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City Barbeque (Portage)

October 24, 2022

  • 6395 S. Westnedge Avenue
  • Portage, MI 49002
  • (269) 210-0071
  • Website
  • Menu

When I first moved to Kalamazoo twelve years ago, I complained a lot about the lack of good BBQ in the area. That has certainly changed in the last decade or so.

There are a number of great local places that have popped up and you can almost always find a BBQ food truck whenever there are big food truck rallies. There have even been a couple of pretty decent national chains come in over the years.

More BBQ was added to the dining scene a few weeks ago when Ohio based City Barbeque opened up a location in Portage.

City Barbeque’s Portage location is on South Westnedge at Gladys Street right in front of Dick’s Sporting Goods. The restaurant is in a new build shopping center known as Union Commons. Before this building went up, the space was a bank. That building is long gone and replaced by delicious BBQ among other things.

I stopped in to City BBQ on a Friday not too long after they opened. The business is still fairly new but it wasn’t line out the door new.

You can do the online ordering thing and pick it up either inside or at a drive thru window on the side of the building. Heck, you can even order at the drive thru window so I think this makes City Barbeque the only BBQ place in town you can get a brisket sandwich without getting out of your car.

I went inside to order because I wasn’t planning on stopping. I just happened to be driving by and noticed it was open..and I always want BBQ for lunch.

The restaurant is counter service. A little hallway area forces you to the cash register when you walk in the door. The menus are on TV screens behind the cashier. This is a BBQ places though so you can pretty much guess what’s on the menu before you get to the front.

I put in an order for a Beef Brisket sandwich then added on a side of fries and mac & cheese. The cost was around $15 before tip.

I chose to take my meal to go so I just kind of hung out near the pick up area at the other end of the order counter. You can see in to the kitchen from and watch them crank out orders. BBQ can’t be cooked to order so it’s pretty much just slicing things up and getting them where they need to go. Even with a decent sized line in front of me, it took less than ten minutes for my order to come up.

There is a pretty large dining room should you choose to stay and eat. The theme is more modern industrial than southern roadhouse…but there are still whole rolls of paper towels on each table to wipe off all that sticky goodness.

I headed back to the office to eat after picking up a couple of bottles of Pepsi from the Meijer gas station down the road.

I started with the fries because I figured they would go cold first. The fries are fresh cut, skin on fries. They’re good enough on their own but I asked for some Brush Fire BBQ sauce on the side. The Brush Fire is their spicy BBQ sauce and it’s pretty spicy. I’ve never been one to dip my fries in ketchup…but BBQ sauce..that’s a different story. The fries were delicious on their own but more delicious with that spicy BBQ sauce.

I went to the Mac & Cheese next. This really had the texture and taste of a mass produced Mac & Cheese. Nothing wrong with it..just not really special either. The pasta is cavatappi noodles in a thick creamy sauce. It’s packed into the container so it just becomes a gelatinous blob.

Finally, time to get to the brisket. The sandwich was super tender, salty, delicious chopped brisket on a soft white bun. I still had a little bit of the Brush Fire BBQ sauce left over but I went for this sandwich without it. It didn’t need the BBQ sauce. The sandwich was a pretty good size considering the cost of brisket right now. I typically prefer a sliced brisket because it stays on the bun a little better but this brisket was tasty enough, it didn’t bother me to pick the droppings up with a fork.

This is the second time I’ve eaten at a City Barbeque. There’s one in Kentwood that I stopped at a few years ago and really liked. I was super excited to see one pop up in Portage. Yes, there are great local BBQ places but sometimes it’s the ease of the bigger chains and the variety that bring us in. City Barbeque won’t replace the local places, but it will supplement with some delicious food.

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