drinks (a hurricane, etc.) and you can have a mint julep with one of nine different upscale bourbons. (i limited myself to two of the wild turkey rare breed. wife liked the hurricane, daughters truly enjoyed the mojitos. sons stuck with beer.)

                we ordered wings and onion strings at the bar. both were tasty, onion strings were better. for dinner, the table had: pulled pork, brisket, baby back ribs, cobb salad, clam chowder, sweet potato fries, fries, mashed potatoes, and "southern" (collard) greens. of the above, would have all of them again with the following qualifications:
                (1) baby back ribs: not our style sauce, but very well cooked-the meat fell off the bone;
                (2) clam chowder: mixed opinion. i thought too salty, two others thought it was great.
                everything else was very good, and we would all order again. the orders are very large.

                the service from the contact people was very nice, attentive and friendly. damien the bartender fell right in with our group. took good care of us. michelle the waitress was fantastic. great sense of humor and sincere effort to make things right. even though the place was packed with busboys, etc., the back-up leaves a lot to be desired: they delivered us someone else's order when we first sat down; it took 30+ minutes to get a glass of water; they promised a "to go" box which did not appear, etc. overall, though, not bad service considering that tonight was their 3rd open day. we did not recognize any servers from the old gus's.

                we were told that tomorrow they will start opening for lunch, and they are trying to get permission from the city to close the parking lot on the weekend, set up a smoker, have a band, and have a hell of a sunday brunch! i hope that they pull it off.

                so we will definitely return. expect that the back-up service will improve over time. overall the food was very tasty, and there is lots more to try on the menu.

                check it out and report!

                2 Replies
                1. re: justanotherpenguin

                  I thought the brisket had a really nice flavor. I agree that the ribs were well cooked, but somehow didn't wow me anyway. How was the pulled pork? How were the greens? I advised them that al dente might not be the way to go for collard greens.
                  Service issues are certainly not surprising for the third night, it also seemed like the layout was a little awkward for all the staff trying to get up and down the aisle when it was crowded. They seem very eager to please, though, so hopefully will work out the kinks soon.
                  I'm going back for a mint julep for sure!

                  1. re: Chowpatty

                    the pulled pork was excellent - as was the brisket. we were concerned about the greens (wife is originally from georgia and pays serious attention to greens), but the waitress was very encouraging and offered to replace them immediately it they were not acceptable. they were delicious! a slight bit of a bite to them. wish they had some pepper juice to pour on top. yes - do the mint julep!

                2. We went there today for lunch. This was my first visit to Gus's so I can't compare it to the old place but the interior looks very nice. We were greeted by the hostess as well as other wait staff when we arrived and our waiter was attentive (and it appeared the other waiters and waitresses were as well).

                  Food-wise, I must admit three of us were not very imaginative, all having pulled pork sandwiches (except different sides). You get a generous portion of pork on a toasted ciabatta bun, and cole slaw on top. You add your own sauce; there is a spicy and regular jar on each table. The pork was tender and of good quality. The sauce was okay but I am not a big fan of sauce so I didn't use that much and it was hard to really evaluate it. I ordered potato salad for my side dish. The other two had french fries and cole slaw. They don't skimp on the portions and the ingredients are high quality - fresh, crisp slaw and a nicely chunky red potato salad that was mildly seasoned and had bits of bacon and red cabbage.

                  I kept telling myself I should have ordered the ribs but I was shooting for a smaller portion. Based on the limited amount we ordered, Gus's is worth visiting. The service is good, it has an attractive atmosphere, and the food is portioned well, fresh, good ingredients and pretty tasty.

                  Negatives: none, except the entryway is pretty narrow and causes traffic jams. It wasn't very crowded at 11:30 when we got there but close to 1:00 when we left, it had filled up. They can't control the shape of the entrance but for the things they can control, they did a great job. I think this is going to be a very popular place.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: monkuboy

                    Monkuboy, or anyone else who might be able to answer this question:

                    I've been looking for a place to watch Lakers games in Pasadena, and I noticed a few TVs behind the bar. Were there a lot of people at the bar watching the game yesterday? Were they even showing it? Can you get food at the bar? And are TVs only available for viewing in the bar area?

                    Thanks. Look forward to checking this spot out soon. Tired of going to the overcrowded spots on Colorado to watch games.

                    1. re: andytseng

                      There are two large flat panel screens behind and above the bar that are visible from the main dining room. They had the Laker game showing on both yesterday and there were only one or two people sitting at the bar watching. We sat in a booth along the opposite wall and could see the screen very well but could not hear the sound. Since it was lunch maybe that's why hardly anyone was watching. I don't know if you can get food at the bar area but the staff seems to be very accomodating over there. I didn't pay much attention to the game because I am still in shock that the Lakers can do so well with having the world's most selfish player still on their team.

                      1. re: monkuboy

                        Good to hear! I know where I'll be on Saturday afternoon.

                      2. re: andytseng

                        we spent some time at the bar on friday evening and they were very accommodating in allowing my son (the sport fanatic) watch whatever he wanted to. the two screens are controlled independently. and yes, they do serve food at the bar. later in the evening, btw, the bar was standing room only.

                    2. I went on Friday night, and thought the food was great! Yes, there were delays getting a table, but what else would one expect 3 days after a restaurant opened? Most important is the food, and they did not disappoint. I thought the brisket was GREAT!!! so tender and juicy. I got it w/ mashed potatoes and coleslaw, and was very happy. Others in my party got the ribs and pulled pork.. also really good. Unlike some that have posted, i really enjoyed the ribs, they were also very tender, and I liked that they were not over-flavored. It is also nice that the BBQ sauce is on the table so you can add as much as you want. The bar area was nice.. I think they should have a low partition between the bar and the booths right next to it, but no biggie.. I like that they have TVs.. The sweet potato fries are also great. We got the kids mac n' cheese as an appetizer which was a great idea, but not sure if they will always allow that.. considering it is only $6.25! The sliders looked good and I can't wait to go back and try other dishes... great first time experience though!

                      1. We went on Sunday night at 8:30pm so we got seated right away. The place looks better than before, brighter now if I recall correctly.

                        We had half a rack of baby backs and they were okay -- flavor was good but kinda dry. Seems kinda pricey for half a rack with 2 sides: $19. We had mashed potatoes and a salad, no complaints about the mashed potatoes and the salad was fresh: spring greens with a very light vinaigrette which we liked.

                        We also ordered the Fremont Burger which was big and good. We had fried sweet potatoes as the side and they were really good and portions were generous.

                        Service was very attentive. Everything went very smoothly to my surprise, considering they just reopened.

                          1. re: ozzygee

                            You can check out their menu: http://www.gussbbq.com/

                            One thing I'm disappointed about is that they don't have those huge bbq beef ribs.

                            1. re: chowchow12345678

                              Ah, I see. So it's corporate style. All things to everyone.

                          2. Well I went on Friday evening as well. I guess unbeknown to me, I was surrounded by fellow chowhounds ;) We arrived at 5:40 PM, and were seated within 15 minutes. The front of the house was very friendly, but a little disoriented. Perhaps this was due to their first really crowded night... I went with my wife, kids and one of their friends.

                            Overall the food was excellent. I had the pulled pork sandwich, and I enjoyed it. But I think I liked my wife's babyback ribs better. The meat was very tender, and the sauce good. I cannot comment on my kids food. I was happy to see they had Sierra Nevada on tap ;) and my wife had a mind julip, which was nice, although I am no expert on cocktails.The service was excellent. My son's hamburger bun was soggy from the meet juices, and the waitress replaced it very quickly. My only complaint was it was noisy. The decor was attractive, but every surface was a hard "live" surface, so the noise just bounced around. I know " noisy" places are in now, but I definitely like to be able to hold a conversation at normal levels.

                            Still all in all, we will be going back.


                            1. Yes, last Friday night and going back tonight. Read article in Westways Mag (Auto Club of SoCal) and happened to talk to two acquaintances who now work there and recommended it. Had to go. Has that same fast pace as Tops. Food looks great. Had the pulled pork - very good. Blues playing in the background! Wonderful. Stella Artois on tap. Blues, Beer and BBQ - heaven. One of my clients is a server there, Sophia. She's very competent and helpful; now for the politically incorrect observation that she's quite cute. Everyone was friendly and helpful despite the fact that it was very, very busy. Had the sweet potato fries - good stuff! Need to try the BBQ Ribs tonight, I think.

                              1 Reply
                              1. fellow hounder Oracle have a review posted of this place

                                Gus's Barbeque
                                808 Fair Oaks Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: kelvlam

                                  We went last Friday - 4 adults, 3 kids. GREAT experience for all. Both types of pork ribs (one dry, one with sauce) were great, brisket was great. Burger was a success. Sides tasty. Place was packed so we had long wait. In return, once seated, we were comp'ed TWO of their skillet cornbreads, which were outstanding - and I don't care for cornbread. Because they were out of one dessert, we were comp'ed the other. Service was great. No downside.

                                  We've been there a few times since the reopening/transformation, and there everything has been consistently good. And I vividly remember the original nightmare that Gus' was previously

                                  1. re: Briggs

                                    On my last visit I noticed a steak salad at a table near me. It looked really up-town and very large. The presentation really got my attention. Have you ever had any of the salads they offer?