Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Beer, Bikes and BBQ: A Review of Mac's Speedshop

The entrance of Mac's Speedshop
This is a hard review for me to write because it's the first time I've had to write a review about a place that I have been to this many times.  Mac's Speedshop was the first place I went for a meal in Charlotte (well, after Bojangles the night we arrived).  Mac's has three locations, Lake Norman, Steel Creek and Southend.  This review speaks specifically to the Southend location.  But why, exactly, do I find myself returning to Mac's so often? 

The BBQ Sauce, my favorite is the vinegar (the black label)

I have an active son, who is approaching 2 ½, so I am always pleased to find restaurants that are consistent and provide good entertainment.  Mac’s does that. Between a lively restaurant, live music several days a week, and all the bikes parked out front, I can guarantee my son will have a great time (we haven’t even started on the crayons).  But it’s not just him, the rest of the family is entertained as well.  The service is always fine, sometimes better than others, but it’s the kind of place where you will be entertained even if it’s a little slow or a little brusk.

I don’t know if you have noticed, but I’m a big fan of beer.  I must admit, I like beer more than wine.  Mac’s is a place where I am never disappointed by the beer.  During my first visit, I found a beer that I’d only found one other time at a bar in New York, Sweaty Betty.  If they ever have it on their menu again, I highly recommend checking it out.  But if not, you will find something interesting.  Their beer menu has no less than 142 options.  You can go as mundane as Budweiser to something more exotic, like the New Holland Poet Oatmeal Stout I tried the other day.  They have several North Carolina beers on the list (and on Saturday, select NC drafts are $3.50).  No matter your taste, you can't go wrong.
Yum, beer!

We always go off menu for our appetizer, and order the hushpuppies, which I adore.  I find many of their other fried items a bit overdone.  I like the bite in their Tabasco fried pickles ($4), but found them a bit too hard for my taste (I prefer the flakier fried pickles found at the Penguin, Diamond, and Pinky’s).  I have the same problem with the onion rings.  The pork nachos ($9), piled with BBQ pork, green onions, pickled jalapenos, cheese and sour cream are very good, but if you get the pork plate, you may want to stick with something pork-less.

The not-so-good fried food

As for the barbeque, I am no expert, although I'm learning more about it since moving to North Carolina.  Many argue that some of the best in Charlotte can be found at Mac’s, and, as a non-barbeque-expert, I have always enjoyed my barbeque there ($10 for a small plate and $12 for a large, including two sides).  The sides can be a bit hit or miss.  I suggest sticking to the classics.  The mac and cheese, and the collard greens are my favorites.  Their salad is a bit heavy on the lettuce, and I found myself picking out the tomatoes and the bacon.  I stick mainly to the pulled pork, because that is usually what I’m craving, but the smoked turkey is pretty spectacular as well.  The ribs and brisket are good, I’ve had better and I have had much worse.  I have to admit, the beer can chicken doesn’t stand up to my favorite version of this dish, prepared by my husband, master of meat.  If you are going with a group, check out the “Whole Lot of Stuff” for $26, and try a bit of it all (well, four of five choices, anyway)!
The very good side items

For dessert, I recommend the chocolate brownie ($5)… after all, you’ve already you’re your diet aside stepping into Macs, so who can resist a brownie with ice cream?  I have not tried their whiskey cheesecake ($6), but it is definitely next on the list.

Really, even with it's weaknesses, if you want a fun place to enjoy your dinner, you can't go wrong at Mac's.  They are always happy to serve families, and are undaunted by active little ones.  I highly recommend the patio seating when possible, although be warned that their live music gets a little too loud for good conversation (Though this has not yet deterred my son from enjoying himself).  But even if you opt to sit indoors, you won’t be disappointed.


Mac's Speedshop
2511 South Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28203

Addresses for the other two locations are:
19601 Liverpool Parkway
Cornelius, NC 28031

2414 Sandy Porter Road
Charlotte, NC 28273
Mac's Speed Shop BBQ on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment