Down home grubbin’ at Tahoe City’s Moe’s Original BBQ
If you go
What: Moe’s Original BBQ
Where: 120 Grove Street, Tahoe City
Hours: 12-8 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. Thursday and Friday, 11-12 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday
Service: Friendly and fun.
Atmosphere: Laid back — fireplace, awesome views, walk-up counter and number service, checkered paper plates on plastic trays
Drinks and wine: Full bar with draft beers.
Music: Every Sunday night and many others — call ahead.
Wheel chair accessible. Call to reserve venue space or catering.
Nearly every day at Lake Tahoe you go big, and afterwards you are fiending hard to grub. You want something enormous to stuff into your ravenous, dirty, sunburned face. You earned it.
Lake view? Probably not in this state of grunge and sweat. The sideways glances from ladies and gents sipping classy sunset cocktails wouldn’t stop you, but maybe the tab would. No, lakefront dining you generally save for the peak of wallet-fattening season or entertaining visitors. You certainly don’t waltz in with bleeding elbows and disheveled pony tails.
You’re all set to get ears deep into your favorite burrito when someone mentions barbecue, a frosty brew and a deck your dog can sprawl on, mouth-open for droppings. Tahoe City’s Moe’s Original Barbecue fulfills your every post-getting-after-it afternoon need and then some, all with lake views.
The owners of Moe’s (Eric Pilcher, Josh Wallick and Luke Dannals) relocated from Vail, Colo., to open their own restaurant of the “friendchise” they’d been working in for years. In June 2014 they opened their deck doors to the lake, started booking up the second-floor venue for music and events and got right back on the cook line.
Three good ol’ boys from Alabama opened the first Moe’s out of a trailer in Vail in 2002. Their passions for barbecue, music, the mountains and whiskey have inspired more than 30 locations, all owned and ran by friends. Each location is slightly different, adapting to residents’ appetites and the personalities of each amazing character that owns them. But from founders to dish pit, love of music and good Southern soul food runs true.
Salivating upon arrival, you parade past white-aproned cooks, rotating slabs of pork shoulder and house sauces warmed and wafting. Check in with changing specials and sides that keep their local patrons coming back often.
“Everything is made with our hands fresh every day, and we love doing it,” co-owner and kitchen manager Josh said proudly. The owners are good guys and hard workers. Josh cooks nearly every day, and Eric is on the line about five days a week. When he isn’t, he crunches numbers and hassles his suppliers for the tastiest proteins and veggies.
He has to hassle. A big part of what makes Moe’s chow so delectable is the quality of the meats. Tuscaloosa-style, over fruit wood, Moe’s roasts its meats until perfectly tender and highlights their natural flavors. They don’t drown the dishes in sauce, either. Two homemade sauces are drizzled and let customers know “we think they’re good just like that, no need to overdo it.”
Down-home grub, made fresh daily with the techniques and knowledge of generations makes Moe’s special. Try the ribs and pulled pork, both roasted to tender perfection. Do it right and order your sandwiches ‘Bama Style with white sauce, cole slaw (with a vinegar base) and pickles. The blackened Mahi-Mahi with a house Cajun blend is prepared just like on the Alabama Gulf Coast in Mobile, and the giant portion is moist and spicy. Eric’s favorite is the Fried Jumbo Shrimp Mo-Boy with slaw, pickles and tartar sauce. The “Sides Platter” (three sides plus a massive slice of jalapeno corn bread) refuels hungry vegetarians with everything from collard greens, mac’n cheese and succotash to crunchy and steamy hush puppies.
Start it all with smoked wings, wash it down with sweet tea and top it off with the dessert of the day. And if you find yourself next to owners or employees, chat ‘em up — they’re a good time.
Ashley A. Cooper is a freelance writer residing in Truckee. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.