Joe Grate's Bar-B-Que
1559 Dixwell Ave.
Hamden, CT 06514
I described Joe Grate's to myrt_maat as the best barbeque in New Haven. Naturally, she was sceptical, because it is Connecticut, after all, and she's had her share of good barbeque back home in Oklahoma. When I went on to mention that it was one of those places run by an old black man that used to be a garage in a neighborhood that wasn't the greatest, she nodded and said that those were good signs. (Dixie's, in Bellevue, WA, is another bbq place that fits that description. I think Dixie's was a truck and RV repair shop.)
Well, the barbeque--as well as the rest of the homestyle cooking--is pretty good. It's easily the best in New Haven, which in this case isn't damning with faint praise. He started out with a smoker in a parking lot, and the place is still as unpretentious, with checked tablecloths over card tables and friendly staff. You can have the BBQ pork ribs, the BBQ chicken, the chopped BBQ. They also do whiting fillet, smoked beef brisket, and smoked or fried pork chops. All dinners are $8, and include two sides and cornbread. The sides can also be ordered separately for $2, and include potato salad, hash and rice, collard greens, candied yams, mac and cheese, baked beans, and string beans. Desserts (peach cobbler, sweet potato pie, or banana pudding) are also $2.
They also cater, and they say they smoke whole turkeys to order.
We need to check if they're still there as a Chowhound post says he was "closed all summer after a car ran through the front of his restaurant" but he has still been doing neighborhood parties. So we'll see.
Which now reminds me I should write up Dixie's.