With the large number of chain barbeque restaurants entering Richmond, it has become difficult to find a genuinely delicious barbeque sandwich. Barbeque sandwiches from chain restaurants often taste somewhat artificial and bland, whereas each small barbeque restaurant has their own rendition of the pulled pork sandwich. As devoted barbeque lovers, my father David Lyons, and I are constantly searching for barbeque restaurants to try. My father introduced me to The Hogshead Cafe a few years ago, and it has remained one of my favorite places to eat since my first bite. Despite being about 20 minutes from my house, I try and make my way to 9503 West Broad Street as often as possible. I recently went back to Hogshead Cafe to remind myself why I love the restaurant.
Walking into the tiny place, I was to see that there was not a single table open. Although there was a fifteen minute wait, I didn’t mind because it meant the business was doing well. I glossed over the menu and was amazed with their wide variety of options. Their meals ranged from baby back ribs and oyster po’boys to some delicious hot dogs. Hogshead truly specializes in serving meat. Being barbeque lovers, my father and I don’t often stray away from the pork section of the menu. Although I tend to stick to my usual meals, I keep getting recommended the “Cuban Hog,” which is a sandwich on garlic bread with sliced ham, pork, swiss cheese, pickles, and dijon mustard. The wide selection makes it easy to find a meal you’ll love.
As I continued to browse over the menu at the bar, a man sitting next to me told me I looked like the type to order pulled pork sandwich (their specialty). At first, I was unsure of whether it was an insult to my apparent rookie status or just a friendly comment. I quickly found out that Hugh, who declined to give his last name, was a usual customer. We began to discuss the restaurant, and he told me how he will sometimes eat at Hogshead Cafe two times in one day. As Hugh was finishing up his Cuban Hog, he explained, “The only way to come in here and get something you don’t like is if you order something you didn’t like in the first place.” I ordered their signature barbeque sandwich with a side of baked beans, which Hugh highly recommended.
As I waited for my food, I watched the two waitresses cover the entire restaurant. Although they were working with haste, they always took the time to talk with the customers. Many of the people eating appeared to be usual customers that the waitresses knew by name. Even though I was not familiar with any of the employees, they all treated me in an extremely friendly manner. The staff never hesitated to ask me if I needed anything or if there was any more they could do for me. Perhaps this is expected, but their sincerity in the questions makes their service superior in comparison to most restaurants.
After another fifteen minutes and putting on some of their famous barbeque sauce, I got to take my first bite of the softball-sized sandwich. The sandwich didn’t last very long, as I devoured it in a matter of minutes. The pulled pork was smoked to perfection, and the strands of meat were never too thick. One critique I even hesitate to make is that the pork strands were almost too thin. Although the thin pieces would sometimes fall out of the sandwich, it never bothered me enough to not savor the meal. After the sandwich, I began to make my way over to my side dish, the baked beans. I’ve always enjoyed baked beans but never strayed far from the generic versions. Hogshead Cafe has a secret recipe to their baked beans. Although I couldn’t quite figure out the ingredients to this delicious side, I realized there was pulled pork mixed in the dish. I realized it was probably not an accidental spilling of the pork, because it actually went well with the beans. The beans accompanied the pulled pork perfectly as the soothing flavor of the beans helped serenade the tangy barbeque sauce.
Hogshead Cafe has everything I look for in a restaurant: original recipes, great service, and low prices. The entire meal only cost me around thirteen dollars, which I found to be a reasonable price. As a barbeque fan, I would highly recommend visiting Hogshead Cafe. After searching the majority of Richmond for the perfect barbeque sandwich, I found Hogshead Cafe to be one of the best barbeque restaurants in the entire city.