Pigs are everywhere at Porkers Barbeque Shack in Allentown.
They’re on the sign out front and on framed prints inside. Stuffed and ceramic piggy figurines strike poses on dining room shelves, and there’s even a big wild boar’s head mounted on a wall.
It’s all in good taste, and you can’t really blame the folks at Porkers for pushing the pig theme. Pork is what they do, and they do it very well.
Tucked away on the corner of U.S. 80 and Ga. 112, about a half-hour east of Macon, the restaurant might not be much to look at when you drive up, but you’ll leave with most, if not all, your senses pleased.
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Our food looked, smelled and tasted great. Before each bite, the just-smoked aroma from the ribs and chicken gave the taste buds a heads up that something good was on its way.
The $10.29 rib dinner came with four big ribs, two sides and two big slices of bread. The ribs were tender but not falling off the bone, and were seasoned with a mild rub that accentuated the smoky flavor.
The fries were the crinkle-cut variety, but the “baked potato salad” was far from run of the mill. Imagine a loaded baked potato prepared like the typical spud salad.
The barbecue sandwich special came with fries and a 20-ounce drink for $6.19. The large bun was piled high with moist, chipped pork.
Porkers does poultry well, too.
The chicken dinner featured half a smoked chicken for $7.99. The skin was a little tough, but the meat was tender. The restaurant puts four different bottles of sauces on each table, and I used just a drop or two of each, but only to sample. The food was fine without it.
The side of fried okra was cooked to perfection. The batter was crisp, but the okra was still moist and not overcooked like it is so often. The coleslaw, however, was store-bought and the one disappointment of the meal.
The menu features lots of options if smoked meat is not your thing. Dinner and lunch choices range from catfish and shrimp to hamburger steak and hot dogs. Other sides include Brunswick stew, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, macaroni salad and onion rings.
A wide range of appetizers is available, including traditional fare such as cheese sticks and fried mushrooms. Diners who want to try something a little different can choose corn nuggets, broccoli bites and fried pickles.
Various desserts are available, all for $1.99 each. Most are homemade, like the sour-cream brownie and gooey bar we tried. The bananas foster was shipped in. All were delicious.
Porkers is an order-at-the counter, fix-your-own-drink place, but the food is delivered to the table.
The dining room has a homey feel, with hardwood plank floors and black, checkerboard tablecloths.
The decor isn’t all pig. Prints offer witty sayings about bosses and husbands and the like, and knickknacks like an old Folgers coffee can and antique Cracker Jack and Premium Saltines tins add old charm to the newly renovated restaurant.
Allentown might seem a bit out of the way, but it’s only a quick, mile or so jaunt off Interstate 16. For travelers looking for a place to pig out, Porkers is worth the detour.
Porkers Barbeque Shack
Stars: 3 1/2
Address: 717 U.S. 80, Allentown (corner of Ga. 112 and U.S. 80)
Phone: (478) 962-0219
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays
Price: $1.99 for a hot dog to $10.29 for a ribs dinner
Payment: Cash, check or credit
Kids’ menu: Yes (“Just for Piglets”)
Noise level: Moderate
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Health rating: 100