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Randy's: Barbecue is as barbecue does

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IN CELEBRATION of National Barbecue Month, I wanted to take the time to highlight a local restaurant that has been one of the most consistent spots our city has to offer.

Now don’t plan on sitting down to eat, because this space is the definition of a “hole in the wall,” but the flavors created from the intention within that hole are well worth the energy spent licking your fingers clean.

Located on Wheaton Street across from Restaurant Supply, this mom ‘n’ pop business has remained consistent for almost two decades, which explains why they usually have a line that extends to the street during lunch time. A line filled with everyday people on their break conveys a message of consistency and trust from within the neighborhoods it serves.

Randy’s BBQ pays homage to its cultural roots and the influence of its recipes which have been curated for generations. You see, barbecue is not something that you can rush, and just like an oil painting, it takes a lot of intention and patience in order to create the vibration you desire on the plate.

Randy’s takes that same approach, though you won’t have to wait long for your food. I believe it is so important for the identity of any restaurant to remain consistent, simple, and true to who they are.

Barbecue is what Randy’s does, and they damn sure do it well.

- photo by Melissa DeLynn

Alongside the building you can see, and smell, a few of Randy’s keys to success: their meat smokers. Stacked inside a mesh tent, the history of these smokers can almost be felt from the flavors pouring out of them.

A few of them dedicated strictly for the mouthwatering rib plates that make this place locally famous. Another few dedicated toward the juicy pieces of chicken that they marinate and paint with their delicious sauce. It is in these moments when we become witnesses towards the masterful alchemy of food.

The combination of these ingredients, cooked for the perfect amount of time, at a pace designed to ensure that we don’t lose a single ounce of flavor, is something that can only produce the best results. The identity of a business or a person is not what is on the surface, but rather what happens behind closed doors.

Building a culture designed around food and dedicated to serving the neighborhood is no easy task. Taking on that responsibility and carrying out those tasks, while gaining the trust of your patrons, are signs of a business that will be here for generations to come.

Savannah lacks consistent authenticity, which is why a lot of new restaurants go as quickly as they come. They lack the right intention, to keep stride beyond the waves of SCAD students and tourists.

Customers can feel the time and energy put into the preparation of the food because it shines through on the plates. At Randy’s, it is apparent that magic coated on every piece of chicken and rack of ribs is the real deal. This place has what it takes, and does justice to a type of food which has been woven into the fabric of the Southern identity.

- photo by Melissa DeLynn

The South is known for its hospitality, seafood, and barbeque. Randy’s is doing its part to make sure Savannah is represented where it is most important.

If we want to continue to nourish the culture that we seek in Savannah, we have to travel into the neighborhoods that are embracing its history. Food is a great way to see where we have been, and what direction we are moving towards.

We have to embrace these locally owned businesses, especially the ones off the beaten path, because they provide the diversity of culture which pumps the life force promoting growth and change in our city. We have to go out of our way to try places we’ve never been to before, and become patrons of the “moms and pops” that provide our city with so much authenticity.

Food is the driving force of culture; therefore we must put our collective energy towards what will provide us with the richest future we can envision. Let’s keep stirring that pot.