Demetri’s, Homewood, Alabama

Demetri’s has been in the center of Homewood, a Birmingham suburb, since 1961.  It’s one of the real old-line barbecue places, along with the Golden Rule and Ollie’s of Blessed Memory.

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Curiously, Playboy magazine (read it for the articles and, I suppose, the restaurant reviews) named it as having the best breakfast in the South.  I’ve had breakfast there and it was great, but then bacon and egg are usually great.  I don’t recall it having great biscuits, the usual mark of a stand-out breakfast in the South, but then I haven’t had truly great biscuits in a while.

You go to Demetri’s for the barbecue.  It is good — cooked over an open pit like God intended.  Dear had a sandwich and a side of grilled vegetables.

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She really liked it.  Barbecue has kept her healthy and feisty at 91.  Nancy had the sliced pork with slaw and green beans.

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and I had the chopped pork, also with slaw and green beans.

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As you can see – or imagine – the slaw is a large helping of thinly sliced cabbage – slices the full width of the cabbage –   with some carrot, red onion and feta, all dressed in their own Greek dressing.  It is good.

The barbecue was very good, although I don’t care for their sauce — too thick for my taste.  Next time I’ll order it without sauce.  There was a good mix of inside and outside meat, and it had a good smoky flavor and good texture.

The green beans were sensational.  Nancy loved them and she doesn’t like Southern-style green beans.  They were cooked with lots of garlic and some onion and a minimum of side meat.  They may be the best green beans in the world.

They also have pies.  Birmingham is a good city for pie, and Demetri’s is a good place to get pie.  They have huge slices of lemon, chocolate and banana topped with 2-3 inches of meringue.  We split a slice of the banana and it was really, really good.

There are a lot of good barbecue places Birmingham.  Demetri’s is not the best, but it is better than the good places in most other cities.  If you’re in Homewood and it’s getting on noon and you don’t feel like driving to Saw’s and waiting in line and ending up eating on the hood of your car because there’s so little seating, go to Demetri’s – and ask for the sauce on the side.  And definitely get the green beans.

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