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.
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.