Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Southeast >
Jun 17, 2012 10:44 AM

Pathetic Peach Cobbler at Allen & Son

I ate at Allen & Son the other day. My $11 barbecue plate was adequate, although it seemed expensive for what arrived at the table.

For dessert, I ordered peach cobbler, and what arrived was four burned-black pie crusts, on top of wet fruit. I don't know why I didn't just look at the server and ask him if he was kidding. I have a general idea of what I expect when I see the word "cobbler" and that was not it. I put the burned crusts aside and ate the fruit, but I should have really spoken to someone, anyone. I'm sure the only reason they can get away with this is because no one speaks up.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Try the pound cake with key lime cream cheese icing instead. Makes me swoon, but so does their 'q, so who knows.

    1. You tried the one dessert out of the 15 or so that he makes that I don't really care for. He's great with pies and cakes.

      As for the bbq only being "adequate," if by "adequate" you mean "top 3 or 4 in the state of North Carolina" (and my personal favorite), then we're on the same wavelength.

      $11 expensive for a BBQ plate? That's about the same price it is for a plate at other venerable wood cookers like Lexington #1 or Bridges' in Shelby. A sandwich, fries and drink at a good fast food joint already runs me $7.50, and they aren't waking up at 2 a.m. every morning to singlehandedly chop the hickory, smoke the pig for the next 9 hours, and bake 15 desserts daily all on his own.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mikeh

        Agree on all points. Food is worth the price, always has been. I worry that there will be no one to replace Mr. Allen.

        1. re: mikeh

          Maybe he should bake fourteen desserts, instead.

          1. re: mikeh

            It may be nitpicking, but I was at Lexington this afternoon and a plate or large tray is $9.50.

          2. Got the cherry cobbler. Maybe they left out the sugar or something. It was by far the worst dessert I've ever ordered anywhere.

            All four people at the table took one small bite and declared it awful. Waitress didn't notice or didn't say anything. Not worth a big deal. Paid bill left. Would never order dessert again there.

            2 Replies
            1. re: CyndiA

              I'm not sure why one would think that the cherry cobbler would be any better than the peach cobbler. Maybe cobbler just isn't the way to go here. Why not order a pie, which is some of the best pie in the state, instead of making the irrational move of banning desserts entirely?

              1. re: mikeh

                I didn't read your post on the cobbler beforehand. The other dessert was the pecan pie warmed up in the microwave. That wasn't so great either. With two dessert "fails," why would I want to pay for another one?

            2. I can't speak for their desserts, but I'm not a fan of their BBQ. I think the sauce is good and I love all the smokey wood flavor, but the meat itself is very dry and some of the pieces have a burnt taste/texture. So many better BBQ restaurants in our state.

              15 Replies
              1. re: SittingOnAMtnTop

                You must have gotten an extremely rare bad batch. Their bbq (in the 50 or so times I've eaten there) is generally some of the moistest I've had in the state. And usually the outside brown is amazing, not burnt in taste or texture, just amazing.

                1. re: mikeh

                  Yeap, I go there for the BBQ, that is what they do. Go pick another nit.

                  1. re: fredb2548

                    I honestly feel like some of you folks have never eaten at some of the great BBQ restaurants in NC (Wilbur's, Bridge's, Parker's, Ken's, B's, Moore's, Lexington etc). . I've tried it quite a few times and have found it inedible, it was that bad. I've never heard anyone mention Allen & Sons in the top 10. Just my 2 cents, to each their own.

                    1. re: SittingOnAMtnTop

                      I have eaten at Lex, Bridges, Skylight, Wilburs and many others, and Allen and Son is definitely in my top 3 or so. To each his own. Just curious, there are 2 Allen and Sons. You are talking about the one between Chapel Hill and Hillsborough? There is another one near Pittsboro that I haven't been to, but have heard it's not as good.

                      1. re: carolinadawg

                        The Pittsboro location is Allen & Son by name only. NOT associated with the original in any way. Their bbq is not very good, consistently greasy with gristle in it. They do prepare bbq chicken on Wednesday evenings that isn't too bad. Probably the best thing on their menu is the hamburgers and / or hush puppies.

                        1. re: goodeatsinadive

                          It was in the original line, but the now deceased Allen sold it. They use gas and not wood.

                      2. re: SittingOnAMtnTop

                        Just Wed I ate at Ken's, Wilber's, Cobb's, & Grady's -n didn't eat much but enough at each place. I've eaten at Skyligh, B's, Parker's (All 3), All the Lexingtonn restaurants, Bridges, Bunn's, Moore's and many, many more -and Allen & Son is in my TOP 5, and has been for years. Ate their last week.

                        So your point in my case is simply wrong - I've eatenin as many NC BBQ Restaurants as anyone, including Bob Garner. It is obvious our tastes aren't the same. I'll continue to eat at and recommend Allen & Son, and will mourn the day Keith Allen stops serving his pig.

                        1. re: fredb2548

                          I too have eaten at MANY BBQ restaurants across the state (like 50+) and I still don't like it. But like I said earlier, to each his own. BBQ is subjective. Glad you like A&S, it's just not for me.

                          1. re: SittingOnAMtnTop

                            I understand your point, tastes differ. What I took exception to was your questioning whether anyone who liked A&S had eaten at BBQ joints you considered superior to A&S.

                            And not trying to throw it on the table to see who's is bigger, but the number of NC BBQ joints I have eaten ate, and written reviews for, is 148.

                            1. re: fredb2548

                              Then you clearly have better taste in BBQ than me ;)

                              Didn't mean to offend anyone, I was just curious if anyone had ventured outside of the triangle to sample any of our state's other offerings because I don't get the A&S hype.

                              ::bows down to Fredb's BBQ superiority::

                              1. re: SittingOnAMtnTop

                                I understand that point , as well. I stopped questioning the differences in taste a long time ago. For example, a number of folks rave about The Pig in Chapel Hill, who's food (almost all of it) I find among the worst I'v encountered in any BBQ joint, not just in the state, but in the South.

                                Anyway, good luck, and eat more pig - and if you have not eaten at Grady's near Goldsboro, or Ken;s in LaGrange, or Jack Cobb's in Farmville (strange hours so call), you should check them out.

                                1. re: fredb2548

                                  I had Ken's for the first time a couple of months ago and really enjoyed it. I liked the prevalence of black pepper in the sauce, which set it apart from other places in that area.

                                  Never tried Grady's or Jack Cobb's, thanks for the recommendation.

                                  Talked to my husband about this and we have actually have tried over 100 restaurants maybe even 150. Years ago we used to keep a running list with our rankings. The thing about 'cue is that it can vary so wildly from meal to meal so honestly it's hard to have a static top 5 or whatever.

                                  We are slightly addicted to BBQ :) In fact, our son's first taste of meat was at Moore's Barbecue in New Bern.

                                  1. re: fredb2548

                                    Fred is correct about Grady's, Ken's (which only has 'que on Wed. and Sat. unless it's changed since our last visit). Never had Jack Cobb's but it's on my bucket list. And, MtnTop, Moore's is one of the better bbq venues I've had in NC.

                                  2. re: SittingOnAMtnTop

                                    Haha, some of us (like myself) don't even live in the Triangle but cherish A&S's 'que. So conclusion - to each their own.

                          2. re: fredb2548

                            It's been a long time since I've been to A&S in Chapel Hill. By the time I've finished Brunswick, hush puppies and Q, I have no room left for dessert.

                      3. Next time, if you really want cobbler, go across the street to Lockhart's - they occasionally have homemade cobbler at the checkout counter (or at least they did when I worked in that part of town and stopped by most days). The closest I've ever had to homemade using the family recipe.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: mpjmph

                          Across the street? From Allen and Son at the corner of Millhouse Road and Highway 86 between Chapel Hill and Hillsborough?

                          1. re: carolinadawg

                            Yes, it's a little convenience store. I used to have friends who lived nearby and would go there for the baked goods. Really good pie by the slice (wrapped & ready to go). Small quantities and sells out early.

                            We were on the road for work and would only be in the Triangle on Sundays and Mondays, so I was never able to try Allen & Sons at that point in time.

                            1. re: carolinadawg

                              Across the street, and railroad tracks but yes. It's on the same side of 86, opposite side of Millhouse.