Richard’s Bar-B-Q, Salisbury NC

When I was in town two years ago for a similar trip, I visited Wink’s King of Barbecue and wondered, since the meal was just sort of okay, whether I might have been better off visiting another well-known joint in Salisbury called Richard’s. I would indeed have been. My daughter and I arrived at Richard’s for our final stop in the Tarheel State and I thought this place was just terrific.

The area has been home to a long line of barbecue restaurants, their histories weaving in and out of each other and dating back to 1935(!), but it has been named for the present owner, Richard Monroe, since 1979. Monroe took over what had been T & F Barbecue, which started in another location, five years after being promoted to manager in ’74. Like many in the region, the menu has a hundred other things besides barbecue, including, unusually, a salad bar. This is maybe the fourth or fifth salad bar that I can recall in a barbecue place.

The pork here is very, very good, and I liked this much better than the chopped pork that I had tried at Wink’s two years ago. This was really smoky and sweet, and the slaw was just delicious.

Not too many other bloggers seem to have stopped by this place. The Barbecue Bros have a page about it, but Salisbury appears to be in an odd little void. If you’re in Charlotte proper and you’re coming north on 85, perhaps you might as well drive the additional fifteen minutes or so and go to Lexington, where even better barbecue can be found? Whatever the reason and wherever guests are coming from, Richard’s serves up some very good food and it shouldn’t be overlooked. I wouldn’t object to another visit one day at all.

We were behind schedule when we left, but things were about to get worse. There was a big wreck on I-85 and Waze led us on a merry dance around the small towns in the area. All through the trip, we caught sight of various barbecue places that made me say “Ooooh! Next time…” One of these was Gary’s Bar-B-Cue in China Grove, which had a pretty interesting building. I’m glad that we didn’t stop, because traffic even further south was already conspiring to make me miserable, but it helped punctuate the reality that there are so very many barbecue places in this state calling out for attention. Until next time!


Are you planning a barbecue road trip? You can see all the barbecue restaurants that we have visited for our blog (more than 360 !) on this map, with links back to the original blog posts!

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4 thoughts on “Richard’s Bar-B-Q, Salisbury NC

  1. Gary’s is nice, even if they don’t use wood for their barbecue any more – – they tried to get away with a decorative woodpile for a while but were eventually given away by the cobwebs it collected. Inside they are the Elephant’s Graveyard of tin signs, all of the walls are covered floor to ceiling with decorative old-timey tin signs, and they actually have some old cars in the place, since I think it was originally a garage. The barbecue is pretty good but the service is outstanding, they will happily bring sample cups of the Brunswick Stew or the banana pudding. Here is my review (with pics) from a 2010 visit: http://thedrawncutlass.blogspot.com/search?q=Gary%27s

  2. Gary’s will disappoint, food wise. I recommend trying College BBQ next time you’re in Salisbury. They and Richards are my favorites.

    Also check out Keaton’s BBQ. Their hot chicken will leave you dreaming about it… but don’t bother with the pork. Get the mac and cheese too. Oh, and call and make sure they’re open… they’re not so good at the whole hours thing.

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