Jay Phillips tends to chicken, ribs and links cooking in the restaurant’s brick oven Wednesday. Below, the rib tip dinner.
CLOSED MAY 2011
Phillips BBQ, 11798 Central Ave. (at Francis), Chino.
Phillips is a big name for barbecue in L.A. and my column today is devoted to the chain’s surprising arrival in Chino, in a strip mall in north Chino perhaps a mile or two south of Mission Boulevard and formerly home to Clark’s BBQ.
If you’ve had Phillips’ food in L.A., this seems to me to be a comparable experience, although I’ve only been to an L.A. location once, about six years ago. I’ve had two meals in Chino so far. (I paid for both, as per my policy.)
The rib tip dinner ($10.55) comes with two sides and two slices of white bread for mopping up the sauce. I got two meals out of it; also, two small stains on my shirt. The pulled pork sandwich ($3.52) has meat chopped so fine it’s like a sloppy Joe; the sandwich had to be scarfed down quickly before the bun fell apart, although this was no chore. Both meals were delicious.
(My only problem with the sandwich was when I later realized I’d been charged 89 cents for my sandwich’s side of cole slaw, which is supposed to come with. Even at that, my lunch, including a soda, was a mere $5.48 with tax. The same combo at the Dickey’s chain costs $7.07 and, while acceptable, isn’t nearly as good.)
This is the first Phillips location with a dining room. It’s a little bare, but clean and bright, with new tables and chairs. All food comes in a takeout container. This isn’t the full restaurant experience, like at Joey’s or Lucille’s, but the prices are cheaper and you can box up your own leftovers to take home just by closing the lid.
The menu has sandwiches, dinners, the standard sides, small and large trays for parties or events and individual desserts such as 7-Up cake, red velvet cake, peach cobbler and sweet potato pie.
One note about the prices: They’re all odd. A rib dinner, for instance, is priced at $13.18, baby backs will run you $14.66 and a beef link sandwich is $9.37. Manager Jay Phillips says tax is included in all purchases, accounting for the creative pricing.
Candidly, I’m not a big barbecue guy, eating the stuff a couple of times per year. Some people, or at least some men, like arguing the finer points of various barbecue styles. I don’t know one from another. So I’m no expert. Disregard my opinion if you like. But for whatever it’s worth, Phillips’ barbecue is very good, certainly the best I’ve had, and I will be eating a lot more of it with them in the neighborhood.
If you’d like a more knowledgeable recommendation, read Jonathan Gold’s take here (but scroll down a bit to find it on the page).
For the record, The New Diner blog broke the news about Phillips’ arrival in Chino. My bib is off to them.