Chef Charlie McKenna has made his name in high class establishments like Avenues and Tru, but Lilie's Q speaks to a part of his cooking arsenal developed long before those endeavors. Taking his family's BBQ tradition from the competition circuit into his own restaurant, the venue features some inventive peach-wood fired smokers that McKenna himself has helped adjust for exacting results.
Before you dive into the ribs themselves, you can warm up with appetizers like bacon-topped green beans, boiled peanuts, or fried pickles with ranch. The seasoned sweet potato fries ($3) are a fine means of testing the four different house sauces available: Smoky, Carolina, Carolina Gold, and Ivory.
When you’re ready to dig in to the smoked science that the menu revolves around, you can order pulled pork, a tri-tip sandwich, or just get right to the point and get a slab of baby-back ribs, served with Carolina Dirt and apple glaze – four bones are $8, eight are $14, and 12 are $19. If you’re set against smoked meats, try other options like the low country boil (with shrimp, crab, sausage, potatoes, onion and corn). For dessert, wrap things up with a seasonal fruit cobbler ($5).
A boutique variety of bottled American craft brews are available, and drafts include selections from Allagash, Bells, Lagunitas and a special Lillie-Q copper lager brew from Metropolitan. For the daring, Lillie’s makes their own moonshine in house, which is only about half as strong as true moonshine and thus fairly palatable. Try it in a cocktail like the M&M&M (Makers, mint-infused syrup, and moonshine).
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Dan Morgridge