By T. Jensen Lacey

On any given day around 10:30 or so, a line of hungry people forms outside this iconic building at 552 North Section Street in Fairhope, waiting for the doors to open so they can enjoy a memorable lunch (or, later in the day, dinner). 

Originally opened under a different owner and manager, after a protracted length of time being closed, surviving COVID, refurbishing the building to modern standards, and renovating the kitchen, this new and improved version of Original Ben’s Jr. Bar-b-que opened in December of 2023. 

Under the co-ownership of Will Fusaiotti and Jeremiah Matthews (the latter of whom also owns and operates Southwood Kitchen in Daphne), this newest incarnation of the old Ben’s has an expanded menu with more (and better) sides than previously offered.

On our visit, we had a sampling of menu offerings and were impressed and delighted with every single one. They offer a variety of burgers, barbecue sandwiches (brisket, pulled pork, and smoked turkey breast), chicken sandwiches (Cajun style or original), and the Ben’s Classic Club, loaded with turkey, ham, bacon, and fully dressed. Their kids’ offerings include a burger, pulled pork sandwich, chicken tenders, a smoked turkey sandwich, a grilled cheese, and mac ‘n cheese.

At this new iteration of Ben’s all the sides they have now are nothing short of fantastic, and you could make a meal out of those alone.  Sides include crispy and excellently seasoned steak fries, mashed potatoes and gravy, mac ‘n cheese, potato salad, barbecue beans, coleslaw, a small green salad, and (one of our favorites) cider-braised collard greens.

Their combination platters can be enough for two light diners or one hearty construction worker. They include pulled pork butt, baby back ribs, chicken tenders, a prime brisket platter and hamburger steak.

Any restaurant with the best food offerings is nothing without good and attentive staff, and Ben’s people were all great, checking on patrons, smiling as they circulated the rooms, being quick to take orders, refilling drink glasses, and making sure they got orders right. 

The restaurant offers dine-in and take-out and recently added catering as an option. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Their number is 251.928.1211.

May 22, 2024
Epicurean Delights

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