The last time that I was in Carrollton, I deliberately left behind a couple of barbecue places either for a rainy day or for other writers to check out. The city of 26,000 has at least six barbecue restaurants in its metro area. One of these is J-Bo’s, which Jason May opened in 2009. Its location is certainly one of the most unusual spaces of any restaurant that I’ve visited. It’s in a two-store building, kind of like a little strip mall, with a coin laundry on the other side of the wall. Now, having a next door neighbor that doesn’t serve food is nothing out of the ordinary, but these two spaces have a window between them. So if there’s nothing good on the TV while you enjoy your lunch, you can always watch people’s down comforters tumbling around in the wash.
Actually, while I kid about this, the owners of the old Memphis barbecue chain Loeb’s, which I believe had more than two dozen locations in the 1960s and 1970s, also owned some coin laundries, and had a few combination buildings not unlike this. Here’s a report of one. Our hobby certainly turns up some historical curiosities!
Appropriately, then, at J-Bo’s, the emphasis is on Memphis-style barbecue. It’s pulled pork with a sweet brown sauce, smoked in a steel upright. I picked beans and slaw as my sides. The slaw was pretty bland, but the beans are just fantastic. Unfortunately, and I have sometimes felt this way before with Memphis-style barbecue, it really was too sweet of a meal. I should have asked for the meat dry, but on this trip, as mentioned in the previous chapter, I was on the lookout for some Hudson/Wallace-style sauce and was curious what I would be served.
Marie and our son shared a fried peach pie which they really enjoyed. Marie said that it was one of the best fried pies that she’s had in quite a while. So that’s our pro tip: get the pork without sauce, have some beans and a pie, and watch the spin cycles through that oddball window.
We drove into Carrollton via GA-16, which meant we passed through the downtown square on our way to the restaurant. After we ate, we parked downtown and spent a little while walking around and visited one of my absolute favorite bookstores in the state. It is called Underground Books and it’s completely awesome. It’s also located right next door to yet another of the city’s barbecue joints, Sam’s House, which I chose to save for another day. Underground is definitely worth a visit. They have some really fun treasures here.
We also found some pretty neat folk art by an area hotel as we made our way out of town. Carrollton is a really neat little city, and worth checking out sometime, especially if you’re looking for some good barbecue. Billy Bob’s remains my favorite in the area, but visitors have a lot to sample.
You can see all the restaurants that we have visited for our blog on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s a terrific resource for anybody planning a road trip through the southeast!