WARNER ROBINS — Quality barbecue restaurants are like good friends. Each brings something different to the mix, and no one complains when one more joins the party.
If you are a fan of Georgia-style, slow-smoked pork barbecue — and, really, shame on you if you aren’t — you are likely to consider Martin’s Bar-B-Q a great friend.
Located in an inconspicuous strip mall among a string of inconspicuous strip malls along Watson Boulevard in Warner Robins, Martin’s is homey enough once you make it from the cramped parking lot through the front door. Despite a steady lunch crowd, it is unlikely you’ll wait in line more than a few minutes.
The meats, which can be ordered as sandwiches or baskets, feature the required trinity (pulled pork, chicken, ribs), plus beef brisket, chicken salad, pork chops, smoked turkey and sausage dogs.
The ribs were the highlight, seasoned heavily with pepper and beyond tender.
You will be asked to select a sauce, and your choices are mild, hot, sweet and vinegar. If you like spice, go with the hot; if not, choose sweet.
The mild and vinegar sauces were fine, but the hot and sweet sauces added a good dimension of flavor to the meat.
When choosing a side, go with the potato salad. If that’s not your style, you can also choose among barbecue beans, cole slaw, chips and Brunswick stew, but the potato salad was the best of the bunch.
There are occasional special offerings. If you ever happen to be in on a day when the country-style ribs are on the menu, place an order. In both taste (savory) and value (enough food for two meals), they rank at the top of the list of items I tried.
The counter staff was courteous, and the food came out promptly on every visit. My one encounter with owner Richard Martin was friendly, even after he realized I wasn’t who he thought I was.
Not everything was perfect. A few of the tables were wobbly, and some of my dining companions considered the mild sauce to be heavy on the tomato taste. But it’s nothing a folded wad of napkins and the boldness to go with the hot sauce wouldn’t fix.
All told, you’ll be inclined to add Martin’s to your circle of barbecue friends.
3.5 stars (out of a possible 4)
Address: 1801-E Watson Blvd.
Phone: (478) 923-0800
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday to Saturday. Closed Sunday.
Price range: Individual meals $2.99-$12.99. Family meals (serving 3-10) $21.95-$49.95.
Payment: Cash, debit and major credit cards.
Kid’s menu: No
Noise level: Medium
Latest health rating: (checking - will get before Wednesday)