Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ridgewood Barbecue

I'm venturing into some dangerous territory here. Forget Chevy's, apple pie and hot dogs, in this area barbecue is king. People will defend their favorite Barbecue joint as if it were a family member. So having acknowledged the danger and sensitivity (yes, even the peril) of rendering an opinion on this subject, I'd like put forth my humble opinion (and simple truth)...the hands-down, greatest barbecue to be found anywhere on this planet is at Ridgewood Barbecue near Bluff City, TN. Thank you.

If you're visiting the Tri-Cities and can only visit one restaurant, look no further. The homemade sweet and tangy barbecue sauce will change your life. The pork sandwich itself is smoked and succulent (maybe I should write reviews for a living), and not dried out like other places (I'll refrain from naming names). I like to start out with the Blue Cheese and Crackers for an appetizer. You're saying, that's weird -- to which I say, this is no ordinary blue cheese dressing. Trust me. For the main course, I order the barbecue pork sandwich, complete with cole slaw on the sandwich. It comes stacked high and falling out the sides. The homemade fries are delicious -- and big enough to easily be shared by two or three. The baked beans are out-of-this-world-amazing.

If you go during peak meal times, expect to wait (As well as have a tough time finding a parking spot). I recommend going early or after the main rush -- but even then it'll be crowded.

Their hours:
Monday thru Thursday, 11 am to 7:30pm
Friday and Saturday, 11 am to 2:30 pm; 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm
It's closed Sundays and most holidays.
Their address: 900 Elizabethton Highway, Bluff City, TN 37618 (map here)
Their phone number: 423-538-7543

For reviews, directions and discussion from barbecue aficionados, click here and here.
To learn about the history of Ridgewood, click here.

Ridgewood Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. I live here and love Ridgewood's BBQ. However, their service is often snobish and rude. I guess they know the food is good and they don't care about how they treat you. I still like to eat it because it is good, but I have been frustrated with being hung up on, smarted off to, and just plain ignored. With BBQ that good, however, it's sure the service won't ever really hurt them.

  2. It is good stuff, but it's near Bluff City - not Blountville.

  3. Made the correction -- Thanks! :)

  4. I have never been mistreated as a customer. The ladies are very busy and don't spend time chit chatting, but I don't go there for the banter, I go for the blue cheese dip, cole slaw, and BBQ. It is so good.

  5. I had dinner there tonight, excellent as usual. A group from China was there with a party. One man was taking pictures everywhere in the restaurant. I keep forgetting that this is a nationally recognized restaurant in the middle of nowhwere!

  6. I work at Ridgewood Bbq I have been there for Five years and,We dont belive in treating our Customers with any Disrespect. We are here for you the Customers, even though rudeness does happen for time to time, You also got to take in that we get a LOT of Rude people in Ridgewood that make our job harder, we are people too we also get a little upset when someone comes in and has a bad addatude with us, I know all to well myself I can get mad sometime to.If you are Treated Rudely we are Turely sorry.

  7. Ridgewood BBQ ROCKS! I have lived in this area most of my life, and have eaten BBQ everywhere, from Texas to the NC coast, and in my humble opionion, none can compare! They only use the best cuts of pork, the hams and the shoulders, and anyone who has had a sugar or salt cured shoulder, right out of the smokehouse, knows what I am talking about, when I say 'best cuts'. The sauce speaks for itself, one of a kind, 'nuff said. And, as for the staff, they have always been very efficient, one has to take into consideration that the restaurant is always packed, remember the the golden rule, and how to treat people, you usually get back what you give out, in my experience, anyway. So, if you want the best plate of BBQ anywhere, and you don't mind a little drive and on most occasions a wait for a table, then head on up towards Bluff City, you won't regret it!

  8. To the Anonymous Worker who commented June 3-- My first experience at Ridgewood was the day after I got engaged 5 years ago. Our waitress took our drink order, then sat down at our booth to take a closer look at my ring and have a chat. That made my night! Tonight we brought our cousin from Jersey and he ordered a second blue cheese. We (my husband, the waitress, and myself) told him no, one would be enough. Waitress came with the cheese, nudged cousin, "Think this is enough for ya?" The waitstaff, if given a chance, is playful. I don't have these funny experiences each time I go, but I've never had a rude waitress-- perhaps a rushed waitress-- but you have a lot to do!
    As my husband said, "Ridgewood is the happiest place on earth." We know when we go we will leave fat and happy.

  9. I have been going to Ridgewood for a decade and it is ok. They need to figure out that "Pulled Pork" isn't cut with a's chopped. Also, the fact that the most comments are about their Blue Cheese dressing speaks volumes about their BBQ. It's Blue Cheese dressing. Very easy to make.

    1. Well sounds like you got it all figured out. You should open your own resturant.

  10. I have to TOTALLY disagree about the service. It is excellent. I have been going for years and have never had a bad service or rude or unfriendly waiter. I do know that if you have an attitude, which is probably the case above, you would still get great service, but probably not as friendly. They didnt get the reputation they have by poorly treating customers. If they did everyone would just get take out. Seriously, common sense prevails.

  11. I too have to say I have never had anything but AWESOME service, and I am from Boston, and very particular, and have always found the servers to be quite friendly and engaging. I LOVE this place, and go every time I'm there. I also have orders each time for gallons of barbecue sauce that I have to bring back with me.


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