As a proud lifelong lefty, I was a bit intrigued when Southpaw BBQ (2170 Mission Street) opened up in the Mission earlier this month. And I gotta hand it to them, I was left in pure joy after hitting up the city’s hottest new restaurant.
If there’s two things that the overwhelming dining scene of San Francisco has a shortage of, it’s brewpubs and Southern-style BBQ. Southpaw is here to fill the void single-handedly. The three owners, hailing from Tennessee, North Carolina, and Alabama, know a thing or two about country cooking and they’ve taken this expertise to a beautiful, open space right in the heart of one of the city’s most exciting dining destinations. With lofty ceilings, a bar fashioned out of reclaimed barn wood, and light fixtures repurposed from glass growlers, this exceptional new restaurant gives off an intimate yet playfully casual vibe.
But as you sit down at one of their antique redwood tables, the ambience will soon take a backseat to the fabulous fare coming out of their impressively open and efficient kitchen. A thoughtful menu consisting of ribs, pulled pork, beer-braised brisket and even fried oysters and catfish is enhanced by a seasonal selection of locally-sourced sourced vegetables. I have a personal love affair with their savory brussel sprouts, grilled up with chewy chunks of bacon. They also serve up a wide selection of reasonably-priced sandwiches. I know I’ll be back to try the fried oyster & bacon sandwich sometime in the very near future.
With so many tasty entrees to choose from, it’s hard to get all you want in one sitting. But one way to maximize your adventurousness is by incorporating some of Southpaw’s incredible, homemade sauces. Because what would BBQ be without the sauce? They range from spicy to sweet and represent the varied styles of six different southern regions. I was floored by the Alabama White but the sweet potato habanero also left quite a kick on my tongue.
Most exciting of all, sitting right next to the bar are a series of large brewing tanks that will begin churning out expertly-crafted microbrews by Christmas. Their goal is to get playful with roughly 2 different kinds of unique offerings per month, and they’ve brought in a well-experienced brewmaster to get it done. In the meantime, you can enjoy your BBQ with any number of 12 delicious domestic beers on tap, or try one of their sensational speciality cocktails. My personal favorite was the Brian Wilson, a beer cocktail with Jameson whiskey and Tuaca mixed in with Old no. 38 stout. This surprisingly strong libation tastes like a milkshake yet packs a punch as powerful as the all-star Giants pitcher after whom it’s named.
Y’all bring your appetite and some friends out for some good grub in the Mission. SF has never had access to southern specialities as authentic as the dishes at Southpaw, so you’re going to have to make up for some lost time.