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Sep 2, 2008 05:59 AM

Ed's Barrrbq - Barre, VT

There's a new barbeque place in Barre and I gave them a try just this last Friday. They've taken over the space formerly occupied by Del's. Right now they're only open 11-2 M-W-F for take out lunch service. They're in the process of renovating and plan on opening the dining room for regular lunch and dinner service around the middle of September, 2008. They are already set up to take credit cards (much to my delight).

Here's the website for the guy's sauce and catering: He's been selling his sauce and doing catering around the area for a while, so opening a storefront was the next step. Right now they're doing the smoking out at the pit he has at his home in Graniteville, but they've ordered a pit for the restaurant, so they will be smoking on site. They say that they smoke their food at least eight hours.

I ordered ribs and a pulled pork sandwich (each was 5.95, and that's all that it came with, no sides provided, though sides were available for an extra price). I was asked by the waitress if I wanted "sweet, medium, or hot" sauce. I asked her if I could get sweet and medium on the side, not on top of either so I could try them both out and see what I thought, and she said sure. She placed my order, and I heard her tell him through the window to not put the sauce on, but put it on the side. And I heard him acknowledge that. My order was the only one pending at the moment, as well. There wasn't a line and there weren't any more orders ahead of mine.

I should have checked my order before leaving, because he put sauce in the container with the ribs, and didn't put any sauce on the pulled pork, and only one kind of sauce was provided (I'm assuming it was the sweet sauce). But, well, they'd only been open for two weeks, so I'm willing to cut them some slack on that. I was just disappointed because I wanted to try more than one sauce. The people in the front were very nice and the owner's wife was very willing to answer questions about their Q.

The ribs were three large, meaty pork ribs. There wasn't a smoke ring on them, but you could detect a smokey flavour. They are most definitely more smoked than the ribs at River Run (Plainfield) or Cider House (Waterbury). It wasn't a strong flavour, but it was at least present. The pulled pork was tender, well-pulled, well-cooked, and also had a subtle smokey flavour (not as much as I'd have liked in either case, but still better than anything we've had local for a while).

The sweet sauce wasn't really too sweet, it had a nice warmth to it, with a reasonable level of complexity. It went very well with the meat. I'm looking forward to trying the other sauces, and going here when they're finally open for dinner service. It was only because I'd taken Friday off that I was able to stop in for lunch. :)

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  1. Just an update. Ed's is now open 5-8 on Friday nights, in addition to lunches on M, W, and F. :)

    1. Have they opened for dinner yet? Curious how this place will do following Finkerman's demise...keep us posted. Terrible economy to open a restaurant in...hope they do ok.

      1 Reply
      1. re: NewEnglandOrganic

        They're starting dinner service tonight, if I read their sign right (even driving by as slow as I usually do, it's hard to read, someone needs to tell them to WRITE BIGGER!!).

      2. Heard it through the grapevine they opened last night. Also read in their local paper that one of the best restaurants in town burnt down yesterday? (All FIred up I think its called?). Regardless wonder if you've heard any feedback on the place yet? I imagine with the loss of yet another Barre Eatery this place might actually stand a chance...

        1 Reply
        1. re: NewEnglandOrganic

          Well I did write the review above. :) I haven't been back yet, though. We're still recovering financially from a week in Montreal. :) but I'll probably stop there in the next few weeks.

        2. Ok, we just had dinner there tonight. They are now open for inside service, and they've redecorated the interior. I'm really impressed with how fresh and clean and nice it all looks (especially compared to how shabby Del's, which used to be in that space, had become). The owners apparently did the entire interior themselves, and they did a really good job. It plays on their motto "A taste you can't escape", and has mug shots of various famous people (Sinatra, Johnny Cash) and prisons on the walls, and the names of their hot sauces are misdemeanor, manslaughter, murder one, and lethal injection. They've managed to do this without making it overdone. I hope they keep it that way. :)

          Their hours are Wed-Sat 11-9.

          We arrived right around 5 or so. There weren't many people in, but it was early. It started filling up as we were leaving. The service was friendly (teenage waitstaff, but clearly trained to be attentive, and I think they might be family). She was knowledgeable about the food, and what she didn't know, she went and got the answer promptly (I wanted to know where the cheese was from in the mac and cheese side).

          I ordered a regular sized rib dinner ($12.95, I think), that comes with three very meaty pork ribs and a choice of two sides. I asked for a cup of sweet sauce and a cup of their medium sauce on the side so I could try both. My husband ordered an appetizer of wings, but it was a large, with 12 wings ($9.95) with his sauce choice of murder one.

          As indicated before, the ribs were meaty, and there was definitely a nice smokey flavour to them, I could tell that they'd been smoked for a while, which is a vast improvement over any other BBQ place in central VT that I've made it to (note, that I've made it to, and in Central VT, I know there are some other places in VT that might be better than this :). The sauces were both good and I couldn't decide which I liked. They were a little sweeter than I normally like my sauces, but they weren't bad by any means. I chose for my sides the mac and cheese and the cole slaw. I checked beforehand to make sure the mac and cheese was homemade (it is) and it is made with whole milk and Cabot cheddar. The pasta (rotelli) was a little but overcooked for my tastes, and I mentioned that to the waitress just as feedback (she was very open to feedback, and said that the owners want to hear what people think). Though I know some people prefer their pasta in mac and cheese to be like that, so that may or may not change. It had a great flavour, and I think they have a winner. I hope they don't change that recipe any time soon. :)

          The coleslaw was fresh, crisp, with a lightly sweet dressing that also had some subtle nuances I couldn't quite put my finger on. And it had onion in it. I love onion in my cole slaw, and this was just great. I don't think I like it quite as much as the cole slaw at River Run in Plainfield, but it's right up there, it's a tough choice. But my best friend makes the slaw at River Run, so I think I need to give hers the win on that. ;)

          There was more than enough food, the serving sizes were ample, and I ended up taking more than half the mac and cheese home, about 2/3 of the slaw home, and two of the ribs (I have a very small stomach due to surgery for getting rid of my diabetes). I'm looking forward to a snack later, or lunch tomorrow.

          My husband's wings were nice and meaty, and I'm not sure if they were smoked or just cooked the way most buffalo wings are. He got murder one for his sauce, and it had heat right at the start, and also a slow build, so the flavour was complex and had a lot going on. It was also sweeter than he usually likes, but for all that, he liked the wings. He was only able to eat six of the twelve, but that was by design (he has a small stomach, too, same reason), and he's glad he'll have them for leftover tomorrow.

          The prices for mains ranged from $9.95 to $19.95. They have for mains: larger orders of ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket (one of the appetizers is burnt brisket ends, for $5.95), and chicken. They also do grilled steaks and chicken, and there are a variety of sandwich options that I didn't look at closely. I wish I'd asked for a menu to take along with me but I forgot. They get desserts from the bakery across the street and down a ways, Delicate Decadence, which is a good idea, I think. They make awesome stuff. :)

          This is the best BBQ I've had in Central Vermont. They have an actual pit and they used apple wood, and apple cider. You can taste the smoke, and the range of sauces is sufficient for everyone. I can't wait to try the other things on their menu and I'm aching to try the sweet potato fries. I think the guy at another table had them, and they looked great. :)

          This is now on my list of recommendations for the Central Vermont area, and I'm going to start suggesting that folks staying around Montpelier make the stop in Barre, this place is totally worth it.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Morganna

            What exit would this be off the 89?

            1. re: Bri

              Since it's in downtown Barre, you can either take Exit 8 and travel from Montpelier on the Barre-Montpelier Road, or the hospital exit (7?) and travel the corridor to Barre. Or, take the more scenic route through South Barre in the more southern exit.

              1. re: Bri

                The easiest way, and the way that misses the construction delays, is to take Exit 7, as Addisonchef suggests. Get off exit 7 and go through two sets of lights. Make sure you're in the left lane by the time you reach the third set of lights (hospital on the left, Hilltop inn on the right). Stay in that lane and head into Barre. Take that through another set of lights, then you'll be at a set of lights at the corner of Main Street (motel on your right). Turn right onto Main Street and go down uhm, I'd call it about two blocks, maybe three. Ed's is on the right side of the road, near the Pit Stop Diner and Cuzzin's bar (Is that how it's spelled?), after where Sean and Norah's reastaurant used to be.

                Oh, and if you're going to be stopping there, you should take a trip up a few blocks, and on the left, to visit LACE, a really great local products shop. :)

                1. re: Morganna

                  Ok got it. I'll check it out some time soon. Thanks!

              2. re: Morganna

                Thank you so much for the great report!
                One question - besides the Mac and Cheese and the cole slaw, was there anything at Ed's that a vegetarian in an eating group would enjoy?

                1. re: Delhiwala

                  Well, there's a lot of different sides. Sweet potato fries, regular fries, corn bread, and other stuff I can't recall off the top of my head. They have nachos on the appetizer menu, and that might be possible to get without any meat on it. I can't be completely sure but it seems like it might not be a place that a vegetarian would go for a "good vegetarian meal". The mac and cheese is great and filling, and I'd call that a good meal, but other than that, I don't think so. I mean, it -is- a place centered entirely around meat, and it -is- located in Barre (as opposed to Montpelier, where I'd expect every restaurant to offer at least one decent vegetarian main). :)

                  If you want good vegetarian options in the same area, take your vegetarian up to El Sol just up the street (one block, same side of the street). They have some good stuff, and I bet you could bring one meal in to Ed's from there, while the meat eaters indulged in ribs or brisket at Ed's. I don't think they'd make a stink about it.

                  Also, you could also mention the vegetarian option to them if/when you go. They seem interested in learning and might be willing to start offering grilled vegetables or something like that as a main. Though, y'know, I don't think it's a fault in a low and slow Q place located in a blue collar town for not having more than some hearty vegetarian sides. :)

              3. Just wondering if you know if any of their meat is sourced locally. I wouldn't expect it but the fact that they use Cabot cheddar for their mac and cheese leads me to ask.

                1 Reply
                1. re: stroshow3

                  I didn't even think to ask. Maybe I'll give them a call in a little bit and ask. :)