3 Lil' Pigs Bar-B-Q, Gainesville, GA. "Something to Pig Out About!" Sometimes bbq is in your destiny. I guess it is one of those "sovereign" things for me. I guess it is a good thing I am Southern Baptist. While in Gainesville visiting and having lunch with a couple of my superintendent friends from the NE GA area, we happened upon this dive on day 1 of its official opening. We were actually headed to Johnny's BBQ which is located right across the road, but they are closed on Mondays. Having the developed ability to smell out and pick out a bbq joint, before we'd even pulled out of the parking lot of Johnny's, I eyed 3 Lil' Pigs. Today, February 21, 2011 was the first official day of operation for this joint, so Iwas a little skeptical but certainly willing. Located in what had previously been a Hall County night club with somewhat of a Tex-Mex theme, this joint has occupied about 1/3 of that building in an effort to make it on the highly competitive bbq joint scene. Up front, I want to go ahead and speculate that despite a lot of things going in its favor, it is going to be an uphill battle for 3 Lil' Pigs. The menu is a great menu. The food is good. I am sure the service will get better. Being right across the road from Johnny's is going to be a challenge.
We entered into the joint through double steel doors like we were going either into an industrial warehouse or a night club that wanted to keep out peering eyes. The spacious and well decorated place, mostly remnants from its days as a night club, had us walking past the dance floor up to a little counter where we had to wait in line a bit longer than we should have behind 4 other patrons. We studied the menu on the wall while waiting to order. The menu is truly a good looking menu with sufficient variety but with a clear flair toward smoked meat preparation. The offerings included pulled pork, ribs, brisket, and chicken. The sides were just right in number. Not too many to make it complicated but enough to give options. Best of all, the prices were "right". $3.25 for the regular pork sandwich. $2.50 for the stew, and pork skins were waiting on the table as an appetizer to nibble on while waiting for the food at no extra cost! Now that is an appetizer option that I've not run into in a while.
Like I said, this was day 1 of their operating for the public, so I am going to be easy on the fact that service was slow. Once the plates arrived, we were all into "pigging out". Will's ribs looked great. They were dry rubbed and reportedly close to "fall off the bone" tender. My pork was surprisingly good. It was well portioned. I tried 3 of their sauces: mild, NC vinegar based, and sweet. They actually have the NC vinegar based sauce down to perfection with my least favorite being the mild. The stew had a typical but unique (if that is possible) appeareance and texture. The taste was perhaps the unique part. It was slightly different, but had every indication of having multiple meats in it which I think adds character.
The menu offered some interesting choices. The owner brought us some of his Chicken Mull (soup). I passed on it for dietary reasons, but Paul checked it out and gave it good marks. I've never knowingly had mull...maybe another day in place of the stew. Other interesting items on the menu included a Thick Grill Bologna Sandwich for a whopping $2. You can also have such items from the vegetarian menu as a tomato sandwich, Hawaiian burger, or he Tropic Sandwich Delight.
On the bbq I'm giving this joint a 3.5. On the stew a 4. If they are still around in a year from now, I am sure my ranking on the Q will have to rise. Gainesville is a good cited town, but the jury is out to see if they support as many bbq joints as they do Mexican joints. I sure wish them the best of luck. Meanwhile, this is truly a "joint", and a joint worth visiting. 3 Lil' Pigs also has a heavy focus on catering. Located north of downtown Gainesville on the Cleveland Highway, its the newest place to "pig out" in Gainesville, GA!