Phoebe’s Bar-B-Que – Philadelphia, PA
Phoebe’s Bar-B-Que (PBAR) claims to have been serving Philadelphia some of the best bbq and “Ribs with Attitude” since 1994. With such claims a visit was in order for a certified bbq judge like myself. PBAR is a take-out only location as it is so tiny; it was tight quarters with only one other person there picking up their order. Once to the counter my order would be a rack of ribs mild.
The first thing I noticed is that the staff seemed to be bothered just to take an order. The gentleman behind the counter gruffed, you need to make large orders in advance. I would not think that one rack of ribs would be considered a large order for a bbq destination, but who am I to say. He asked if I could come back in two hours. I did indeed come back. It might have been better if I did not.
The ribs were handed to me wrapped in tinfoil and cellophane. No bag, no carry-case, no napkins, no forks, no anything to make it seem like I was purchasing a meal at all. Once the package was opened carefully so not to have any juices or sauce drip anywhere, it was one of the saddest appearing set of ribs I have seen in a long time. I have been to backyard bbq’s with better presentation than what PBAR is putting out. Hoping that the looks were deceiving was dashed as soon as I bit into the first rib. It was rubbery, tough, bland, and a sad excuse to be called bbq. PBAR has been around since 1994, and they intrigue me on how. Should I have ordered pork or maybe the chicken? Then again, maybe if I ordered differently maybe I would not have thought of the counterperson as rude and gruff. Those are all maybes and what-ifs, and I have to judge PBAR on what I experienced, and what I had was something I will not be going back for anytime time soon or even at all with the only thing having attitude being the employees.