‘Round these parts, the word “roast beef” evokes late nights on Revere Beach, milling around outside Kelly’s among meatheads and women as orange as you can find them this side of the Jersey Shore. But Banjo’s is a cow of a different color. Here, the beef (and pork) is Southern BBQ style, more like a Redbones or Blue Ribbon, complete with ribs if you’d like them. First founded in Brockton in 2007, owner Bill Martin has expanded the restaurant twice, first to Weymouth and now Cambridge.
The newest incarnation moved into the abandoned KFC that sat boarded up for several years just outside of Porter Square. You won’t recognize the place; even the interior’s been completely renovated and reinvented. The only remnant of its fast-food days is you still order at the counter … but the food’s brought right to your table, and it’s not what the Colonel had in mind.
I started with the Jackson BBQ beef sandwich ($6.99), a heaping pile of bourbon-roasted beef on a fresh-baked roll, topped with a cheddar cheese sauce. The beef was lean and extremely flavorful, and the bread had enough heft to stand up to the juicy meat and sauce. My friend went for the BBQ pork sandwich ($6.49), a pulled-pork number with a citrusy dressing. The accompanying coleslaw was fresh and crisp with a hint of hot mustard. And for a bigger bite than a burger, they offer platefuls of meat and sides with their suppers for around 10 dollars.
Boston Burger Company
The BBC (the restaurant, not the network with the Monty Python accents) offers more than 20 burgers … but there are even more varieties available, considering the fact that you can sub traditional certified Angus beef for turkey or veggie patties.
BBC boasts their use of “fresh” ingredients. Well, that shines through in both the quality of their toppings and the inventive menu. An old classic like the “Boston Burger” ($7.50), topped with lettuce, tomato and onion, is upstaged by the likes of “The King,” which includes peanut butter, of all things; or the “Artery Clogger” ($8.25), a beer-battered, deep-fried number with bacon, cheese and BBQ sauce that ought to come with a Surgeon General’s warning; or “The Kitchen Sink” ($9.95), which is essentially a breakfast platter sitting on top of a burger. As if that weren’t enough, creative types can build their own burgers (and come up with their own names for them! Might we suggest the “The Antacid”?). So, if Banjo’s offers traditional Southern beef, BBC offers everything else.
The large portions will leave you satisfied, though the thick-cut homemade chips are so delicious and addictive, you might have to go to potato rehab after your meal.