Granville’s Gourmet Ribs & BBQ

22 May 2011
Average Cost ($8-$14)
North Huntsville
2 out of 5

Melanie’s Take

I love places that serve great food in an unassuming atmosphere. I guess this explains why I want to go on a “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” roadtrip sometime soon. There’s just something about a hole-in-the-wall with food so good that you’re reminded why they’re in business in the first place. Most of us get over the less-than-attractive decor just to have our tastebuds pleased. When we walked up to Granville’s, I expected the typical mom and pop experience, but what I got was one that will prevent me from returning. Although the smells wafting from the smoker out front were a good sign of the tasty meats to come, the inside of Granville’s was unkempt. It wasn’t in that charming hole-in-the-wall way, but in that someone-should-call-the-health-department way. After we placed our orders at the counter, I moved to the fountain machine and found a trail of something green running down from the ice dispenser. I chose against the ice and went for the lukewarm water.
I opted for a booth against one of the walls, and we waited for our orders. Because they were obviously understaffed (the poor girl who took our orders also assembled plates of food and served us), it took a while for our food to arrive. When it did, I was happy that I had gone with the cheerful worker’s recommendation of brisket. The meat was tender and rich with smokiness. The sides, like so many barbecue joints’ sides, were forgettable. The green beans were a salt lick, even for a southerner, and the mac and cheese had a sauce that didn’t resemble anything close to real cheese. Shane says I’m a mac and cheese snob, and maybe I am, but come on people; let’s at least put some real cheese in there! The last strike against Granville’s was that its owner came out to one of the tables and offered a complimentary side dish to them in the hearing of the entire dining area. A patron at another table actually asked what he offered, and he made an awkward attempt to offer them some as well. Maybe I’m just sour that it wasn’t us receiving the offer, but I think it was poor form. There were only four parties in there; share the love!

Shane’s Take

We’ve been to a few places where I wanted to give more praise, but I just couldn’t do it. Meridian Street Cafe is a good example. It was a decent place to dine and run by a friendly, unassuming guy, but the food was boring and the decorations a mess. I just couldn’t give him the props I wanted. Granville’s is much the same way. It’s an unassuming hole-in-the-wall rib joint located in the poorer part of town–the kind of place where awesome food and friendly people ought to be found–but the food is forgettable and the service lacking refinement.
For my meal, I ordered the ribs with a side of sweet potatoes and collard greens, all of it recommended by the order taker. The ribs had a nice rub and a pretty good smoky flavor, but they were terribly tough. They weren’t shoe leather, but I was exhausted by the time I finished. Also, they emitted a distinct smell that reminded me of cigar smoke. I don’t mind the smell of a cigar, but it’s not really made for eating, you know? The sweet potatoes tasted okay but had a strange texture. If felt like I was eating mashed potatoes that were never drained and never made it to the beater. I didn’t care for it. On the other hand, the collard greens tasted good: Granville clearly doesn’t hesitate to throw some pork fat in his vegetables, and I appreciate that. Our service was okay. The person who took our order was helpful but not exceptionally friendly. Melanie mentioned the owner offering food a select group of patrons, which was strange. I appreciated the gesture, but it was ill-advised. Watching the order-taker, the owner, and one other employee work, I was left with little doubt that they were understaffed that night. I also got the eerie feeling that food safety was not a priority. As long as the food is tasty, I typically don’t think about how it’s prepared, but Granville’s kitchen left me worrying, and the unimpressive flavors didn’t soothe me.
In the end, I can’t recommend Granville’s. It smells good and looks appealingly homebrewed, and the owner seems to be trying hard, but the flavor isn’t there, and a health inspection would shatter the place. I don’t think I’ll return. Parting Shots:
  • With the name being Granville’s Gourmet Ribs & BBQ, I expected something gourmet about the place. Trust me, it’s about as gourmet as funnel cakes at the county fair.
  • The music? That live Eagles DVD that Wal-mart hawked so much a few years go. I liked it. Stevie Ray Vaughn was jamming by the time we left.
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