SPRINGFIELD – A year is a notable anniversary in the lifetime of a restaurant, as the industry is known to be volatile. Q Smokin’ Good Food at 890 State St., has made that first hurdle and recently celebrated with special offers to patrons.
Owner Chris Spagnoli said he arrived at having a restaurant through a “backwards process.” He and his father had already been active in redeveloping properties in Springfield for about eight years when he was awarded through a Request for Proposals to redevelop the building in the heart of Mason Square and across from the historic former home of Indian Motorcycles.
While thousands of cars go by daily, Spagnoli said, “It’s definitely a tough location.” Motorists are not yet used to a restaurant in the location, but understanding this, Spagnoli bought and developed the abutting lot into a secure parking lot with attendant.
Having worked and managed restaurants himself, Spagnoli saw an opportunity in building a restaurant that could serve the neighborhood as well as the city at large. His wife is a cook and baker from South Carolina and provided many of the recipes.
“My wife said from the start it’s going to be Southern style,” he said.
He explained that barbeque varies from area to area even within a state. While people in Massachusetts may be accustomed to a tomato-based sauce, he and his wife brought in several sauces including a mustard-based sauce made with brown sugar, a “low country” standard.
The smoker is in the kitchen and diners will attest to the amazing aroma.
“We want people to taste the meats, taste the smoke and taste the rubs,” he said. Spagnoli said that many other barbeque dishes are “over-sauced.” They put the sauce on the side.
The décor of the restaurant pays tribute to Indian Motorcycles with a vintage bike in the dining room and enlargements of classic ads on the wall.
The restaurant offers pulled pork, ribs and brisket, along with their boneless fried children as entrees. A collection of authentic sides ranging from hush puppies and collard greens are also offered along with desserts such as hummingbird cake, with pecans and pineapple. Spagnoli admitted that initially he didn’t know how Massachusetts diners would react to the traditional Southern dessert, but he said he struggles to have enough.
Nearly everything on the menu is made in house, he added.
One of the popular appetizers is the cornbread sundae. From a distance it looks like ice cream, but in a traditional sundae glass is pulled pork, cheddar cheese, sour cream and scallions arranged to resemble a sundae.
Diners seldom go away hungry, “We’re BBQ. We got to have big portions,” Spagnoli said.
Spagnoli is also proud of his craft beer and cider offering, as well as homemade sangria. He tries to make sure that local breweries such as White Lion and Iron Duke are represented.
“The craft beer scene is huge,” he said. Spagnoli added is he “constantly rotating the crafts beers.”
He is about to release a new menu with different sized platter and specialty sandwiches.
This writer has been to the restaurant several times and has been impressed with the quality of the food and the service.
“It may not be healthy, but it’s damn delicious,” he said with a smile of his barbeque.
For more information go to www.qsmokingoodfood.com.