TGT Weekly BBQ Review

I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed with Chris Brame’s answer when asked about his favorite bbq joint. However, he was accurate in his analysis of the bbq sandwich at 5 Star Day. So, as bad as it pains me to do a bbq review on a place that is not really a bbq joint, in honor of Chris Brame’s favorite sandwich I will take a stab.

It’s been nearly a decade since I have last eaten at 5 Star Day in downtown Athens. In fact, my relationship with 5 Star Day was quite strange. During my early days in Athens, I had a good friend who was a cowboy from southeast Georgia. This guy was a rodeo king, to say the least. His influence is a big part of why Texas country is the only music I listen to (besides Buffett of course.) We had this thing called Buffett Tuesdays, but that’s for another day. Anyway, this cowboy’s favorite restaurant in Athens was 5 Star Day. For one semester, we ate 5 Star Day in downtown Athens once a week. He moved on, and after he did I never ate there again. I guess when I moved into the fraternity house I didn’t make it downtown to eat as much, since we had a cook (God bless Frank). But, from what I can recall, 5 Star Day was worth the trip. I did have the bbq sandwich Chris Brame loves so much on numerous occasions, so while I may not be the most qualified to write this review, I’ll give it my best shot.

5 Star Day Café: Located in beautiful downtown Athens, 5 Star Day is kind of a retro-gourmet-soul food restaurant. It has the Athens feel, if you know what I mean. The atmosphere was very relaxing, as I’m guessing it still is. The last time I visited, it was very towny, to make up a word; a good mix of locals, college kids, and weirdo’s. But it was a great local eatery. The food was always outstanding. I remember they had these fried green tomatoes that were delicious. I always had them as my side. I branched out sometimes and tried a few different meals that were soul food specials, but my favorite was the Carolina bbq sandwich.

The sandwich: As Brame says, this sucker is huge. If a bbq sandwich can get too big, this one does it. They had this mega bun that was the size of a mini-basketball, and the pork fell out of all sides. If I recall correctly, it was a very moist bbq, and the bottom bun always fell apart. That’s not a bad thing at all, and if you’ve ever had it you’ll know what I’m talking about. Carolina bbq isn’t my personal favorite, but they do a good job of it here. I’m not a huge fan of mustard, so I prefer a more tomato based bbq sauce than mustard-based that you find in the Carolinas. However, in this sandwich, the sauce wasn’t overwhelming, so I liked it. The sheer portion size was enough to have my heart. As a 18-19 year old, eating a pound of pork was more of a challenge than a mistake, as it would be considered now. I am guessing that they slow cooked this pork, because it was always very tender, and very good. It wasn’t the chipped bbq you find some places, and it wasn’t sliced. It was somewhere in between. You didn’t have to add sauce to it; between the moisture and the Carolina sauce they added it was plenty moist.

Essentially, eating the bbq sandwich at 5 Star Day is a unique experience. You don’t go to this little café with the soul intent of having bbq, but if you’re in the area and are grabbing lunch and find yourself in the mood for some pork, then you order it. Eating bbq from 5 Star Day is a long way from Fresh Air in Jackson, but you have to understand that principal going in. If you’re looking for a unique Athens café and want to branch out from the norm, then I would definitely recommend it. One thing is certain: if you leave hungry, it’s your own fault. Even if you’re not a huge bbq fan, you should visit 5 Star Day next time you get a chance, if for nothing else than their fried green tomatoes. Everybody needs a little bit of soul, and you’ll get it here.


7 Responses to “TGT Weekly BBQ Review”

  1. 1 Tim May 20, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Check out the white trailer in Watkinsville, its Gourmet Barbecue and for my money, its the best pulled pork sandwich around the area. They set up next to the Chicken Express right on Main Street. I think they are open Friday and Saturday at that location. I don’t care for their stew, but the pulled pork is excellent.

    • 2 Granite May 20, 2010 at 10:33 am

      Tim you should have never have told us where its located. Corbin can’t get within ten miles of chicken express without stopping in. Now next time he comes to town he’ll have to get a bbq sandwich, a chicken finger combo, and an extra side of the gravy. We’ll roll him back to Macon with bbq sauce on his shirt and gravy on the corners of his mouth.

    • 3 Corbindawg May 20, 2010 at 10:53 am

      Is that Elder’s place? Right across from School Street?

  2. 4 Tim May 20, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Yeah but wouldn’t he be happy!
    I was listening to The Ref yesterday afternoon and I was surprised to hear that 5 Star Day even had barbecue. I’ll have to check that out. I work on North Campus so its a short walk.

  3. 5 Tim May 20, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Gourmet Barbecue is right at the intersection of Main Street and Hog Mountain Road. You’ll see some trailer based barbecue rigs for sale and the big white trailer is there on the same lot. The owner of Gourmet also makes barbecue grills and displays them there.
    Cokie Elder is a competition barbecue cook, he doesn’t sell to the public. His panel truck has Best Butts In Town as its slogan. But they aren’t the best butts in town. Mine are! I cook my butts on my Big Green Egg using Hometown Barbecue’s rub. (Lawrenceville Ga). But I don’t get into all the competition scene other than as a spectator.
    I really enjoy your reviews and web site in general. Keep it up!

    • 6 ucheedawg May 20, 2010 at 11:06 am

      I’ve got a Big Green Egg and love it. It took me a while to master the art, but now it’s one of my most enjoyable activities. We do a butt on it for most of the major holidays, including away games we don’t make it to.

  4. 7 Tim May 20, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Yep, mine has completely transformed the way I cook! Happy egging!

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