Avon calling: Pig Daddy's moves BBQ indoors
Something about summer makes Dish hungry to explore out-of-the-way eateries in and around her own hometown. A few weeks ago, I brought readers along with me to Aroma's, an off-the-beaten-track Mediterranean café/teria near the Fontaine Research Park.
Well, this week brings another savory discovery Pig Daddy's BBQ. Cavalier football fans might recall Pig Daddy's stall at Scott Stadium last season. But this week Dish brings you to the new hub of this expanding business, where owner Steve Adkins is cookin' up some pork-proud plans.
If you're timing is right and your eyesight keen, you might just spot Pig Daddy's enormous catering trailer on the right as you head south on Avon Street Extended. If you don't, then be sure to turn right onto Avon Court (at Edgecomb's Auto) and right again into the little office park called Astec Center.
Go around to the back of the building. (What is it about barbecue places? They always seem to be down 'round back.) Back there, follow the signs to Pig Daddy's kitchen, where you'll likely find Adkins taking phone orders or choppin' pork with the cleaver he inherited from his barbecue-guru granddad.
When I stopped by earlier this month, I found him on the phone, desperately searching for employees to help keep up with the increasing demand for his victuals. Since he moved into this permanent retail and catering kitchen a few months ago– after two mobile years in the custom trailer now permanently parked outside– Adkins has been working overtime.
In addition to the new take-out menu, which includes his famous pork and chicken barbecue (available in sandwiches or by-the-pound), beef and bean chili, sweet potato fries with cinnamon sugar, hushpuppies with homemade honey butter and bikini-bustin' desserts like deep-fried Snickers- Pig Daddy's is also busy catering weddings and parties (oyster and whole hog roasts) and gearing up for tailgate deliveries come football season.
If you can't find the kitchen, Pig Daddy's barbecue is available at 14 locations around town, including Bellair and Shadwell markets and City Lights restaurant on Carlton Avenue.
A North Carolina native, Adkins decided to devote himself entirely to barbecue- a family tradition- when the drought dried up his landscaping business three years ago. So far, no regrets.
"No one ever told me 'This is the best mulch job I've ever had,' but they do say it about my barbecue," Adkins says. He adds that the secret to his barbecue's flavor is that, instead of chopping or hand-pulling, he minces the meat with a cleaver, just like granddad did. He says that mincing results in more contact surface and thus more sauce-enhanced flavor. Soon to go nationwide, his 20-ingredient, tomato-vinegar "Squeal Sauce" may be reason enough to make the trip to Pig Daddy's.
"I'm really hoping to raise the bar a bit on barbecue and bring back the lost tradition of Southern hospitality," he says.
Monday night "Love" at Starr Hill
Monday means get back to work for most of us. But for restaurant employees– who generally work so we can play– Monday brings a much-deserved night off. Previously closed on Mondays, Starr Hill now invites all restaurant staffers (and the rest of us, too!) to dine and party from 5pm on starting on Monday, June 13.
This new "Love-In"– as it's been unofficially dubbed– will star the brewery's seasonal wheat beer and– back by popular demand– smoked trout wontons (a signature appetizer from the Blue Ridge Brewery days).
Live-music will also be part of the Monday-night fun. Since there is such a thing as too much love, Starr Hill has decided to close on Sundays– unless, of course, there's a concert scheduled in the upstairs Music Hall.
Steve Atkins at Pig Daddy's
PHOTO BY CHRISTINA BALL