Address: 1400 W. Floyd Baker Blvd., Gaffney, SC 29341
Web site: http://www.daddyjoesbbq.com
Hours of operation: 11am-10pm Monday-Thursday; 11am-10pm Friday & Saturday,
Address: 1400 W. Floyd Baker Blvd., Gaffney, SC 29341
Web site: http://www.daddyjoesbbq.com
Hours of operation: 11am-10pm Monday-Thursday; 11am-10pm Friday & Saturday,
Daddy Joe’s in Gaffney is an institution, and the parking lot is always full. There is a good reason for that.
I’m not sure if Daddy Joe’s started off to be more of a fish house than it is currently but on the menu there are only a few “Beach Dishes,” as they term them – Calabash shrimp, flounder and Calabash chicken. But on Thursday night they do have live music (beach music presumably) and oysters and shrimp on special. So there is no complaint there even if it doesn’t have a lot of seafood choices. What they do have is lots of sandwiches (grilled chicken and burgers) and lots of appetizers and lots of other choices.
And then there is the barbeque. Daddy Joe’s has a large smoker and they do chopped (not pulled) pork and ribs plus smoked, pulled (not chopped) chicken. All of those choices are good ones.
They have an upstate vinegar and pepper red sauce that has a bit of heat and spice to it and they also have an even hotter edition of their sauce on each table for those who want to punch it up a bit. Both of these sauces are very good. However, when you order your barbeque tell them to serve the sauce on the side so you can try it both ways. When you order the ribs it is most important that they serve the sauce on the side as their rib sauce seems to be a Cattleman’s knock off and it does nothing for the ribs, whereas their house barbeque sauce actually enhances their barbeque. The ribs, by the way, start out with a dry rub and they are smoked very well. My only complaint was that they were not meatier. Their smoked chicken was a hit too. You don’t see that in too many other places.
They also have a good variety of sides including two home-made slaws: coleslaw and BBQ slaw. While both are good and fresh my vote went with the BBQ slaw, so much so that I got an extra pint to-go for my wife who loves that red slaw found mostly in the upstate and in North Carolina. If you get their regular coleslaw and want to see what their BBQ slaw is like just mix in some of the hot sauce that is on your table and you get a good approximation.
They also have hushpuppies that almost stole the show. Again, I got an extra order of them to take home; they were that good. The wife loved them.
I also had the baked beans which were reasonably good if nothing special and their potato salad is so much in demand that they do a good takeout of that side too.
Daddy Joe’s is decorated in an amusing “beach” fashion with sturdy tables as well as booths plus a small outdoor area for those days when alfresco is doable. There are lots of old signs around (real old ones not the new reproductions) and my waitress was remarkably attentive. Plus some other lady came by to check on me too. I was impressed.
You can get onion rings, fried pickles, chicken strips, fried zucchini, and those wonderful hushpuppies in a variation with jalapeno and cheddar with a dipping sauce. In fact, there are lots and lots of choices at Daddy Joe’s and they all range from good to very good to excellent.
Daddy Joe’s may not be a 100 Mile BBQ joint but it is certainly worth a very long trip.
Address: 12827 Ocean Highway, Pawley’s Island, SC 29585
Hours of operation: daily lunch and dinner
One of our Master Judges send me an email after eating at Moe’s in Pawley’s Island and said, “I have a new 100 Mile barbeque for you!” I was dubious because I had heard of Moe’s and I knew it was a chain. So far no chain operation had made the 100 Mile ranks except Maurice’s, of course, but that is actually a multi-restaurant family owned operation. There is a reason that chains don’t usually measure up but Moe’s comes close to overcoming that obstacle.
Chains are generally franchise operations that use some standard cooking equipment the franchise headquarters ships in that is not up to 100 Mile standards. But Moe’s, at least the one in Pawley’s Island, has a large, wood burning, Old Hickory cooker. Those cookers may be mechanized for easier handling of the large amount of meat they must handle, but it does the initial cooking with wood and with a controlled low temperature. Low and slow and in a pit over wood, that’s the ticket. The pit doesn’t have to be made out of cinder blocks to qualify; it can be stainless steel too, but it must be low and slow and over wood. The only thing that puts Moe’s in the Worth the Trip category rather than the 100 Mile category is that they only cook their barbeque for about 4 hours over wood than finish it off over electricity. The truth is, cooked that way almost no one could tell it from true 100 Mile Barbeque. The taste is excellent.
They must also have a classically trained chef in the back because every side dish that came out of the back (and there were three of us and we all purposely ordered different sides so we could all taste and share) ranged from good to very good to excellent. The only disappointment was the “cornbread” that came on each plate and when we all saw it we thought it was Texas Toast but when we ate it we learned it was cornbread. Actually it was “Georgia pound cake” as that overly sweet cornbread is called. It was good Georgia pound cake, however and it was so good it could substitute as real pound cake so you wouldn’t have to order any dessert.
As a side we had Brunswick Stew (very good but like all Brunswick Stew done to the chef’s individual taste), real collards that had not been sugared to death, great baked beans, a homemade marinated slaw that we all really liked, tasty green beans, and a squash casserole that stole the show. Our least favorite was the mac and cheese that we thought was a bit bland. It was good, however, so if that was our biggest complaint then you can see just how good everything was. If you have a vegetarian in the crowd (why would you be hanging around with one of those?), they even have an all-sides platter of just those great veggie sides.
But the real hit was the barbeque. The ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender and not over-sauced. The barbeque was smoked just right, tender and very good. We all gave the ribs the top spot even over the very good barbeque so those are not to be missed. The barbeque came with only a small squirt of their low country red vinegar and pepper sauce on top so even though I forgot to tell them to put the sauce on the side (as we should all do), I got to taste the barbeque. If you want to try the sauce, and I recommend it, then they have squirt bottles on the table and they even keep extra bottles in a heated crock pot on a serving tray (now that’s a first!) for you to take to the table. The sauce actually does compliment the barbeque but like all Worth the Trip barbeque it is best eaten as it comes off the pit.
Great barbeque, great ribs, great sides, new clean restaurant, and a very pleasant ambiance: What more can we ask? Well, there is more. They are expanding the outside seating and enlarging the bar so Moe’s will be even better. I hope the other Moe’s, wherever they are, do as well.
Address: 2828 Stantons Rd, Bennettsville, SC 29512
Phone: (843) 265-4855
Web site: stantosnbarbeque.com
Stanton’s BBQ & Seafood is one of those places that many people have heard of even if they have never been there. Over the years I’ve probably had a half dozen people ask me if I’ve ever been there and I never had. All of those people asking that question were pilots of small aircraft who, at one time or another, had flown in to the grass landing strip that Stantion’s maintains just across the road from their restaurant.
There have been fly-ins going on there for decades and they still have one every first Saturday in November. At one time they have had as many as 75 small planes rendezvous there but now that turnout is much smaller as the original pilot-owner died back in 2003 and the fly-in attendance has fallen off.
The attendance isn’t the only thing that has most probably fallen off. Outside the restaurant are a couple of outbuildings one of which looked as if it had been a genuine barbeque pit in days gone by. Now it is boarded up and the barbeque served at Stanton’s is a long way from real barbeque. At one time it may have been good barbeque but today it is probably the worst substitute for barbeque I’ve had in any restaurant. My dining companion tried a fork full and declined to eat even a second bite. She agreed that it was the worst barbeque she had ever had. In fact, I am putting it in the Top 100 “Worth the Trip” section only because it is one of the few barbeque houses in the state that is known outside of South Carolina and that, of course, is because of the fly-ins where weekend pilots took the opportunity to fly over and see old friends once a year.
Marlboro County isn’t known for its good barbeque. Barbeque in that neck of the woods is almost nonexistent with only three restaurants being listed when the county of Marlboro is Googled. One of those places is Stanton’s and another is Landmark restaurant just outside of Bennettsville which has changed its name from Revel’s to Landmark Restaurant. The Revel’s operation is now a cooker of pork which it packages for distribution through grocery stores. An idea of its product can be deduced by the fact that there is not a piece of wood in sight by the cooking plant and the label of their product in the stores lists it as “electric pit cooked” rather than as real smoked barbeque. Marlboro County does have one newer barbeque house that uses a smoker and if you are in the area and want some real barbeque then that should be your choice. That new place is Sandy Ocean Bar-B-Que but neither it nor Landmark is open on Monday or Saturday. On Saturday your only choice is Stanton’s.
My dining companion ordered a seafood platter since Stanton’s advertises itself as a barbeque and fish house. The menu lists oysters, fish, clams, crab, shrimp and other items but serves only lists a plate of barbeque and a barbeque sandwich in the barbeque department. That seafood platter turned out to be a better choice even though when it was served had only out-of-the can slaw and those crinkly potatoes that come frozen from their local food distributer. The potatoes were not worth the calories and the slaw is as poor as one can get out of a wholesale can but the fish was good and the shrimp were not bad either. My barbeque plate had the same poor slaw but I had ordered beans and they tasted as if Stanton’s had doctored them up a bit so that they were actually pretty good. The beans were the best thing on the plate. The barbeque, as I said, was so bad I had three tastes and laid the plastic fork back on the table. The unsweetened tea was pretty good, by the way.
The question is why the people of Marlboro put up with such poor fare and the only thing I can conclude is that Marlboro was originally settled in the 1735 to1775 period by Welsh Dissenters, religious believers known today as Baptists. These Welshmen came down from Delaware and Pennsylvania rather than directly from Wales through the port of Charleston. The Dissenters were “dissenting” from the Anglican Church, the state church in most of the American colonies plus the people in other colonies usually took a dim view of anyone who practiced a religion different from their majority. Colonial South Carolina, on the other hand, had a constitution written by the famous John Locke and it included a clause that guaranteed religious freedom to everyone, even to “the heathens,” by which they meant the Indians. Also, South Carolinians didn’t really care where you went to church just so long as you did it, which is why it had so many Huguenots (who are Calvinists not Anglicans) and the largest Jewish population in America at the time. South Carolina was the perfect place for Dissenters and one of the reasons we have so many Baptists in the state today is because of our state constitution and the religious opportunity it afforded all people. Unfortunately these Welsh settlers never had a barbeque history or culture where they came from, especially Pennsylvania and Delaware, much less Wales, and it appears as if they have yet to develop one.
If you are in Bennettsville you might take in Stanton’s just to say you have been there. However, it’s probably easier to find from your small plane rather than by car since it is a good way out of town towards North Carolina and you have to make several turns down various roads just to get there. If you are driving in or flying to Stanton’s their website gives you the map and the coordinates.
Address: 604 W Bobo Newsom Hwy, Hartsville, SC 29550
Phone: (843) 332-7142
Hours of operation: Mon - Sat11:00 am - 9:00 pm, Sun11:00 am - 2:00 pm
I didn't expect too much from Westwood BBQ since no one has ever mentioned this restaurant to me but as I pulled up around 3:15 I noticed that the parking lot was crowded with cars. That's always a good sign. It was in an unassuming brown building that harkens back to the plain cinderblock building of the past so that was a good sign too.
Actually I was just going in to get some barbeque to take home but one look at the buffet made me grab a plate and head for the line. There were several people in front of me so I had a moment to look over the fare. There were two barbeques one labeled "mustard" and the other "vinegar and pepper." There were also two hashes next to the rice but they were not labeled so I asked the lady in front of me if she ate there often (she did) so I asked her which of the two hashes she liked. It turns out she liked the one that didn't have any liver in it. "That one is the only one I ever get," she said pointing to the darker one on the left but since I was going to try everything I could I helped myself to both. She was missing a treat, it turns out, since the one she was getting was the hash without liver. That Westwood liver hash was as good as any I have had. Maybe the best I have had. In the Pee Dee region liver hash is a staple whereas in the German areas of South Carolina liver hash is seldom found today. It was good to get one and to get a very good one was a real delight.
But the hash wasn't the only hit on the buffet. They also had ribs and they were not the drenched-in-sauce kind that one gets in faux barbeque houses. They had been rubbed with a dry rub and then grilled. They were firm enough to enjoy and tender enough to pass the bite test. The two barbeques were both good with my choice going to the mustard barbeque by a slim margin. I also liked the mustard sauce that was on the table a bit better than the reddish vinegar and pepper (light tomato) sauce that was also on the table.
The items on the buffet all pretty much looked homemade to me so I dove in. The slaw was fresh made, course chopped and very good. The sweet potatoes were (drum roll, please) the best I've had in the Pee Dee and the Pee Dee is the home of the best sweet potatoes in the nation. They are not to be missed.
There is also fried chicken and that was a winner but the chicken livers and chicken gizzards were even better than the fried chicken, maybe as good as any I've had anywhere including Shealy's in Batesburg, which is famous for their chicken gizzards and livers. Plus, speaking of chicken, they had barbequed chicken and I liked that even better.
The mac and cheese was very cheesy and while it was good I actually wished for a cheese on top that was just a little sharper but I understand that the general public likes milder foods than I do so I can recommend it for all to try. The other vegetables were all good and the only dessert I had (there were several to choose from) was the banana pudding and with the real cream on top I would have had some more if I wasn't watching my waistline.
The price was right, the service was friendly and attentive and, as I said, what a pleasant surprise Westwood was. That area of the Pee Dee is not known for its good barbeque so any reasonably good barbeque restaurant would be a real addition, but Westwood could hold its own anywhere and I recommend it to everyone in the area. It's certainly worth the trip.
Address: 1951 Hwy 15-401
West Bennettsville, SC 29512
Phone: (843) 479-2278
Hours of operation: Tuesday – Friday, 11:00 -2:00, Sunday Buffet, 11:00- 3:00pm
Marlboro County is not known for its excellence in barbeque (see the review on Stanton’s, the oldest barbeque restaurant in that area, for some thoughts on the subject), so it must have been a welcome event when Sandy Ocean Bar-B-Que was re-opened. I say “re-opened” because it had been there for a number of years before Randy Sheppard, who owned the place and cooked the barbeque, closed up. He then leased the business to a new owner for a re-opening. He continues to cook the barbeque, however, which he does in an Old Hickory smoker.
Sandy Ocean is not a buffet but rather you order from a menu and they bring it to your table. The service was fast and friendly and my waitress was very attentive.
The barbeque at Sandy Ocean is pulled pork and it is juicy and smoked just right which is way different from the other two so-called barbeque houses in and around Bennettsville. They have two sauces which they bring to the table with your plate in small plastic cups. They have a mustard sauce that is suspiciously like Cattleman’s and their own Pee Dee style reddish vinegar and pepper sauce. The vinegar and pepper got my vote and it had enough pepper in it to give is some pleasant bite. It would do itself quite well in any comparison with other light tomato vinegar and pepper sauces anywhere. However, the barbeque was good enough to forgo the sauce.
The barbeque plate comes with beans and slaw and the slaw is creamy, home-made and quite good. The beans were the small, tasty kind and I cleaned my plate of everything.
They serve a number of other lunch plates and sandwiches (all the way down to grilled cheese sandwiches) and on Fridays they have ribs. Unfortunately, they are not open on Saturdays but they do open again on Sundays for lunch until 3:00 pm. They only serve at lunch time with no dinner served.
They have a reasonably stocked dessert bar with banana pudding (which I liked), chocolate pudding, lemon cake, pound cake plus some other goodies and even a serving of chopped pineapple for the fruit lovers.
I was there at about 12:30 and they were doing a brisk business for a Wednesday. The customers were all locals and they all looked very happy. After I ate the barbeque I was quite happy myself.
The restaurant is decorated in a country theme with lots of interesting things on the wall to keep you amused during the short time you have from when you place your order to when they bring it. They had a stuffed deer head, stuffed fish and various old signs most of which are genuinely old rather than the ones new restaurants buy nowadays just for show. The outside of the restaurant also has some eye catching instillations that should help entertain all of your children as well s you.
Sandy Ocean Bar-B-Que is a worthy addition to our Worth the Trip lineup and it’s the best barbeque in that area all the way from North Carolina through Bennettsville down to Hartsville which is in the next county over, so we are talking the best barbeque for twenty five miles or so in either direction. Go there and get happy.