With all the building going on in Raleigh downtown, it feels as if areas like Glenwood South gets left out but that’s certainly not the case. While there may not be many high-rise buildings going up here, there’s plenty of construction at a lower level. And a recent spate of new restaurants in this hood has brought a new barbeque and meats offering to the area, Southern Charred! Brought to you by the folks from Bunch of Fives Hospitality (Anchor Bar, Milk Bar, MOFU Shoppe), Southern Charred is doing things quite differently when it comes to que joints. Here’s how my visits have gone down!
As a fairly long-time resident to the area, you’ll recognize Southern Charred’s location as the old Red Room tapas bar. But there have been SIGNIFICANT changes to the space. Brick pillars have been removed at the sidewalk opening up the patio. Inside you’ve got several roll-up garage doors for air and sunshine and a large, slick white bar has been put in back. Wood paneling, floors and tables complete the look for a more mod and hip space. And there’s a handful of TVs to catch the latest game, overhead. And I’ll admit, it threw me for a bit. In my head I was trying to decide if Southern Charred was more of a bar or restaurant. Let’s just say it walks a fine line between the two.
Southern Charred has one menu but is open for both lunch and dinner serving up a good variety of Southern barbeque (pork, brisket, chicken, ribs) along with a selection of sides (collard greens, Carolina slaw, baked beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potato tots, mac n cheese, cucumber-onion salad, brunswick stew and potato salad). Meats are available as plates, combo plates and sandwiches! And prices are quite reasonable with appetizers from $6 to $12 and sandwiches-plates from $9 to $20. Southern Charred is open for lunch but does not have a special menu for your mid-day meal.
For my visit I decided to stick to the basics ordering up the smoked wings and a barbeque sandwich. My smoked wings comes out, five on a brown-paper lined tray and served up glistening with some Alabama white sauce. The chicken meat is nicely cooked and the skin is scored with dark char marks. But I’m curious about exactly how the meat is prepared here, how it’s smoked and prepared. Overall a nice job, the meat is tasty but a bit plain and simple on the flavor.
The barbeque sandwich looks great, served up on a puffy, sweet brioche bun and topped with slivers of carrot and slaw for some texture. Southern Charred is serving up some tender pork but again, I’m finding it hard to find much flavor or smokiness that you would usually find in some good que. I toss on some sauce to amp up the flavors a bit but I usually try not to sauce my meat up, too much. But definitely a thumbs-up for the hushpuppies and honey butter that come with the sandwich! The beans and bread-butter pickles are pretty solid sides to the overall meal here.
A second visit turns up a decent brisket sandwich covered in pimento cheese. The meat is reasonably tender but again, doesn’t show off much flavor so I find myself reaching for the barbeque sauce again. Service for both my visits was ok but a bit unseasoned and overly casual (IMO), they still seem to be finding their legs here. Southern Charred is doing a decent job with its food but I definitely see room for improvement. While the food is reasonable along with the prices charged, there are some misses with the food (watery white sauce, smokiness to the meat). There are also opportunities to improve the service, which could be more professional. So I’m curious to see what happens over time. I’m not entirely sure if Southern Charred is more restaurant or bar, only time will tell…
510 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 101
Raleigh, NC 27603