City Barbecue: A New Addition to Portage’s BBQ Scene

City Barbeque (Portage)

When I first arrived in Kalamazoo a dozen years ago, I lamented the lack of excellent BBQ joints in the area. However, over the past decade, things have changed dramatically. Local gems have sprung up all over the place, and during food truck rallies, you can almost always find a BBQ truck serving up delectable treats. Moreover, a few decent national chains have also made their way into town.

The BBQ scene in Portage got a boost a few weeks ago with the opening of City Barbeque. Situated on South Westnedge at Gladys Street, right in front of Dick’s Sporting Goods, this Ohio-based establishment has found a home in the new build shopping center, Union Commons. Previously, this space was occupied by a bank. But now, a tantalizing aroma fills the air as mouthwatering BBQ takes center stage.

I decided to check out City Barbeque on a Friday, not long after they opened their doors. Although still relatively new, the place wasn’t packed to the brim. The convenience of online ordering and the option to pick up your food either inside or at the drive-thru window sets City Barbeque apart from the rest. In fact, it’s the only BBQ joint in town where you can savor a brisket sandwich without even leaving the comfort of your car.

As I walked into the restaurant, I was greeted by a counter service setup. A small hallway funnels patrons directly to the cash register, with menus displayed on TV screens behind the cashier. The scent of smoky goodness wafts through the air, so you can pretty much guess what awaits you before reaching the front of the line.

Further reading:  The Perfect Grilled Pork Roast: A Succulent Delight

I placed my order for a mouthwatering Beef Brisket sandwich and added a side of fries and mac & cheese. The cost came to around $15, excluding tip. Since I was on the go, I decided to take my food with me, loitering near the pickup area at the other end of the counter. From there, I caught glimpses of the bustling kitchen as the cooks sliced and prepared orders. BBQ isn’t something you can cook to order, so it’s all about precise slicing and efficient delivery. Despite a decent-sized line before me, my order was ready in less than ten minutes.

For those who prefer to dine in, City Barbeque offers a generously-sized dining room. The décor leans more toward modern industrial rather than traditional southern roadhouse, but fear not—they’ve got rolls of paper towels on each table to wipe away all that sticky goodness.

After grabbing a couple of bottles of Pepsi from the Meijer gas station nearby, I headed back to the office to enjoy my meal. I started with the fries, knowing they would cool down quickly. These were no ordinary fries—they were fresh-cut with the skin still on. They stood well on their own, but I couldn’t resist requesting a side of Brush Fire BBQ sauce. This sauce packs a fiery punch, adding an extra kick to each fry. I’ve never been one for ketchup, but BBQ sauce—that’s a different story. The fries were already delicious, but with that spicy BBQ sauce, they reached a whole new level of tastiness.

Next up was the Mac & Cheese. It had the familiar texture and taste of mass-produced macaroni and cheese. There was nothing particularly wrong with it, but it didn’t stand out either. The cavatappi noodles were enveloped in a thick, creamy sauce that clung together in a rather gelatinous blob.

Further reading:  Wood Pellet Smoked Pork Chops: A Savory Delight On Your Plate

Finally, the moment arrived to savor the star of the show—the brisket. The sandwich consisted of tender, succulent, and perfectly seasoned chopped brisket nestled in a soft white bun. Although I had a bit of Brush Fire BBQ sauce left, I decided to enjoy this sandwich without it. The flavors were so well-balanced that the BBQ sauce wasn’t necessary. The size of the sandwich was impressive, considering the current cost of brisket. While I typically prefer sliced brisket to minimize mess, I had no qualms about using a fork to pick up any stray morsels that fell off the bun.

This was my second experience dining at City Barbeque; the first time was at their Kentwood location a few years ago, and I was thoroughly impressed. Needless to say, I was elated when I heard they opened a branch in Portage. While nothing can replace the local BBQ joints, City Barbeque brings something different to the table. With their range of options and the convenience of a well-established chain, they provide a delicious addition to the BBQ scene in the area.

For more information, visit Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ.