Food & Drink

A home-style BBQ joint in Downtown

Nicknames have a way of sticking: after Cordozar Calvin Broadus' mom dubbed him Snoopy because he looked like the cartoon dog, he went on to become Snoop Dogg, then nicknamed his own son Spanky, because he was high. For a BBQ joint sprung from two dudes who call each other something close, but not quite as dumb, hit Sparky's

From two chef pals (one CIA-trained) who worked together years ago and always called each other "Sparky" in the kitchen, like normal people, and eventually got competitive by taste-testing each other's BBQ experiments, Sparky's feels like a roomy Southern kitchenette with a blond wood bar, rolls of paper towels at the tables, plus bird houses and bull skulls on the wall -- which made more sense space-wise than bird skulls, and bull houses. Southern starters include catfish fingers, fried oysters with house tartar sauce, smoked tomato salad (topped with pulled pork, brisket, or fish), before things move to sandwiches like a 1/2-lb Angus burger, or a pulled pork job, each served with cole slaw and waffle fries, who can't ever seem to make a decision on what to be dipped in. BBQ's done "low & slow" in a St. Louis-style rotisserie smoker using hickory and applewood, cranking out pork ribs (either St Louis cut, or babybacks massaged with a 22-spice rub and cooked for 2 1/2hrs), 6hr-smoked beef brisket, and chopped pork shoulder that's rubbed, smoked for four hours, then rotisseried for another nine under low, gentle heat, which is basically what the Celtics just experienced

As for sauces, there's Sparky's traditional, a mustardy apple cider sauce, and one made with hoisin for a dark, sweet & sour Asian flavor; in a couple weeks they're gonna have domestic micro brews, affordable imported wines, and desserts, including brownies and apple cobbler, which Snoop has already nicknamed applizzle cobblizzle, and you know that's gonna stick.