Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tom's BBQ the Seventh (Heaven) Stop on the Tour

Tom's Bar-B-Q was one of the four restaurants on the food network's, Diner's Drive-Ins and Dive's. Adam the owner had lifesize pictures of Guy Fieri, the host all over the place. Tom's originally was a gas station owned by two ladies then Tom bought it from them and started a bbq joint. Meanwhile,  Adam the current owner was running a small bbq joint out of a gas station in Whitehaven. He then offered to buy Tom's, but Tom had him work for him for over six month before he could purchase it. What a wonderful job Adam has done with Tom's, including his Middle Eastern charm. Courtney mentioned to Adam that we were doing a bbq tour and he totally hooked us up. He let us sample everything from the bologna, to the catfish, to the 'special' spaghetti, to the rip tips! Whew, what an experience....

We went to Tom's on November 13, 2008. 

Kembree's Review: I don't think I had ever been to the part of town that Tom's is located in. Its more of an industrial area, but right off Getwell and it didn't take to long to get there from Cordova. It is very close to the street, so that makes sense that it was a gas station. When you walk in you can tell that they 
have enclosed the eating area that seats about 30 people. They had two huge menus up for fast service when you order and by the time you make it around to pay, you food is ready and handed to you. I got the pulled pork sandwich that was really good. The meat was tender, juicy and very smoky. I loved both of the sauces, the hot and regular. The regular spaghetti as my side was just ok, but did try Adam's special spaghetti and it was wonderful, lots of great cheese and special spices. The catfish was amazing..so delicious, a buttery lightly breaded amazingly seasoned
piece of fish. The bologna was fabulous too, perfectly sliced for
dipping into the sauce. The rib tips were ok, just too much work for me, I tend to not like to chew up something and then spit something out. We look some home to Lennox and Lane and they loved them.  The ribs...ah...the baby back ribs...the meat completely falls off the bone, again with a wonderful seasoning..I would give the sandwich a 4 out of 5, and the ribs a 4.5 out of 5. I really think this is a spot that one HAS to try if they are tasting bbq around Memphis. You cannot get hospitality like this anywhere, especially at a fast food bbq joint. Adam really make the place special. 

Courtney's Review: Tom's BBQ is my hands down favorite stop so far on 
our 'tour'.  Our host and owner, Adam, went above and beyond to make our first of may visits extra special.  His level of hospitality and generosity is something you don't find too often anymore...especially in the restaurant business. The pork on the sandwich was moist and tender with a mild smokey flavor. I went with the mild sauce this time and loved it. I'm not usually a fan of ribs because its too much work, but Tom's ribs were so tender the meat literally fell off the bone. His version of dry ribs with a Greek Seasoning rub made them surprising and delicious. (I wish he sold that season. Cant wait to go back!

Diane's Review: Tom's Barbecue was delicious. The pork sandwich was of high quality and very tasty. It was probably my favorite so far. I have already recommended Toms to Rick, our friend, who you all have met. He considers himself a barbecue aficionado. He wanted to know all about it. Its amazing that as native Memphians we had never heard of Tom's. Of course it goes without saying., that the reason that Tom's is such a success and has so many people for lunch is Adam.
What a host! I think that we all agree that he was so generous with all with all of his specialities. If all of his guests are treated as we were, he will have to build another addition.  I liked the 
baby back ribs, the catfish, the Mediterranean spaghetti as well. As far as a score, I would give it a 4.5. 

Randy's Review:  Randy agrees with everything Diane wrote above. He would give the whole place a 4.5-5.0. In addition, he liked the rid with the dry rub. The rib tips were probably good for people who like them. It might be a little too much work. The service was fast and the host was terrific.  We said as far as he's concerned that we didn't have an others to visit. 

Regina's Review: Oh my goodness! I was floored by the hospitality at this place. Next time I go the JIM Promotions I will be stopping in! The BBQ pork was quite delicious, not smothered in sauce.  The babyback ribs were fabulously tender and the dry Greek seasoning was a fresh approach in my book. I was blown away by the fried catfish and come Lent I may have to make the trip for a Friday treat.  I really like the bbq'd bologna and this one did not disappoint---cut into chunks and served with sauce on the side.  I will have to say that the slaw and beans at this location take a backseat. Although we did not discuss the preparation with Adam, I think the slaw is a prepared mix with a prepared dressing and the beans also. But doesn't matter, they were a tasty
complement! Still licking my lips over this one---I give it a 4.5---hard to beat! 

Dale's Review: (First time reviewer, Linda's husband) Best barbecued bologna I've ever eaten. I'd go back anytime for the catfish;the seasoning and fresh this battered crust made it very tasty.  

Linda's Review:  This is a highly efficient restaurant. It was very busy-always a good sign that your food is going to be fresh.  The counter servers were friendly, and didn't miss a beat while filling orders.  I decided to try Tom's signature rib tips, on a plate rather than sandwich, per the advice of the servers. My ribs were crispy-they looked fried-and were very hard to eat.  Every bite had a nugget of rib surrounded by chewy pork.  They were a lot of work! On the other hand, Dale's barbecue sandwich was absolutely delicious; moist and tender, with the right amount of sauce.  As Regina said, the beans and slaw were pretty average.  I wasn't terribly impressed by the food, until we had the opportunity to taste the baby backs, smoked bologna, Mediterranean style spaghetti, and the catfish. The ribs were the plumpest, meatiest I've eaten so far, and the covered with a dry rub that was
 distinctly different from the Memphis norm.  I was able to distinguish bits of thyme, rosemary and cardamom seeds in what Adam called his "Greek spices rub".  These ribs didn't shrink during the cooking process and were very flavorful. I'd never tasted bologna prepared this way, and I'm not usually a big bologna fan, but this was a spicy treat!  The saucy spaghetti was blanketed in a combination of melted cheeses, which was delicious.  I echo Dale's sentiments about the catfish.  All in all, it was a feast! What made this trip so special besides my table companions, was the expansive friendliness of the owner, Adam.  He epitomizes hospitality.  His enthusiasm for cooking and serving are contagious, and I wont hesitate to recommend his labor of love to anyone.  I'm looking forward to bringing my out-of-town guests to enjoy the best of Tom's! 

Tony's Review: I got there right at the end of the meal.  Kembree did get me an order of baby back ribs that Adam kept warm for me in the back. They were really good and the dry seasoning was nice.  I liked everything that I got to sample from the catfish, to the bologna, to the rib tips. I took the rib tips home and ate a little bit more the next day, but they aren't the best cut of the meat, so not my favorite.  I would give the ribs a 4 out of 5 and would for sure come back and eat with Adam again. 

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