Sunday, July 18, 2010

Restaurant Review: 521 BBQ & Grill, Indian Land, SC

We heard about 521 BBQ & Grill from my sister Karen, who mentioned that friends had eaten there and liked the food, so on Saturday morning we headed down US 521 (hence the name) to Indian Land, so named because the Catawba tribe lives in the area.

Sara and I had passed by this restaurant while travelling on several occasions without noting its presence because of poor signage:

You can see that, although there is plenty of room above that awning to affix a large, prominent sign, all that the owners currently have is a mini-sign in dark colors that make it hard to read what is advertised; further signage is painted on the window, but as you can see, when there are cars parked in front of the restaurant, the signage on the window is hard to see, too.

There was a good bit of business in the restaurant when we entered for lunch. A medical facility is just down the road, as is a local fire department and police department; three cops were eating at the time we entered.

The waitress took our drinks and left us to check out the menu. I ordered a BBQ tray:

Sara had the BBQ plate, which has more side items:

In addition, I had some fried mozzarella sticks. The BBQ was a good mix of outside brown and inside white meat, a little dry; portions were a bit stingy compared to other BBQ places we've eaten at. Three sauces were available: vinegar-based eastern NC sauce; sweet brown tomato-based sauce typical of Memphis (Sara said it tasted like Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce) and yellow mustard-based SC-style sauce, this latter tasting much like Maurice's BBQ sauce. Hush puppies were hand-formed and edible, otherwise unremarkable. French fries were the typical BBQ joint crinkle cuts; a large pile of these in the tray, to fill it out; without them, the tray would have looked rather empty with just the BBQ and pups.

The waitress was efficient and kept our drinks topped up. I noted that the staff was entirely female, as a matter of fact; waitresses, cashier and cooks, all.

The food was average pork BBQ, pretty much what you find throughout North and South Carolina. I'll give 521 BBQ & Grill a 3 on my 5-scale of BBQ restaurants: 3 out of 5: average; reasonably good food, moderate effort by staff/management. We'll eat there again if we happen to be in the area and craving BBQ, but have no reason to make a special trip for it. They're hurting their potential business by not improving their signage, would get more customers if people could identify this storefront as a BBQ restaurant when passing by on the highway.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sample the ribs next time and see what you think; probably better than the chopped pork.