Way back when I first got to Raleigh in 2008, there used to be a restaurant-club complex on the corner of Glenwood and Tucker. Housing Bogart’s, the Red Room and High 5, it was a fun place to spend the evening on the weekends. Brought to you by Rocky Top Hospitality, those restaurants closed about 3 or 4 years ago and replacements have languished since. But Rocky Top Hospitality moved on, still running restaurants like the Daily Planet, Twisted Fork and Tribeca Tavern in Raleigh. And I recently got wind of their new catering concept, Southland BBQ. A tasting event invite somehow landed in my email inbox so it was time to see what Rocky Top Hospitality has been doing the past few years. And I was excited to see what Dean Ogan (owner of Rocky Top) has been cooking up…
The Southland BBQ tasting event was to be held at the Merrimon-Wynne House on Blount Street so I was pretty excited to check out this new venue. Large, stately mansion up front and then a lawn and carriage house to the left where the event would be held. Tables were set outside with tealights along with the smoker and table of starters: Cheerwine chicken, potato salad and more. A large industrial smoker sat behind the table and I got a good look at all the delicious and savory meats being cooked on it.
Heading on inside I find a lively crowd bustling around. It’s a large, open space with a rustic but stylish feel. I spy the bar on the side and grab a glass of vino to get the evening started. There aren’t too many food-media folks represented here tonight, it looks more like a friends and family event. Appetizers are being passed around by hand and I get to sample the Southland BBQ BLT deviled egg! It’s a fresh deviled egg with a lovely roasted tomato on top and bacon on the side. A small leaf of greenery completes the BLT theme and it is delicious.
Southland BBQ has also set up a table of cold appetizers ranging from sweet potato biscuits, thin-sliced country ham, bacon, pimiento cheese and spreads. A great option if you’re looking for a tasty biscuit sandwich! But I’m more of a hot entree type person so I head on over to the side room where they have both a brisket and ribs station. The meats I saw being smoked outside are brought here for serving. The baby back ribs are slathered with a tangy sauce and I manage to get a nice thick slice of tender, smoky brisket with a bit of seared fat cap on top, yum! I can definitely taste the smoky flavor in the meat, excellent.
Back at our table, I dig into my plate with friends at the communal table (Holly K and Gina B). Thankfully, both of them are good eaters since I’m not super ravenous tonight. But we all agree that Southland BBQ has done a great job overall with their Southern fare. I’ve actually run into Rocky Top catering at several events/weddings and they are always commendable with their food. It’s excellently prepared with good ingredients, flavor and style. Plus tonight is a chance to experience Southland BBQ’s staff and service which is top-notch and professional.
But of course even with all this food, we can’t resist Southland BBQ’s dessert table. I lock in on a salted caramel brownie and lemon-blueberry trifle which hits the spot for finishing this lovely meal. Overall it was an impressive event full of wonderful food tonight, thanks Southland BBQ Catering! And certainly if you’re looking for a caterer for the holidays, a wedding or business event, give Vicki (Catering Operations Manager) over at Southland BBQ catering a call. I’m sure she’ll have your guests well-fed, well-served and happy, no matter what type of event you are throwing!