The Que Abides Pit-Stop
Follow the smoke to West County
We first met Tim Grow in the summer of 2015 when he pulled his custom-made Big Lebowski-themed food truck up to the curb in Perry Square. It was the first summer of a concerted food truck presence in Erie County and Tim's truck quickly became the point of interest for barbecue aficionados from across the region.
Fast forward to the summer of 2022. We've — mostly — survived a global pandemic that, among other disruptions, turned the food service industry on its head and caused chefs at all levels to get creative in order to put their product in customers' hands and bellies.
Grow took the downtime created by the pandemic to work toward his abiding interest in expanding his barbecue empire by opening a brick and mortar smokehouse on West Lake Road in Fairview Township, in the building formerly occupied by the Out of the Grey Cafe.
What's emerged is a cozy smokehouse with all the trimmings, the Que Abides Pit-Stop.
For you fellow Dudeists who frequent the Que Abides food truck, all of the favorites remain. Only instead of a rotating menu of Grow's smoked with love and purpose meats and sandwiches, every item is available all the time. He's even got a chalkboard behind the counter to showcase special, off the menu, short-run items, and handcrafted ice cream from Northern Scoop to top off your meal.
The wall art, painted by muralist Marcy Hall, is an homage to Erie and The Big Lebowski, the film from which the business took its original inspiration.
When we arrived at the restaurant's soft open, the line was out the door. If you're greeted by those masses on your first trip out to the Pit-Stop, have no fear. It's well worth the short wait. Like many smokehouses, you order at the counter and head to an open table of your choosing to post up until your barbecue arrives, which only took a few minutes, even in a packed house. The melt-away brisket was smoked to perfection and if you're lucky enough to land a burnt end (those who know, know) on your plate be sure to save it for your last bite. That's the taste you want to stay with you. I paired mine with the North Carolina-style coleslaw and jalapeno cornbread. I'd recommend the same, but if you're into homemade mac n' cheese or smoked baked beans (Was that a hint of curry?), you can't go wrong.
And it's not just the usual suspects on the menu — plates range from pulled pork and the aforementioned brisket to smoked shrimp drizzled with garlic aioli. All the meats come as an entree or a sandwich, or if you're really looking to get comfortable and loosen your belt a notch or two, just top your mac n' cheese with your favorite meat. It's gluttonous in all the right ways.
I'd do us all a disservice if I didn't talk about the smoked bacon boats and the pork bellies on a stick. The bacon is up there with the best you've had. You probably can't replicate it at home.
But the gold star goes to those pork bellies. Think meat popsicle. It's a thickly sliced pork belly on a skewer about the length of an ice-pop. Every bite has just the right amount of peppered rub, tender meat, and of course the belly jelly that is the reason this delicacy gets sliced the way that it does. It's topped, like the shrimp, with a garlic aioli.
The Pit-Stop is, for now, BYOB. So if you get there and find that line out the door, crack one of those beers and settle in or share one and make a new friend.
This Que Abides.
The Que Abides Pit-Stop is located at the corner of Rt. 5 and Eaton Road in Fairview Township. Hours of operation are Thursday and Friday 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. //. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.