Boyd and Charlies BBQ Restaurant Review
If you came here looking for a food “critic” you’ve come to the wrong place. The definition of what constitutes good food is so varied from person-to-person that I don’t think we need yet another self-professed critic telling everyone what they should like, or not like, about food. Who’s with me!?
What people rarely tell you about however, are the out-of-the-way places that still serve great food in a relaxing atmosphere. So, sensing a void in that market here in the Omaha-area, I’ve taken on that responsibility myself. Which brings us to basis of this column: I will only go to places that I personally like.
My goal is to sit down with the owners of these places and try and find out from them how they manage to run a local business with great food and great service in an atmosphere that makes everyone feel welcomed. Are you with me so far? Let’s begin…
The Place: Boyd and Charlies BBQ
Boyd and Charlies is a BBQ restaurant located in Old Town Elkhorn that has been serving all things barbecue since 2003. According to owner Perry Viers, the building has been a social hot-spot in Elkhorn since 1903. I’ve been to B&C’s many times, I even took my wife here on our anniversary (not kidding), so obviously I am a fan of the place. I was able to sit down with Viers on a Thursday morning before the lunch rush to ask him his secrets for great barbecue, how he runs a successful business in a small place like Elkhorn, and how someone goes from selling frozen yogurt at TCBY to a business where the smokers run around the clock.
But first things first, if the owner’s name is Perry, I had to know how where the name Boyd and Charlie’s came from? As it turns out it’s not all the big of a mystery: he named his place after his two sons named…you guessed it, Boyd and Charles…mystery solved. As you look around the restaurant, you get the sense that this is what places like TGI Fridays hope to look like. The only difference is most of what you see throughout B&C’s is more than 100 years old. Even the mirror behind the bar is the original from when the building first opened to the public at the turn of the 20th Century.
Viers told me that he knew the location would a tough place to get people to try for the first time, but when he walked into the building, he knew that this was the right place to open his restaurant. Talk about “they don’t make it like that anymore.” Gaze up at the original ceiling once you get situated at your no-frills (yet comfortable) wooden table or booth: it too is the original ceiling and brings back memories of what this place once was, a saloon complete with spittoons and a hard-working clientele looking to unwind at the end of a long day.
For any of you who have ever tried to make slow-cooked authentic BBQ, you know that is a long process. B&C’s has three smokers, one of which runs all night primarily making brisket and pulled pork, and Viers admits that he learned how to make great smoked BBQ the way many of us have learned, the old “trial and error” method. I asked Viers why he continues to go through this 24 hour process on a daily basis; he says he is driven by his customers. He says his goal for B&C’s is to hear people say that his place is their “favorite place to go.” His recipe for making sure people want to return time and time again was simple: “Great service,” Viers said.
When I asked Viers about the typical people that come to B&C’s he said “that we get a little bit of everything. It’s not uncommon to have farmers and constructions workers in here at the same time we have people in shorts and flip flops sitting next to families with small kids,” said Viers. He best described the ‘dress code’ as anything goes. Apparently it’s not out of the norm to have some mud on the floor from construction workers while business people in suits are enjoying lunch.
It’s hard to go wrong here, everything from pulled pork, smoked chicken, brisket, ribs, and new menu item “burnt ends,” which according to Viers, quickly is becoming a favorite of the regulars. Also, B&C’s has earned a reputation for their incredible french fries, and for their fried mac and cheese (a personal favorite of all three of my kids).
For the non-barbecue eater in the bunch, B&C’s offers a wide variety of other options including burgers, Rubens, pork tenderloin sandwiches, meatloaf and even Philly cheese steaks (on Fridays, at lunchtime only). Not sure what to do for lunch on a Saturday afternoon? B&C’s even offers a morning carry-out special on ribs from 8 - 11am for 10 dollars a rack…that is reason enough for someone like me to make the drive out here.
But when you’re talking BBQ, you’re also talking about the sauces. All food comes to your table “naked” (no sauce) but on each table are four different sauces all made by B&C’s. They include Whiskey (a sweeter-tasting sauce), regular (a recipe Viers picked up in Alabama that has been around for 60 years or so), spicy (self explanatory), and the new honey mustard (it’s a Nebraska twist on the vinegar-based Carolina BBQ sauce). Here an insider’s tip: do like I do every time I’m there and put a little of each sauce on your plate to see which one you’re really in the mood for that day.
The other great thing about the food is the price. All entrees are in the $10-14 price range and sandwiches are in the $7-9 range and all include a choice of a side or two. Feeling hungry for ribs on Monday nights? B&C’s offers “rib night” that includes a rack of ribs, two sides and bread all for $7.99. A deal that may be hard to beat anywhere in the Metro-area.
When You Go
Boyd and Charlies is located at 2706 North Main Street in Elkhorn and takes all major credit cards. Parking is easy and free up-and-down the street in front of B&C’s, but be warned, for a small town, there are a few tricky one-way streets. Boyd and Charlie’s has a full bar and and enough seating for nearly 100 people. It’s a great place to go with your family, for a relaxing night out, on a date, or even by yourself. You will always feel at home here and that is not by accident. Viers was very clear on why his restaurant has generated the dedicated following of barbecue eaters it already has (along with a 90% approval rating on Urban Spoon). His recipe for success is as seemingly simple yet deceptively complex as the recipe for great barbecue: “work hard and stay humble.”
Have you been to Boyd and Charlies?
Have a favorite restaurant you think I should cover?