The Story of Uncle B’s Real Deal Southern-Style Barbecue
In the middle of summer, you’ll smell a mouth-watering aroma of barbecue on the westside of Phoenixville. Within a historical freight-train stop, you’ll find a restaurant offering authentic southern-style food. That restaurant is none other than Uncle B’s Real Deal Southern Style BBQ.
Just inside the building, a brisket simmers in a smoker set to the perfect temperature over cherry wood logs–freshly chopped out back. From the entrance, you can see Uncle B and the kitchen staff preparing savory meals for in-house and takeout customers. Ever wonder how neighborhood staples become a part of the community? Well, here’s a taste of a Phoenixville classic.
Brian– the Uncle B–comes from Florence, Alabama. Now, you’re probably wondering how somebody from Alabama ends up in Phoenixville. Brian worked his way through the culinary industry moving around the SouthEast, having stints in Florida and Virginia. He eventually moved to Cherry Hill, New Jersey, for work and met his now Fiancee, Beth, and settled into the area.
Through a combination of finding work in Collegeville and having friendships in Phoenixville, the vision of starting a restaurant in town became a real goal for Brian’s future. It began to take form when Brian mentioned to Beth that he purchased a smoker.
Starting with one small smoker, the opportunity to provide southern-style food to the area began.
Brian needed wood for his smoker and found it with a nearby seller. After small talk, he found out that the location where he bought the wood was a commercial area. The idea of opening a food truck was kicked around, but the opportunity opened up after talking with the wood seller to set up for the weekend as a pop-up BBQ spot.
Yet, Brian and Beth wanted to establish a regular spot to serve their barbecue. The restaurant business is close and Brian was helping a friend as a bartender. His friend’s restaurant was looking to spice up their beer takeout section and asked if Brian wanted to start serving his BBQ there. Accepting the offer, Uncle B’s continued to serve at that location for 2 years.
Original Location to Present
Uncle B’s opened its first storefront spot next to Rita’s on Rt. 724 in Phoenixville. With a few tables, the restaurant served the area until 2019 when Brian and Beth moved to their current location on Bridge Street.
The chance to move into the building on Bridge Street came at the right time. At the time, Brian was friends with the owner of Root Down Brewing Company and was asked to cater a party for him. After the party, Brian received a Facebook message saying that Root Down’s landlord was looking to buy a building–the current location for Uncle B’s–but needed tenants first. With Brian’s interest in partnering with a brewery and the mutual interest of Root Down’s owner, the partnership flourished into what customers see today.
In the food and brewery scene, the concept of partnering with each other is new. Licenses can be difficult to get, so restaurants team up with breweries to provide a kitchen while the brewery handles the bar.
Inside Uncle B’s Real Deal Southern-Style Barbecue
Stepping into the restaurant you’ll see the work of Carnevale Eustis Architects, Inc. The restaurant has an industrial, open concept, with seating for all types of individuals. Formerly a freight train stop and food distribution company, the facility changed to align with Uncle B’s dream.
The menu is true to the name, featuring a variety of smoked meats and delicious sides. No longer using a small barrel smoker, Uncle B fulfills orders in large volume. On average, 1800 pounds of meat is smoked throughout the summer. The volume of meat smoked makes it difficult to source locally. However, he looks to source locally whenever possible. Staying within PA, Uncle B’s uses Feesers as a distributor, Kolb’s Dairy for dairy and cream, and pork belly from Foresta’s.
Some of the most popular items on the menu are brisket, wings, and burnt ends. As of late, burnt ends are popular compared to when Uncle B’s Real Deal Southern-Style Barbecue first began serving its customers.
The key distinction of the southern-style kitchen is the authentic way the meat is served–dry-rubbed and smoked, sauce on the side.
In the south, the sauce is always on the side. Brian wants his customers to taste the cherry wood smoked meat before slathering it in the sauce. The sauces fit all taste buds like the Kansas City sauce, which is a blend of sweet and tangy. As an Alabama native, Uncle B comes from the region where vinegar-based sauces were created. Naturally, the Alabama White sauce is a mixture of horseradish, mayo, pepper, citrus, and vinegar.
It’s worth noting they do have gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options on the menu.
Finally, pairing a beer from Root Down Brewing will wrap everything together with their wide range of styles to fit every palette.
How did the Pandemic Affect Uncle B’s?
Thankfully, Uncle B’s Real Deal Southern-Style Barbecue was known for its takeout, so they were already equipped with the procedures needed to service their customers. Behind their building is an open area for seating, drinking, and live music, making it a safe entertainment spot. The spacious indoor seating area provides distancing options as well.
Uncle B’s experienced years of growth prohibiting them from receiving more COVID-19 assistance. They attribute their resilience to the loyal customers and the Phoenixville businesses coming together in support.
Brian strategically placed his business next to a forthcoming construction project. A 400-unit apartment building is coming to West Bridge street. The location will bring increased foot traffic and more opportunities for businesses on the west side.
Brian and Beth are continuing to help the community and supporting other businesses. Whether it’s sponsoring a youth sports team or partnering with another business, they’re ingrained with supporting the town. The advice for any entrepreneurs looking to start their own business–get involved with your community. You never know what connections you’ll make or the people who step up and support you when you need it.
Where to Find Uncle B’s Real Deal Southern-Style Kitchen
Address: 425 Bridge Street Phoenixville, PA 19460