When it comes to barbecue, everyone has their favorite type – South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana. For Stan Phillips it’s all about Kansas City.
He missed it so much when he moved to the area several years ago, he quit the job he came here for and opened Stan’s Bar-B-Q on Front Street.
The smokehouse is one of several restaurants participating in Issaquah’s Restaurant Month this March.
It’s also one of the few barbecue success stories in the Seattle area. Although ribs slathered in barbecue sauce is truly American, it’s easier to find a Korean restaurant than smoked brisket.
Phillips isn’t shy about his business model – good barbecue. Since opening his restaurant six years ago he’s won several awards and put a barbecue place down the street out of business.
While parts of South Carolina like vinegar and pepper and Texas likes its mop sauce, Kansas City cooks its meats with a dry rub, he said.
It’s then served with a side of sweet sauce, which is really more of a dipping sauce. Stan’s has three types, which are served on the side.
“My dad used to say, if you cover your barbecue in sauce, you’re trying to hide something,” he said.
Don’t come to Phillips looking for corn bread, that’s supposed to be served with fish, not barbecue, he said.
All the sandwiches are served on white bread. Don’t try to argue, it’s the Kansas City way.
Phillips learned how to barbecue everything from his father, who had a brick smoker in the backyard. A black and white photo of his dad holding up a rack of ribs adorns the bar wall.
The restaurant is so focused on smoking its meats that it didn’t bother buying an oven. Pulled pork, smoked 12 hours, and brisket, smoked 14 hours, are the crown jewels of the menu, but it doesn’t stop there.
Try hot links, smoked turkey or smoked hot wings, which Phillips recommends washing down with a beer specially shipped from Kansas City.
Everything is piled high, making the roll of paper towels on each table a fitting substitute for napkins.
Sides make the meal complete, and massive. Try the house-made creamed corn, which has a little cayenne pepper for a kick.
The business fits well in the 123-year-old building, which has a Western settler’s feel. Its facade was restored last month.
A screen door greets visitors, giving the feeling that you’ve just walked into a neighbor’s house for a community barbecue.
Old wood floors and plenty of dark woods make the place clean but casual. Every seat in the house has a view of the bar, but it’s still kid-friendly.
During football season the bar shows NFL ticket, and has a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar. Happy hour specials include $5 drinks, and they make smoked meatballs on the weekends.