Address: 5120 Ashley Phosphate Road, North Charleston, SC29418
Web site: www.robertsbarbque.com
Hours of operation: 10:00am – 9:00pm. Closed on Sunday
Robert’s Bar-B-Que in North Charleston is so different from any other barbeque house I’ve ever been in that it’s hard to think of it as a barbeque restaurant.
First of all, it looks like a new walk-up fast food restaurant so much so that I asked what it was before it was Robert’s. I thought that it had been converted from some sort of Hardee’s or some such. No, I was told, it was built to be Robert’s from the start.
And, boy is it clean. They have a sign on the wall telling everyone that they wipe everything down at least twice a day and make their employees frequently wash their hands all during the day. Cleanliness is a fetish there and it shows. It was the cleanest restaurant of any kind I’ve ever been in.
The menu looks just like a fast food restaurant too. I had to look through all of the many sandwiches, chicken tenders, shakes, burgers, corn dogs, hot dogs, fries, soups, and milk shakes and so forth to find the three listings for barbeque. Once found on the menu it consists of either a barbeque sandwich, barbeque plate or a hash and rice plate.
The strength of Robert’s, in addition to its cleanliness, is a few of its sides, or at least the ones I tasted. They make a great onion ring and you can order them by two’s, four’s and even larger amounts. They were a little sweet (most people like it that way) and maybe some of the best I’ve had. Their baked beans were very good and the lady behind the counter told me that they make all of their sides there. The slaw I had was good and with a couple of shakes of hot sauce it was a good side dish.
The problem was the barbeque and hash. First of all despite the name (Roberts) being French (Roberts is generally Welsh but in Charleston and the low country they descend from the French Robert family), the barbeque is mustard based as one would expect from someone from the German tradition. And given a mustard barbeque you always find hash, at least in South Carolina, so at Robert’s you get hash. However, it is like the reddish hash one finds in Orangeburg as opposed to the type one generally gets at other restaurants that serve mustard sauce. However, at Robert’s it was a bit too red for me; that is, it had too much ketchup in it for my taste. But since they serve a hash plate my guess is that a good number of the locals like it that way.
The barbeque was not pulled but rather chipped with some sort of mechanical device. In fact, I remember seeing that somewhere in some of their information, either on their website or in one of the reviews that someone had done previously. As a chipped barbeque it had the texture of chipped beef and I’ve never seen that anywhere else. The barbeque served to me was also drenched in their sauce. If I had known that it was going to be so covered with sauce I would have ordered it with the sauce on the side and when you try it I recommend that you do the same. Unfortunately, it was not the best barbeque I’ve ever had but it was good enough to make the Top 100 even if it is farther down on the list. Another good thing was the price; Robert’s is not expensive.
Stick with the beans, slaw, onion rings and maybe a barbeque sandwich if you are in the North Charleston area and are experiencing a barbeque emergency and just have to have some to get you over to the next day.