I can’t recall the last time I walked into a restaurant and felt as unwelcome as I did when I visited Art’s BBQ recently. The young man who emerged from the kitchen area when he heard the front door open looked at me as if I had interrupted a nap or some other more important pursuit. And whatever he uttered was more like a grunt than a greeting. Could that sort of attitude be why the restaurant was completely empty?
Could be. Or maybe it was that the barbecue, based on what I sampled, wasn’t worth putting up with unfriendly service for.
I had a combo platter with St. Louis style ribs and beef brisket with sides of mac & cheese and collard greens. The ribs were good, not too fatty, and certainly tender enough. The brisket was chopped instead of sliced and didn’t have much flavor. Same for the collard greens. The mac and cheese was nice and creamy. I don’t feel as though I had $16 worth of food, especially given that there were only four ribs.
Art’s occupies the space in Altamonte Spring’s faux town center that had been the home of the first Shane’s Barbecue in the area. The dining area is pristine -- pretty easy to keep it that way without hordes of people coming in -- and still features a big sink in the dining room. However, there is a sign over the sink, a big stop sign, warning anyone who might want to rinse barbecue sauce off their hands that the sink is for the use of employees only. Here’s a tip: if you don’t want diners to use it, take the sink out of the dining area. Or offer them other means to clean their hands easily. Perhaps some moist towelettes or a garden hose out front. The rolls of paper towels on the tables just don't cut it.
But I guess you wouldn’t want people to think you were being nice or anything.
Art’s BBQ is at 155 Cranes Roost Blvd., Altamonte Springs. It’s open for lunch and dinner daily. Here’s a link to the website. The phone number is 407-261-2221.