As the weather gets cooler, my food thoughts begin to turn from salad to warm, comfort food. I made pasta and meatballs last night for the first time this season.
My thoughts also turn to Bitter Bob’s in New Hope, the comfy, BBQ place on South Main Street. Particularly, I start fantasizing about the Bowl of Deliciousness. Born out of laziness, says Bob Kascik, owner and chef, it came about when they were finishing up and had this and that left over. Brisket, chicken, pork, seitan, Mac n’Cheese, beans and mashed potatoes or collards, depending upon what is at hand, topped off with a cheddar cheese sauce. Not surprisingly, it is now a customer favorite. I’m hungry.
Bob and his wife, Elisa, always wanted to open their own restaurant. It’s a story that began over 20 years ago on North Main Street in New Hope. That’s where Bob and Elisa first met, both working at Mother’s. It was Bob’s first experience cooking, which led to culinary school and over ten years in the corporate world with Sodexho and Aramark. Three years ago, they took the plunge and opened Bitter Bob’s and they have been fine-tuning this comfortable BBQ restaurant ever since.
“Our whole thought process going into the business was to make good, homemade food,” explains Kascik. Whether you’re warm and cozy inside, or hanging out on the front patio watching New Hope’s wild life go by, it’s a place to get good food without “leaving your wallet behind,” says Kascik. The patio is also one of the only dog-friendly places you can eat in New Hope.
Let’s talk barbecue first, then we’ll cover the rest of the ever-expanding menu choices. Bitter Bob’s gives you the option of three regional styles of barbecue, so everyone can find something to make them happy.
Texas-style uses a dry rub on the meat, smoking it over hickory and some fruit woods, and serving it with sauce. The Memphis/Kansas style (I know, I know. I’m sure this probably offends a bunch of people from both of those places to lump them together. Deal with it.) uses a tomato-based barbecue sauce with a little bit of heat combined with some sweetness. Finally, you can get your North Carolina-style too, with a tart vinegar sauce. You can order your meat with sauce on it, or on the side, which I wholeheartedly approve of. I don’t trust barbecue places that slather the sauce on the meat before it hits the table. What are they hiding? Let me taste it and decide what to put on.
The most popular barbecue dish is the Tasting Platter, says Kascik. You can choose from ribs, brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, BBQ seitan, or BBQ chicken breast, and it comes with cornbread and two sides, all for $12.99. Sides include traditional cole slaw, cilantro cole slaw, fries, the Mashed Potato Du Jour, BBQ beans, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato fries, or collard greens. You’ll also find comfort food favorites like turkey meatloaf with gravy, and pot roast.
The “Mac Daddy” has become another customer favorite. Kascik explains the process: they take macaroni and cheese, form it into a “slice,” bread it, and deep fry it. Then top it with brisket, chicken or pork. I know that may seem excessive, but it calls to me in a very primal way. Talk about comfort food.
Not to worry, though, not everything on the menu is a heart attack with barbecue sauce and two sides. Kascik has been expanding the menu with a variety of healthier options. If you are a vegetarian barbecue fan, try the “Tree Hugger” – seitan sautéed with onions, served with barbecue sauce, on a multigrain roll or as a platter. The Mezze Platter, as an appetizer, includes hummus, pear gorgonzola dip and bruschetta with pita chips. There is always a special salad in addition to the two salads on the menu. And they have been adding gluten-free items too.
Bitter Bob’s is BYOB, so bring along some adult beverages to go with the barbecue. On Saturdays and Sundays, try their brunch. Lunch and dinner are seven days a week. And they do catering as well.
Mon – Thu: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Fri: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sat: 9:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sun: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm