Get That Barbecue Fix At Buffy's
St. Petersburg Times, October 24, 1996, Series: Pinellas To Go
St. Petersburg, Fl
By Alicia Caldwell, Staff Reporter

Buffy's - Barbecue is something you really have to be in the mood for. Crave, really.

That was the case when I pulled in to Buffy's Southern Pit Bar-B-Que on 49th Street. Buffy's is the lesser-known, younger sibling of Biff-Burger, the hamburger joint that serves up large doses of '50s and '60s nostalgia. Buffy's shares a lot and an owner with Biff's, but has a different kitchen and cash register.

I'd been thinking about ribs for a few days. I should disclose up front that I am not a hard-core barbecue aficionado. I am an amateur, partaking only once every year or two. If you're looking for an expert opinion on the finer points of the different types of barbecue, I'm afraid I'm going to disappoint you.

I liken it to my non-expert, low-stress approach to buying antiques. People tell me all the time they don't know how to buy antiques. To me, it's simple. If you like it, and it costs somewhere around the price of what you'd pay for new, then buy it. Sort of like barbecue. If you like it, eat it. Forget what style it is.

For the record, Buffy's employs a pit barbecue to hickory-smoke its pork, beef, ribs and chicken. It offers its barbecue wet - with a slightly sweet, dark barbecue sauce - or dry.

We liked it, overall. Our group thought the pork ribs were better than the baby back ribs - moister and meatier. The baby back ribs were good, too - just not quite as good.

The sliced pork, however, was something of a disappointment. It was a little tough and lacked flavor. It also was swimming in grease, which was an unwanted reminder that we weren't exactly eating health food.

I also came to the conclusion that a little barbecue goes a long way, at least with our crowd. In an effort to provide a good sampling, I bought too much food. Way too much. Two pounds of ribs, a quart of potato salad and a pint of beans would have been plenty to feed our crew of three and would have knocked almost $10 off the bill.

About side dishes: the potato salad merits comment. It was very good and tasted homemade, something often claimed but rarely executed. We're not talking fancy here. It was the basic, hearty kind of potato salad your aunt might bring to a family picnic. The beans were good, too. I'm guessing that people who really like baked beans (I'm not one of them) would have liked these a lot. They were slightly sweet with a generous, meaty barbecue taste.

As for the basics of takeout dining, Buffy's did fine. The food was packaged well in foam containers. The 10-minute wait was not unreasonable. If you are organized enough to call ahead, you can have your food waiting and pick it up at the drive-through. The folks who work there are helpful and personable - certainly the kind of place you'd want to go back to for that next barbecue fix.

Buffy's Southern Pit Bar-B-Que
3939 49th St. N,
St. Petersburg, Fl
Phone: 522-0088

Hours: 11 AM to 10:30 PM Monday-Thursday; 11 AM to Midnight Friday and Saturday; Noon to 10:30 PM Sunday

Copyright Times Publishing Co. Oct 24, 1996

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